Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Daily Book Graphics #68 / The Computer Revolution

The graphics below are from The Computer Revolution by Nigel Hawkes, published in the U.K. in 1971. The book provides an overview of what computers are capable of and what they will do in the future. The first line of the back cover blurb reads: "The computer revolution has already happened, and much of America runs on computers, for better or worse." Previous DBG posts on the past futures of computers here and here.

Jumbo jet drawn by a computer controlled plotter

Computer generated art

Imagining the Blackberry in 1971

It is interesting to read (click to enlarge) this chart that estimates when computers will start performing certain functions. The author mostly overestimates how quickly things will happen, and, of course, fails to imagine anything like the internet. One that he gets almost exactly right is the last entry that predicts that starting in the mid 1990s we will have "Remote facsimilie newspapers and magazines printed at home." Predicting the future is a difficult business, when CDs first came out in the mid 1980's I remember trying to imagine what might come after CDs. The only thing my pre-teen mind could come up with was a much smaller CD.