Here's something I found while wasting time on Youtube today. Sort of surprising how close they got to the truth, though of course the aesthetics are all wrong, and AT&T wasn't the company who brought them about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZb0avfQme8&feature=grec_index

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Weary of bankrolling the internet (then called ARPANET) the U.S. government in 1977 offered AT&T the whole thing for a paltry sum (a million dollars IIRC). AT&T declined the offer. Ten years later, the government offered again, and AT&T declined again.

When the internet started to become bigger than a research project of the Department of Defense and then the National Science Foundation, it did so when organizations who wanted to become part of it leased bare copper wires from AT&T (specifically AT&T's Long Lines department IIRC) -- wires that run between their offices and places that already had access to the internet. AT&T wanted to disallow the use of their wires for this purpose, leaving the organizations with no way to connect to the internet except the extremely expensive way of purchasing rights of way and stringing their own copper, but they were forced to lease the copper by the Courts as part of anti-trust jurisprudence.

They also bitterly opposed the computer modem until forced by the Courts to allow modems to be connected to their network.

So, the organization that spent those advertising dollars crowing about their role in bringing about a connected world had a long history of opposition to the line of development (packet switching, an invention of the 1950s) that proved most efficient in bringing the connected world about.

Heh. I suppose that this is why AT&T wasn't the company to bring about the things they mentioned, then!

[-][anonymous]12y 3

If you enjoy this sort of thing, I recommend the site Paleo-Future. I find reading detailed predictions from over 100 years ago to be particularly surreal and interesting, such as the this Ladies Home Journal article (if you have trouble reading the picture, see the text here instead).