I just watched an AT&T commercial from 1993. It was part of their “You Will” series, which featured quick glances of futuristic technology that AT&T claimed to be a part of developing. I remember the campaign clearly because I was in college at the time and my friend Jason and I designed some t-shirts around the theme.

Anyway, what I find interesting about these commercials from 17 years ago is they were surprisingly prescient. They predicted things like:

  • Online books (remember, in 1993 the web was new and Mosaic was everyone’s browser)
  • GPS navigation in cars, including automated routing and directions
  • RF sensors that can pay tolls as you drive through the checkpoint
  • Video conferencing
  • Purchasing concert tickets online (in 1993 the web didn’t have any commercial stuff)
  • Choosing a movie on demand from a menu on your TV
  • In hindsight I think it’s easy to say, “Sure, all of that is pretty obvious”. But 17 years ago, it wasn’t obvious at all. When you think about it, the things we take for granted today were barely pipe dreams then. What kind of amazing things can we expect in the next 17 years?