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Retro-futurism, circa 1989

Retro-futurism, circa 1989

The fine folks at have a great link today to a 1989 Compute! magazine article about what the state of technology would be in 2001.

Among the amazingly prescient predictions were:

  • Optical disks will popularize desktop libraries, which in turn will alter our whole sense of computing.
  • "It'll also allow you to store audio and video," said Phillip Robinson, a computer consultant with Virtual Information of Sausalito, California. "You'll be able to capture segments of a show you like, cut them out, and put them in a video report for school."
  • High-definition TV (HDTV)...will eventually accept digital as well as analog input.
  • By the twenty-first century, multitasking will be everywhere...Imagine your computer playing an aria in the background as you write, search an online database, or blast space blobs.
  • "The VCR is much more difficult to use than it would be if a computer were controlling it," said Lotus's Robert Simon. "For instance, you could tell it to record all episodes of a particular series, rather than your preprogramming it."
  • Instead of the notebooks we carried to school, our kids will be carrying computer note-books.
  • Movies will probably be squirted into the home through the telecommunications lines.

    Less on the money were calls like these:

  • The personal computer as we know it will persist longer in the home than in business...but by 1996-1997, they'll start to disappear.
  • You wake up [and] scan the custom newspaper that's spilling from your fax.
  • Door locks will be microcontrolled from a keypad; computers could also regulate cosmetic mirrors, changing the amount of magnification and light.