Back in 1995, someone wrote an article for Newsweek about the Internet and how it would never be successful.
Without reading the article, you immediately know that the author’s prediction was way off. But if you actually read the article, some of the individual points did make sense at the time, some still do make sense now, while others are just utter nonsense.
The author describes how all the data on the Internet is just too much to sort through and find anything relevant. Well, yes, that is a good point. But the author failed to realize that there were engineers and developers out there that are capable of designing and deploying ways to compile all of this data. Today, we not only have technology such as RSS feeds, there are web sites designed with databases and front end applications to compile sort relevant information for you. News compilation sites like Slashdot, Fark, and Digg have made the dissemination of news articles over the Internet nearly instantenous.
The more humorous aspects of the article include where the author cites that online shopping will never replace physical store shopping because of the lack of human interaction. Could anyone be more wrong? I could have told anyone back in 1995 that the reason why online shopping would take off is because of the lack of human interaction. Seriously, why do people hate going to auto dealerships? The sales people. I hate being pestered by sales people. While I do like to be acknowledged by the sales personnel in the store, I despise the feeling of being hovered over.
The only point in that article that makes sense even today is computers in the classrooms. K-12 public schools should not be making the effort to incorporate computers into every student’s classroom experience. While I do believe that a computer or two in the classroom to assist in instruction does make sense. Investing money so every student has a laptop computer is a waste of money. More money needs to be invested in improving K-12 school libraries, and even further, city public libraries. It’s quite difficult to teach students how to research, when they focus only on Internet text instead of printed works. While the distribution of professional and technical journals via the Internet has made the Internet a means to get to legitimate publications, students today rely more on Wikipedia than on published research documentation.