Nikola Tesla, famous inventor, who lived 1856--1943 said the following:
When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into
a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real
and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another
instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this but through television
and telephony, we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though
we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles;
and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be
amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to
carry one in his vest pocket.
The `vest pocket' at the end really impressed me.
By `a man will be able to carry one...' I don't know if he mean all people or if he actually
meant that women would not need such a device. If that is what he meant then,
while high marks for tech-prediction, low marks for social-prediction.
This quote is SO right-on for technology that I offer the following challenge: Find other quotes from year X that were very predictive for year X+Y for a reasonably large Y.
ADDED LATER: I will give two answers to my own challenge:
1) On the TV show THE HONEYMOONERS, in 1955, Ralph Cramden predicts 3-Dim TV. I blogged about that here
2) Did the TV show Get Smart foreshadow cell phones. Maxwell Smart's shoe-phone was portable but wearing it on his foot seems odd. It also used dial, not touch tone. Mel Brooks (co-creator of the series) points out that in the Pilot episode Max is enjoying a show and his phone goes off so he has to leave and take the call -- which was very strange then but standard now. So the show did predict one of the problems with cell phones, if not cell phones themselves.