A recent poll of more than 700 IEEE Fellows provides this amusing little nugget:
Seventy-eight percent of respondents doubt that a commercial quantum computer will reach the market in the next 50 years.
Unfortunately for these hallowed Fellows, commercial quantum computers already exist; you can buy a liquid state NMR machine from Bruker for about $1m a pop. A case of mass extralusionary intelligence?
In the vein of otherwise competent experts making stupid statements, let’s stroll down memory lane. It’s more fun if you say these out loud. With gravitas. Also some pompous posturing doesn’t hurt, and experimenting with accents is also fun.
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.
This one I particularly like:
“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” — Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
Uhhh…birds? Did they have those in 1895?
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” — Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899
Note: Apparently this one isn’t real, at least according to Kevin Maney. (thanks to Tim for the link).
“I see no progress in this industry. These clocks are no faster than the ones they made a hundred years ago.” — Henry Ford, while visiting a museum.
Note: This one looks suspect also.
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
“Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18 000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers of the future may have only 1 000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1½ tons.” — Popular Mechanics, March 1949.
“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” — The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.
“But what… is it good for ?” — An engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, commenting on the microchip in 1968.
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president/founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.