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Predictions about the internet from 1995

My how things have changed over the last 17 years. The Daily Beast reran this article about the internet from 1995 in Newsweek Magazine…

After two decades online, I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.

Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.

Fast forward to today. Telecommuting using web technologies like Skype and iChat is common. Libraries loan out ebooks. Social media helped drive political change in the Middle East. Amazon is one of the world’s largest retailers, and sells exclusively online. Newspapers are rapidly losing business to the internet. Ebooks have ushered in a renewed interest in reading.

Have computers revolutionized the classroom? No, not yet. But teachers are doing some amazing things with iPads now. I’d say it’s a matter of time.

It’s easy to look at emerging trends through the lens of today’s norms and limited technology and decry that “this will never last.” It’s easy, but it’s not always accurate.

For a good laugh, go read the full post on the Daily Beast.

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