Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Technology

Prognosticator of the Milennium

The award goes to Clifford Stoll of Newsweek, who in 1995 confidently predicted that the internet was merely a passing fad.  His best line:

...Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.

Or how about this?

We're promised instant catalog shopping-just point and click for great deals. We'll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet-which there isn't-the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.

Today, Stoll is a stay-at-home dad who, in his spare time, makes bottles.

Categories > Technology

Discussions - 3 Comments

1. Despite his awful prediction, maybe you shouldn't be TOO dismissive of a guy who once, through some rather impressive sleuthing, caught a computer hacker working to get info for the KGB - what a patriot!!!:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cuckoo%27s_Egg_(book)

(I've seen that NOVA documentary, and it's really good)

2. Stoll looks like a mad scientist (kinda like the one played by Christopher Lloyd in "Back to the Future"), and he doesn't make just any bottles - he makes Klein bottles! They look amazing, and must not be the easiest things in the world to make:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_p6doZ4ZP3VM/SL2mbmWBOWI/AAAAAAAAAJM/QHDnenPa43s/S1600-R/giantKleinbotandCliff2.jpg

3. I hope you didn't use the phrase "stay-at-home dad" as a term of derision, but if I had to lay money on it...

To this day, I still have never used the internet.

Stoll's always been an odd sort of geek-luddite synthesis.

While he's clearly had his Geek Superhero cred since long before most people bought their first dial-up modem, he's also spent much of his on-the-clock time dissing predictions of how tech will transform the lives of everyday folks (see Silicon Snake Oil).

To me, he's sort of an anti-Steve Jobs figure who embraces tech in his own little geekworld, but doesn't see it having much to offer the rest great unwashed of non-geekdom.

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