Technology

Our Greatest Tech Forecasts of the Last 90 Years

The Kiplinger Letter — long famous for its economic, business and political forecasting — also alerts its readers to emerging technologies.

The Kiplinger Letter - Sept. 20, 2013
The Kiplinger Letter - Sept. 20, 2013

Long before the technology marvels of the 20th century — airplanes, television, air conditioning, computers, satellites, the World Wide Web, cell phones and more — became commonplace, they were the stuff of futurist fantasy...and embryonic industries poised to boom.

The Kiplinger Letter — long famous for its economic, business and political forecasting — also alerts its readers to emerging technologies. In celebration of its 90th birthday this week, the Letter brings you this sampling of brief forecasts from its pages...foreseeing inventions that fundamentally changed how we live and work.

Check out these compelling forecasts on the following pages.

[page break]

The Rise of Cellular Communications

three girls chatting with their smartphones at the park
three girls chatting with their smartphones

Josep M Suria

Microchips: The leading edge of technology for years to come.

Fantastic reductions in size and cost lead to new applications in existing products and point to new products. "Computer on a chip," tiny circuit board performing functions only big black boxes used to do…

“Smart phones”…to store often-used numbers, take messages.

December 28, 1979

Interstate mobile phone conversations will become commonplace via cellular radio…a new network of transmitting and receiving “cells.” They will automatically switch calls to unused frequencies as you drive.

May 20, 1983

The ultimate tools for road warriors are just a few years away. All-in-one wireless communicators will combine the functions of a landline phone, cell phone, personal digital assistant and PC. The gadgets…notebook PCs or smart phones...will operate seamlessly over expanded wireless networks in the same way cell phones do now.

April 1, 2005

[page break]

Computers Simplify Daily Tasks

Young business people working in the office
Business people

Electronic Brain: Gov’t scientists now predict simplified models for practical business uses…inventorying, accounting, mailing lists, sales, market research, other records.

May 24, 1952

Nationwide computer hookups will bring some enormous changes:

Moneyless banking…deposits, charge purchases, payments, all kinds of deals via your account...

Central accounting & inventory systems…

July 29, 1966

Computers will be cheaper, smaller, simpler…used EVERYWHERE.

July 7, 1978

[page break]

Computer Networking Connects the Globe

On computers…the latest thing is to hook them up into networks, use telephone or special lines to link them together around the country. It’s a way of cutting costs…sharing of computers via “teleprocessing.”

November 12, 1971

Networking among computers will make it easy for any computer owner to communicate with another if he has the wire address and the right connections. This is already happening on a relatively limited scale via computer “bulletin boards.”

New American Boom 1986

Computers that listen & talk will be commonplace in next decade in offices and on shop floors.

September 1, 2000

[page break]

A Food Revolution

transparency
Huty1735036

2011 Getty Images

Use of radio waves for heating & cooking is a growing business, but these waves interfere with others and even cause some radio static.

April 12, 1947

And here are some more things that are coming along by the time you reach middle age…to change your thinking and your living. New houses, new gadgets in them. Automatics. Push buttons. Microwave ovens. Plastic plumbing. TV on wall screens. Fuel-cell heat. Irradiated foods to supplement canned & frozen. New foods from the sea. Synthetic foods, chemically made, with all needed nutrients & vitamins.

December 27, 1963

[page break]

The Coming of Air Conditioning, Prefab Homes, Polyester, and the Fax

Inventions which may make deep changes in things in the future: Mechanical cotton picker, Synthetic rubber, plastics, air conditioning equipment, prefabricated houses, television, artificial cotton – cellulose, facsimile transmission, auto trailer, artificial wool – cellulose, gasoline from coal, photo electric cell, steep-flight airplanes, tray agriculture.

September 4, 1937

[page break]

E-mail Takes Over

Electronic mail…using computers, printers at an office and home. Hooking up with other computers via satellites and TV to replay messages.

July 7, 1978

Wireless e-mail may soon be as ubiquitous as cell phones. Its use is poised to take off over the next several years as software giants and cellular carriers challenge Blackberry's reign.

June 24, 2005

[page break]

Electric Cars Hit the Road

Maria Pavlova

Electric cars will grab up to 15% of the market in 20 years…more if the driving range expands to 300 miles or so before recharging. Stringent clean air requirements in Calif. will spur sales of electrics.

January 17, 1992

[page break]

The Rise of Videotapes, CDs, and Cable TV

VHS Rewinder
VHS Rewinder

Soon to hit the market…TV tapes…and makers have high hopes. Will be sold along with a player that is attached to your home TV set. Thus, “personal” home entertainment, akin to your own stereo or recorder.

August 14, 1970

Boomy sales of compact discs and players, thanks to lower prices. Players are selling for $300-$400…compared with $1000 or so a year ago.

April 19, 1985

Cable TV with up to 500 channels in ’95. 50 games every Saturday plus 100 movies. But you’ll pay $3 to $5 each and a $20-$50 monthly fee.

January 8, 1993

[page break]

Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter

For more than 90 years the weekly Kiplinger Letter has played a unique role. Unlike business resources that report news after the fact, the weekly Kiplinger Letter forecasts what will happen in the weeks and months ahead.

These early alerts help you anticipate business, economic, technological and political developments long before they’re reported elsewhere, so you can prepare in advance to profit from new opportunities—or protect your business and investments from looming challenges.

No one can predict the future with 100% certainty. But over the years hundreds of thousands of savvy business professionals, managers and investors have profited greatly from the trustworthy and remarkably accurate forecasts provided by the weekly Kiplinger Letter.

See for yourself. View a free sample issue. No information is required from you.

Most Popular

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans
taxes

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans

With the economy still in trouble, tax policy takes on added importance in the 2020 election. So, let's take a look at what Joe Biden wants to do abou…
October 22, 2020
How to Be Happy (Not Bored!) in Retirement – Starting Today
happy retirement

How to Be Happy (Not Bored!) in Retirement – Starting Today

Here are 12 ways to prepare now for retirement so that you’ll be happy, active, fulfilled and never, ever bored.
October 21, 2020
2 Credit Card Gotchas to Watch Out For
credit cards

2 Credit Card Gotchas to Watch Out For

After an infuriating wake-up call with her own credit card company, one financial services consultant wants consumers to know something: It’s smart to…
October 20, 2020

Recommended

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans
taxes

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans

With the economy still in trouble, tax policy takes on added importance in the 2020 election. So, let's take a look at what Joe Biden wants to do abou…
October 22, 2020
PPP Loan Forgiveness Applications are Now Easier
Coronavirus and Your Money

PPP Loan Forgiveness Applications are Now Easier

Small businesses that received PPP loans of $50,000 or less can now apply for forgiveness using a simplified application form.
October 16, 2020
The Most Expensive Natural Disasters in U.S. History
Economic Forecasts

The Most Expensive Natural Disasters in U.S. History

Wind, water, fire and drought have all wreaked havoc on the United States. What’s been the worst?
August 26, 2020
Vote by Mail: A State-by-State Guide to Absentee Ballot Voting
Politics

Vote by Mail: A State-by-State Guide to Absentee Ballot Voting

With health authorities recommending people continue to social distance, the idea of voting by mail is becoming an increasingly hot topic.
August 4, 2020