Clifford Stoll, author of “Silicon Snake Oil–Second Thoughts on the Information Highway” wrote an article published in Newsweek in which he makes a lot of predictions about the internet that are completely wrong. It’s funny now to read about the things he said would never happen on the internet, but which have happened in a big way. For example, he said few people would ever use the internet for shopping, telecommuting, multimedia classrooms, virtual communities, interactive libraries, Mr. Stoll said the visionaires incorrectly predicted that:
“Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. . . . Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? . . . . Try reading a book on disc. . . . And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.”
To be fair, he was not alone in his predictions that the internet would never amount to much. In the early 1990s I ran a four phone line bulletin board system (BBS) that was an early version of the internet, but limited by direct computer modem to computer modem phone line connections. I remember going to a national convention of BBS sysops in the early 1990s where I attended a session at which a panel of speakers in the know told the audience not to waste time with the internet, but to keep investing in BBSs. That session probably delayed my movement to the internet a few years.