Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Friday 18/01/2002Talking of futurologists, your correspondent with the crystal balls predicts it must be about time for BT to issue a press release saying how bloody clever its pet seers are. Ah, here it is!

Friday 18/01/2002

Talking of futurologists, your correspondent with the crystal balls predicts it must be about time for BT to issue a press release saying how bloody clever its pet seers are. Ah, here it is! We're all going to be jumping out of airplanes in shock-absorbent bubbles by 2005, have 3D TV by 2012, live to 100 by 2020 and have artificial brains by 2035. Along the way there'll be the first AI Nobel Prize winner (2018), the top-earning actor will be synthetic (2010, although I have my suspicions about Tom Hanks) and doubtless receive good service from BT at a reasonable price (no date set).

OK, all good fun. But this sort of thing can be churned out by the yard by anyone with a Philip K Dick anthology and a decent press agent. What makes BT's futurologist, Ian Pearson, so special? Apparently, he has an 85% success rate on previous predictions -- which is better than I manage on my household budget. As proof of this, he offers a number of previous bullseyes. Including 'the first wristwatch TV by 1997', a bit of farsightedness he picked up from goat entrails or whatever in 1993.

It's a shame he didn't predict the existence of Google. Tapping "wristwatch TV" into this modern-day oracle reveals that Seiko did one in 1982. It even has its own web page, and starred in several movies of the era. Mind you, with a 1" pale-blue LCD screen it didn't do great numbers. I can't see it myself.

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