You'd think that an industry that managed to predict the future of the Internet back in 1994 would be sitting pretty right about now. Say a company managed to foretell that we'd all be using lightweight tablets to consume media, get news, and watch video. That would be pretty useful information.
Unfortunately, the industry that predicted the tablet was the newspaper industry. So while this video from 17 years ago shows an amazing understanding of the usefulness of a tablet, and the potential that lies in handheld computing, it also illuminates how newspaper publishers squandered the chance to dictate the future of the industry.
Still, this video is fascinating in both the depth of detail that Knight Ridder, a prominent U.S. newspaper publisher, was able to predict so long ago - right down to the size of the device and its general use. They even called it "The Tablet"!
Where Knight Ridder got it wrong was in assuming that the newspaper experience was perfect.
"They will retain many of the characteristics of print products today. I think that's absolutely essential. We don't want to have to issue people manuals to read their newspaper."
While many publishers still try to emulate their print experiences online, others like Esquire are pioneering the app concept by integrating touch, text, pictures and video into not just the content, but the design as well. Others, like Flipboard and Pulse, allow the user to dictate the type and source of news they receive. Knight Ridder and other newspaper publishers might not have anticipated the reader-driven news cycle. Without that foresight, it turns out it doesn't really matter if you can predict the rest of the future.
Knight Ridder isn't the only company to be ahead of its time in predicting the emergence of technology. Check out this video, which was somewhat sentient - and sexist - in its own right regarding the evolution of the Internet - way back in 1969.