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AT&T accurately predicted the future in 1993, but can it do it again?

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of its "You Will" ads, AT&T is making new predictions about the next 25 years.

Published onNovember 29, 2018

  • In 1993, AT&T ran a series of ad campaigns which were scarily accurate in predicting the world we live in today.
  • To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the campaign, AT&T created a short video of experts predicting what the next 25 years have in store for us.
  • Most of the predictions revolve around artificial intelligence and technology increasing human connection.

In 1993, AT&T ran a series of advertisements directed by David Fincher (who would go on to direct films like Fight Club, The Social Network, and Gone Girl). Each ad started with “Have you ever…” and then gave an example of a future scenario where technology helps humans do something. The ads all end with “…you will, and the company that will bring it to you: AT&T.”

The ads are notable because almost all of them accurately predicted the world we live in today. In fact, the only thing most of the ads got wrong is the fact that AT&T didn’t bring us the technologies — other companies did.

Regardless, the ads predicted technologies we take for granted today but were completely in the realm of science fiction in 1993. Here are just some of the examples:

  • Virtual assistants
  • Video conferencing
  • Smartwatches
  • GPS turn-by-turn navigation
  • Smart homes
  • Video-on-demand services such as Netflix
  • Real-time translation

You can watch a collection of the original ads in the YouTube video below:

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This year is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the “You Will” ad campaign. To celebrate, AT&T created a short documentary which not only presents commentary from Fincher and others who created the original ads but also brings together a team of experts in various fields to predict what the next 25 years might have in store for us.

You can watch the full video below, but here are the highlights of predictions made:

  • Instead of communicating with other humans through a device (such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.), the device will disappear. We will instead have things like connected contact lenses which will enable us to interact with humans as if they were sitting right next to us.
  • Buildings could be made of computerized glass which will enable the interior and exterior to look and feel like any space we choose.
  • Cities will be more energy efficient, using and recycling energy in as many ways as possible.
  • Movies will become more interactive like gaming, where you can control where you’re sitting in the theatre, camera angles, etc.
  • AI will be used to help educate people with social problems such as dementia and autism. Since the AI will be able to be patient with its subjects while specifically catering its teaching process for the limitations of the pupil, this will dramatically advance learning for these individuals.
  • “Digital prints” of our personality could be created to reference years later. In the film, a woman laments at the fact that her father died before he could teach her son how to play baseball, and how the technology of the future could enable that to happen.
  • Smart clothing will monitor your health and could send in a medical drone if it senses you are having problems.
  • Car ownership will reduce to almost zero in the future, as autonomous vehicles will transport people and materials with no human interaction. This will greatly reduce injuries and deaths from car accidents.

Check out the full video below:

What do you think the future holds for us? Let us know your theories in the comments!

NEXT: What will be 5G’s killer app? Many industry experts aren’t sure yet

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