We often look back at the great minds of the past in wonder as their predictions of what the future would look like. Sometimes, they are relatively accurate. Other times, they’re way off.
In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1974, Clarke nailed it. He said that we would all have computers, not like the ones that surround him in the video but much smaller ones. As he describes them, he motions with his hands an approximate size and shape and one can imagine a laptop resting in his hands as they were perfectly positioned.
He said we would be able to talk to people around the world. We would be able to bank, order theater tickets, and conduct business directly from them. When asked if these connected computers would force us to be a computer-dependent society, he said:
“In some ways, but they would also enrich our societies because it would make it possible to live really anywhere we like. Any businessman or executive could live almost anywhere on earth and still do his business through a device like this. This is a wonderful thing. It means we won’t have to be stuck in cities. We’ll be able to live out in the country or wherever we please and still carry on free interaction with human beings as well as with other computers.”
They would be as commonplace as the telephone was back in then by 2001, he declared. Pretty spot on, Mr Clarke.