Future Is Here Now

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May 1, 2015 by genelup

In 1968 when I interviewed Dr. Edward David, we did not have computers in our homes or the internet, Facebook, smart phones, GPS gadgets, iPads or all the other digital stuff we have now. Dr. David at that time was head of Research and Development at Bell Telephone Laboratories. I had to write this interview back then on a manual typewriter; we didn’t have computers in 1968 in the newsroom.

Here is part of that interview:

“The time that a fellow can telephone a blind date and find out what she looks like before asking her out isn’t too far in the future.  It will be here when the picture phones — a telephone that offers television along with it — gets on the market.

“‘Although we do some work for space projects and defense, we are primarily concerned with the man on the street,’ said Dr. David, adding the next great advancement for people will be the picture phone.

“There is no limit to the use of the picture phone, he said. The caller not only will be able to see the person he is talking to, but he also will be able to show diagrams, maps, drawings and other material over the phone screens.

“‘In 10 to 20 years a housewife probably can do shopping by watching television. A woman on television in a store may lift up a garment and ask: ‘If you want this punch button 782.” ”

Dr. David predicted that in 40 to 50 years (Note: that would be 2008 to 2016) the American public can have a choice of 1,000 or more television channels.

“‘There could be a channel on just medicine that doctors tune in and another on just the stock market for businessmen,’ Dr. David said. ‘People will be able to pick what they want to see. It’s a question of economics. We already have the technical capability.’

“For example, Dr. David said, a man might want to drive from New Jersey to New York City during the rush hour. He will teletype a message to a computer to learn the best route to take. The computer will answer either with a diagram or, perhaps, by voice.

“‘It is hard to see into the future, though,’ Dr. David admitted. ‘Something new may be discovered that will change what we see now. And it’s science students…who will create the future.'”

This was the end of my interview with him. Now, fast forward to 2015. I think Dr. David was right on.

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