Reflecting on Past Technology Predictions
I recently came upon two pieces I had written on technology trends in the distant past. The first was written for the strategic technology plan of a major US research university. I wrote this piece based on a set of campus forums, vendor presentations, literature review, and just pure speculation. One of my favorite lines: “While it’s too soon to tell how the race to wire America will end, it’s possible that we’ll all be watching our telephones and answering our televisions by the end of the decade as the boundaries between phones, TVs, and computers begin to disintegrate.” That was in 1993.
The second piece was written as part of a consulting engagement for a major academic medical center in 2001. I described a short set of top technology issues crossing clinical, research, and administrative domains. My favorite observation of the time: “Most medical centers in the United States have made little progress toward the vision of an integrated electronic patient system or electronic medical record (EMR).” I also loved seeing a reference to the “Macintosh versus PC” battles that were so dominant at these institutions in the 1990’s.
It’s kind of cool looking back at these, especially when I can find something familiar in something I wrote so long ago. And while my predictions were not perfect (for example, my notion of user-centric computing focused on dynamic documents and not the web) I certainly seemed to see more of it than not through a decent lens.