If we believed everyone who had a prediction about the future then we'd be living in a state of perpetual chaos.
However, while most claims, speculations and even well-educated guesses turn out to be bollocks, occasionally someone hits the nail right on the head.
David Gerrold is and American science fiction writer who is probably best known for producing the script for the original Star Trek episode. In 1999 he made a prediction about future technology that here in 2018, has proven to be scarily accurate.
Credit: Mike Muegel/Creative Commons
In a tech magazine column, Gerrold predicted that in the future there would be PITAs.
No, not the West Asian flatbread - although he would've been right about that too - but rather Personal Information Telecommunications Agents, which he said would combine many gadgets into a tiny device the size of a deck of cards.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. Because what Gerrold described was basically the thing you're probably reading this article on right now.
"I've got a cell phone, a pocket organizer, a beeper, a calculator, a digital camera, a pocket tape recorder, a music player and somewhere around here, I used to have a color television," said Gerrold.
"Sometime in the next few years, all of these devices are going to be meld into one. It will be a box less than an inch thick and smaller than a deck of cards."
That's all accurate enough, but he wasn't finished yet.
Gerrold went on to speculate that the device would possess 'enough processing power and memory to function as a desktop system... Oh yes, and it will handle email, as well'.
He also predicted that the device would be able to connect to full-sized screens and would 'have both speech recognition and speech synthesis. It will listen and respond to English or whatever language that you need, and yes, it will it will be a translator, too'.
Bang. On. The. Money.
However, his prediction closed with a warning about the PITA, which, as it turns out, was also totally correct.
"The acronym also can stand for Pain In The Ass," Gerrold wrote. "Which it is equally likely to be, because having all that connectivity is going to destroy what's left of everyone's privacy."
Given the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, Gerrold's prediction is all the more poignant and it just goes to show - not everyone who reckons they know what's going to happen in 20 years is wrong after all.
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