BILL Gates scarily predicted many of the gadgets we enjoy today almost 30 years ago – though he didn’t get it all right.
Unearthed video from 1994 shows the Microsoft founder calling many of things common today, such as contactless payments on our phones, to TV shows on demand.
The old presentation looked forward to what might exist in the year of 2005.
While most of the predictions were pretty spot on, not all of them were ready quite so soon and some turned out slightly different.
In it, Gates showed several clips of how work and home life would change dramatically.
These included mobile devices he referred to “Wallet PCs” which allow you to receive messages and make wireless payments via infrared.
He described it as a “grown up pager”.
Of course, his naming is a little off and contactless payments weren’t done with infrared but better near-field communication (NFC) tech instead.
“It’s capable of really replacing everything that you carry with you and more,” he said at the time.
“So getting messages, seeing the latest news, seeing different locations, keeping track of your schedule, keeping hundreds of pictures of your children stored there, all of those things are easily possible with this kind of technology.”
The presentation, which was delivered on November 14, 1994, at the COMDEX trade show, also looked at tablet-like devices.
In it, we saw how police officers were able to see maps and speak to their chief in live video.
“We can see on this map the different police cars around the city, the traffic conditions,” Gates said.
“Whether you’re seeking out a store or a hotel or restaurant, you’ll be able to get guided along the way in very straightforward fashion.”
And in the home setting, we see a woman flicking between episodes of David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey as she liked, instead of depending on TV channel schedules, something we all take for granted today.
The woman featured in the mini movie also jokes about leaving her slippers on because she’s in a conference call and no one will see her lower half – a habit many who now work from home since the pandemic will be familiar with.
“You’re no longer tied down to the particular schedule where that show comes out on… anything you want to do, you’re in control,” he said way back.
“This means that mobile workers of all types will be able to collaborate together, call on expertise throughout the world, bring them up, and not just see their face but look at information like the video we play here.”
Although he got a lot of it right, nobody could predict everything exactly.
Amusingly, the billionaire kept mentioning the “information superhighway” which wasn’t a phrase that took off.
In the end we simply know it as the internet.
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