AT&T More-or-Less Accurately Predicted the Future in 1993

In 1993, AT&T produced a series of television advertisements that surely seemed like science fiction at the time. The company proclaimed that in 25 years (that’s in 2018), AT&T would help you watch the movie you wanted to watch at any time that is convenient to you, attend a meeting remotely from your home, have telephone communications on a wristwatch, keep an eye on your home when you are not at home, and even get directions from your car. Indeed, such things were unheard of only 25 years ago.

Yet today we accept Netflix, GoToMeeting, Apple Watch, GPS devices, and many other “science fiction” capabilities as common, everyday services.

You can watch the AT&T ads in a YouTube video (who ever dreamed of YouTube in 1993?) below or at: https://youtu.be/a2EgfkhC1eo.

I see only two significant errors in AT&T’s 1993 predictions:

1. The ads claim that all these services would someday be brought to you by AT&T. In fact, most everything described in these advertisements were brought to you by other companies, not by AT&T.

2. One advertisement claims that within 25 years you would be able to “touch your baby” (which means to remotely watch a live video feed of your baby) from a phone booth. When was the last time you used a phone booth? In most cities of 2018, you can’t even FIND a phone booth but you can “touch your baby” from almost anyplace by using your cell phone.

5 Comments

I haven’t seen a phone booth in a long time. Tuesday I did see a sole lonely stainless steel post mounted pay phone in the parking area of the Palisades Parkway Visitors Center near Anthony Wayne State Park (NY). This is a good thing because cell coverage is poor to non existent within the Bear Mountain / Harriman Park area.

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We still have many iconic red Post Office/BT phone boxes but they are rarely used for the intended purpose these days. They exist as something pleasant to look at as a tourist attraction.

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They still have the iconic phone booth in London. I think it is used as a charging station.

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Is that the voice of Tom Selleck?

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I see some computer displays showing the DOS version or something like that – I believe monochrome?

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