I was shown this picture recently:
(clickÂ forÂ largerÂ picture in new window)
It’s from a 1954 Popular Mechanics magazine. Some scientists at RAND made a model of what they predicted a home computer would look like 50 years later.
Apparently that’s not true. It’s from a submarine. That explains the steering wheels. My friends and I had gotten to the point of hypothesizing that everybody in the future had a houseboat. But if you turn both the wheels the same way you flip the boat.
From now on, I vow to check snopes.
correction: it’s from a submarine.
The model is the size of a kitchen. And notice, there are two concentric steering wheels, and many gauges. To me, in the year 2008 it is very unclear what the gauges are for. Pressure in the vaccuum tubes possibly? And the steering wheels?
Also note the caption: “With Teletype interface and the Fortran language the computer will be easy to use.” We’ve come a long way.
Now, think about trying to predict another fifty years into the future? What will technology be like then? There are developments of wearable computing and computers on contact lenses. But that is technology we have. What about what we don’t have? That’s what made the prediction so far off in the 50’s. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to predict as-yet uninvented technology.
P.S. if the picture doesn’t link properly that’s because I have trouble with computers, despite the ease of use of teletype interface and Fortran language
P.P.S. Someday I’ll figure out how to post things properly
P.P.P.S Glad that people catch my credulity
P.P.P.P.S I passed Quals