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AT&T ads from 1993 predicted the future

Posted: , by Alan F.

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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

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posted on 21 Apr 2013, 20:16 6

1. evarod48 (Posts: 154; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)

posted a month ago

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 21:31

6. TheLolGuy (Posts: 483; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)

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

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 01:41 2

14. aokde (Posts: 186; Member since: 09 Jul 2012)

MKBHD army

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 20:24 6

2. biophone (Posts: 1994; Member since: 15 Jun 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.

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 20:46 2

3. Dingy_cellar_dweller (Posts: 265; Member since: 16 Mar 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.

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 21:13

5. biophone (Posts: 1994; Member since: 15 Jun 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.

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 21:03 17

4. HäckeMáte (Posts: 168; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)

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

posted on 23 Apr 2013, 12:16 1

20. kellkeezy (Posts: 57; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)

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

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 21:40

7. HildyJ (Posts: 305; Member since: 11 Aug 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.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 00:54

13. TheMan (Posts: 493; Member since: 21 Sep 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.

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 21:41 1

8. Timmehor (Posts: 599; Member since: 09 Mar 2013)


posted on 21 Apr 2013, 21:59 1

9. rallyguy (Posts: 620; Member since: 13 Mar 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?

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 22:14 1

10. Luisit0 (Posts: 73; Member since: 18 Feb 2013)

Masons.... Freemasons everywhere

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 22:30 4

11. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

The 90's were the best.

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 23:58

12. garz_pa (Posts: 154; Member since: 03 Nov 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.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 02:04 1

15. BadAssAbe (Posts: 465; Member since: 22 Apr 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

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 10:52

16. DonkeySauce (Posts: 194; Member since: 03 Dec 2011)

Was that Jenna Elfman?

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 12:49

17. Stuntman (Posts: 839; Member since: 01 Aug 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.

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 13:28

18. ZeroCide (Posts: 785; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)

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

posted on 22 Apr 2013, 17:03 2

19. Rayvelynn (Posts: 124; Member since: 05 Jul 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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