Wired predictions from the 90’s

I was fascinated by this list of quotes from the first five years of Wired magazine, from May 93 to Dec 97, compiled by Kevin Kelly. His conclusion,

“all predictions of the future are really just predictions of the present.”

There’s variety here. With the benefit of hindsight, some are mildly bonkers, some are pontifications about things that would have been fairly obvious at the time and some are stabs at pop philosophy. Some predictions, however, seem to have become even more true with the passage of time.

My favourites:

  • We as a culture are deeply, hopelessly, insanely in love with gadgetry. And you can’t fight love and win. (May 93)
  • Yesterday, we changed the channel; today we hit the remote; tomorrow, we’ll reprogram our agents/filters. Advertising will not go away; it will be rejuvenated. (Feb 94)
  • The scarce resource will not be stuff, but point of view. (Mar 94)
  • Life is not going to be easy in the 21st century for people who insist on black-and-white descriptions of reality. (Nov 94)
  • The very distinction between original and copy becomes meaningless in a digital world — there the work exists only as a copy. (Dec 94)
  • The future won’t be 500 channels — it will be one channel, your channel. (Mar 95)
  • The human spirit is infinitely more complex than anything that we’re going to be able to create in the short run. And if we somehow did create it in the short run, it would mean that we aren’t so complex after all, and that we’ve all been tricking ourselves. (Nov 95)
  • We have a predisposition in Western culture for “just do it,” whereas, I think that part of the future will be built much more around “just be it.” (Sep 96)
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