Prophecy is cheap: Loud predictions that did not come true

Prophecy is cheap: Loud predictions that did not come true

13:02, 10.02.2022
Author: Artur Berezhnoy
2 min.

If you want to make your descendants laugh, try to predict the future. Prophecizing is a thankless task, because in 9 cases out of 10 you will inevitably fail. In 1951, Douglas Hartree, a British theoretical physicist and mathematician, said that three computers would be enough for mankind to carry out any calculations. This was back when electronic computers were so large that their transportation required a truck. Hartree argued that we would never need mass production of computers since such devices are simply useless for ordinary people.

In 2022, such statements become ridiculous, since the absolute majority of modern people regularly use computers, and often even several at a time. Laptops, desktop PCs, smart watches, smartphones, and even Smart TVs – these are all computers. If only grandpa Douglas knew how wrong he was in his predictions. Similar opinions about the future of microelectronics were commonplace. 

Here is another funny example – in the mid-70s Intel founder Gordon Moore was offered the concept of a desktop personal computer in the form that is more or less familiar to a modern person: a system unit, a monitor, and a keyboard. A monitor for data output, a system unit for processing, and a keyboard for input. In those years, such a device looked somewhat unusual, and Gordon Moore asked the engineer for what purposes such a system might be required. The answer was as simple as it was funny: "It’s useful for housewives to record and store recipes." Who would keep recipes for cakes on their hard drive?

People like to theorize about the future, but often their conclusions do not stand the test of time. Bill Gates can be considered the author of one of the most curious statements of all time, saying in 1981 that "no one will ever need more than 640 KB of RAM on a personal computer." And indeed, in those years, a 1-2 MB RAM reserve was considered science-fiction. Who knew that in 2022, Chrome with 5-6 open tabs could consume almost 3 gigabytes.

The future of humanity depends on an infinite number of factors, among which absolutely unpredictable events play a significant role. Random inventions, sudden discoveries that change established ideas about the world. Just as in 1946, the invention of the first ever electronic digital computer, the ENIAC, marked the beginning of the development of all computer microelectronics. It was a top-secret American project the general public learned about on February 14, 1946 – 76 years ago. And in honor of this event, HostZealot is organizing a small promotion. From February 14 to February 23 we offer a 10% discount on server rentals in the U.S and on all our VPS stock. Moreover, this can be combined with our long-term VPS-service discount. If you need a hosting provider to rent servers for several years, such a discount will allow you to save significantly, while obtaining a stable and fault-tolerant server infrastructure.

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