In 1983 Ronald Reagen was president, the Washington Redskins went to the Super Bowl and Steve Jobs spoke about the future of the tech industry at the International Design Conference in Aspen, CO.
In August, the first 20 minutes of the now infamous speech (titled "The Future Isn't What It Used To Be") from the former Apple CEO was released by the Center of Design Innovation, offering listeners a glimpse of the Apple co-founder's past vision. The recording circulated quickly around the web, but some enthusiasts noticed that the question-and-answer session orchestrated by Jobs was missing from the audio clip.
This week the final 40-minute portion of the recording was released, thanks to the handiwork of Marcel Brown, creator of the Life, Liberty, and Technology blog. One of Brown's clients had personally attended the speech in 1983 and supplied Brown with a cassette tape (remember those?). He then digitized this recording, which you can listen to in full, below.
Now that we've got almost 30 years of perspective on this speech, let's see if Jobs' predictions were spot-on or not.
Even in the very opening of the speech, Jobs states, "The kids growing up now are definitely products of the computer generation, and in their lifetimes the computer will become the dominate medium."
But what's most notable is Jobs' discussion of the personal, portable computer. Gizmodo points out that in 1983, the Macintosh hadn't even been released. Still, Jobs certainly had a vision of what he wanted Apple to accomplish.
From the recording, per Gizmodo: "Apple's strategy is really simple. What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes. That's what we want to do and we want to do it this decade."
What he says next might send shivers up the spines of those reading while connected to the Internet via WiFi: "And we really want to do it with a radio link in it so you don't have to hook up to anything and you're in communication with all of these larger databases and other computers."
Jobs also says that his company was "about five years away from solving the problem" of connecting computers together in the office, and ten years away from "hooking" computers together in the home. According to The Next Web, his predictions were very close to reality, as there was "significant adoption" of the internet by 1993.
Brown lists several other points on his blog that Jobs makes about the future. Some highlights are below:
- Jobs stated that we will "spend more time interacting with personal computers than cars."
- Brown further explains how Jobs imagined a world where "people could be walking around anywhere and pick up their e-mail."
- Jobs tried to explain his opinions of Apple's role in distributing knowledge. He stated, "We are all bombarded with information every day," noting that much of this information would not distill "wisdom" (ahem, YouTube cat videos.) Thus, his goal was to provide tools "to distribute that intelligence" for something useful, that could be "possess-able by everyone." Given the vastness of the internet and the mobile technology we have today, his predictions are are startlingly accurate.
- Jobs recognized the difficulty of voice recognition early on. "This stuff is hard," he said toward the end of the discussion. Brown mentions that this is an interesting statement, considering the (often criticized) Siri app on iPhones today.
To listen to the entire speech, check out the digitized clip provided below, or click over to Brown's blog. The previously unheard Q&A begins about 21 minutes into the recording.
Were you surprised by these predictions from the 1980s? Let us know what you think about Jobs' talk in the comments section, or tweet us at [@HuffPostTech].
Source: Marcel Brown:
Also on HuffPost:
"We've never worried about numbers. In the market place, Apple is trying to focus the spotlight on products, because products really make a difference. [...] Ad campaigns are necessary for competition; IBM's ads are everywhere. But good PR educates people; that's all it is. You can't con people in this business. The products speak for themselves." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/22/steve-jobs-1985-interview_n_787023.html#s188334&title=On_How_Computers" target="_hplink">-- Playboy interview, 1985</a>
"That's been one of my mantras -- focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains." -- <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/may1998/nf80512d.htm" target="_hplink">BusinessWeek interview, May 1998 </a>
"The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We're just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people--as remarkable as the telephone." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/22/steve-jobs-1985-interview_n_787023.html#s188334&title=On_How_Computers" target="_hplink">-- Playboy interview, 1985</a>
"We've kept our marriage secret for over a decade." -- Jobs' answer to Kara Swisher asking about the "greatest misunderstanding" in Jobs' relationship with Bill Gates. (<a href="http://allthingsd.com/20070531/d5-gates-jobs-transcript/" target="_hplink">May 2007</a>)
"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them." -- <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/may1998/nf80512d.htm" target="_hplink">BusinessWeek interview, May 1998 </a>
"Picasso had a saying: 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas...I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, poets, artists, zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world." --<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU" target="_hplink"> 1994</a>
"[Y]ou can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." <a href="http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html" target="_hplink">-- Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.</a>
"My sex life is pretty good these days, Walt. How's yours?" -- Jobs's response to a question from Walt Mossberg about how Jobs feels about Google and if he feels "betrayed." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/02/steve-jobs-all-things-dig_n_597818.html#s95757&title=On_Sex_And" target="_hplink"> (June, 2010)</a> (Jobs also added, "Well they decided to compete with us. We didn't go into the search business.")
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. ... Stay hungry. Stay foolish." <a href="http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html" target="_hplink">-- Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.</a>
"I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. Humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list....That didn't look so good, but then someone at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of lomotion for a man on a bicycle and a man on a bicycle blew the condor away. That's what a computer is to me: the computer is the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds." <a href="http://www.mlfilms.com/productions/m_and_i" target="_hplink">-- Interview for the documentary "Memory and Imagination," 1990</a>
"My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other's kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That's how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they're done by a team of people." <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4835857n" target="_hplink">-- Interview with 60 Minutes, 2003</a>