In the early 90's, AT&T released a famous series of "You Will" TV ads which described how emerging technologies, especially the internet, would provide us with all kinds of everyday conveniences.
Some of these predictions, like RFID toll badges and GPS navigation systems, are eerily spot-on with modern day, and others are pretty close to reality, like distance learning with video-over-IP.
So keep in mind that I gave AT&T some credit before I openly mocked their few big misses.
1. Have you ever borrowed a book, from thousands of miles away?
Ooooooo, swing and a miss. I mean we have all kinds of books on the internet, but the interface never looks like an actual book. That would be like inventing the first car, and instead of a steering wheel you give it horse reins.
2. Have you ever unlocked your door with the sound of your voice?
Well, no. See that would require me to buy an expensive electronic system, and I can just buy a standard key lock for minimal fee. Also I'd be locked out anytime the power goes off.
3. Have you ever tucked your baby in from a phone booth?
What is this "phone booth" you speak of? I could use my cell phone in a restaurant booth, does that count?
But more importantly, what kind of world are you imagining, AT&T, where parents aren't regularly at home to take care of their infant children?
4. Have you ever watched the movie you wanted to, the minute you wanted to?*
And there it is again! A bunch of kids, completely unsupervised, watching whatever movie they want to! Man, AT&T has got a thing about absent parents. I think maybe the company has some personal issues it needs to work out before going forward with these internet plans.
If only we could go back, make a new commercial, and ask the early 90's some questions they really weren't ready for:
-Have you ever lost an entire afternoon, just by looking at your friend's photos?
-Have you ever looked up someone's phone number, and immediately heard an obnoxious song playing?
-Have you ever had a crappy, unknown band ask to be your friend?
You will, and the company that will bring it to you . . .
*Well yeah, it's called Bittorrent.