AT&T ads from 1993 predicted the future

AT&T ads from 1993 predicted the future
Back in 1993, AT&T ran a series of ads that started "Have you ever..." and then gave a scenario that seemed way out there for the times. For example, one ad showed a couple in a car getting turn-by-turn directions from some pre-historic GPS and navigation application, and asked if you ever went cross-country without asking for directions. Perhaps the most spine-tingling moment was when the ad asked if you have ever sent a fax from the beach and showed someone holding what could pass for a modern tablet (quick, call the patent attorney!). At the end of each ad, AT&T said that some day, you will do all of these crazy things that seemed like science fiction twenty years ago.

Other interesting things seen in the ads is a wireless, automatic toll collecting system which almost every major highway offers today. And while we don't buy concert tickets from an ATM machine, we can buy them from our smartphones and tablets. Remember, there was no Wi-Fi or streaming video back in 1993. Somethings though, never change. The ads are narrated by Tom Selleck who remains a big star on CBS' high rated cop show Blue Bloods.

These commercials have been around the web for a few years, and you might have seen them before. But honestly, prognostications like these deserve a second look.

source: YouTube, EliasLugo via AndroidCentral



1. evarod48

Posts: 154; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

6. TheLolGuy

Posts: 483; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

Beat me to it. Way to be late to the party PA. Like, really late...

14. aokde

Posts: 186; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

MKBHD army

2. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Did at&t bring any of this? Some of these you can do with at&t but I don't think they are responsible for it. Thats too bad because they thought of it.

3. Dingy_cellar_dweller

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The only thing they missed was the 'Video Public Phone Booth' but you can on a mobile, so they got the what right, just not the where.

5. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

The got the major ideas ideas correct just not the specifics. Video calling was the idea. Sending fans from the beach the idea was being able to transmit information wireless.

4. HäckeMáte

Posts: 168; Member since: Feb 28, 2012

Have you ever gotten a bill... that is so outrageous... it comes with a jar of Vaseline? will... and the company that will give it to you... AT&T :)

20. kellkeezy

Posts: 57; Member since: Dec 17, 2011

this is the most hilarious thing I have read in ages. You just made my day 10x better!

7. HildyJ

Posts: 341; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Forget "Wi-Fi or streaming video", 1993 was the year Mosaic, the first browser that could display text and graphics on the same page, was introduced. Mosaic was years later the base for Netscape Navigator which was, even later, the base for Firefox. It would be amazing if they hit on 10 or 25 percent, but to get 100% right (except for one hardware miss, there are ticket kiosks bit no video phone booths) boggles the mind. A side note, if AT&T had filed for patents, they would expire this year.

13. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Bank of America experimented with ticket-issuing ATMs provided by Diebold in the mid- to late '90s (Bay Area mostly). Just because you can, doesn't mean there's a market.

8. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013


9. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

It's not a big deal. You could make a commercial now about things in development right now. If I made a commercial about a car that could drive itself, or a new battery that is 1000 times more efficient. Would that make me a pioneer?

10. Luisit0

Posts: 73; Member since: Feb 18, 2013

Masons.... Freemasons everywhere

11. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

The 90's were the best.

12. garz_pa

Posts: 154; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

They did not predict it. It's more like they inspired kids who were watching these commercials. And then they grew up. They made these things a reality.

15. BadAssAbe

Posts: 508; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

The cool thing about these ads, everything can be done with a smartphone and a data plan. I wonder what we be able to do in a another 20 years

16. DonkeySauce

Posts: 194; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

Was that Jenna Elfman?

17. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

I remember watching these commercials 20 years ago. Many of these things have come true in one form or another, although not exactly the same way. Tolls are paid with transponders. Video calling is done on a variety of portable and mobile devices. I think it is pretty cool to see things that were envisioned years ago that came true today.

18. ZeroCide

Posts: 816; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

i remember those comercials as a kid. i thought they were cool then.

19. Rayvelynn

Posts: 124; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Japan has always been ahead of us in technology they probably already had all this in 1993. The U.S. is just playing catch up. lol

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