Most Regrettable Quotes

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Technological advances in the 20th century changed our world dramatically. A multitude of discoveries and inventions took us from horse and buggy to automobiles and even to space travel. Communications methods made message couriers obsolete, as we moved into telephone and internet communications. And imagine our world without electricity moving from candlelight to nuclear power! 

Yet, despite the rapid changes in technology, it is amazing how many “experts” failed to recognize the significance of the inventions that have shaped our modern society. Below are some famous quotes from scientists, inventors, business leaders, and media personalities, that illustrate just how wrong some people “in the know” can be. 

 

 

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”  

Ken Olsen, co-founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977 

 

“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” 

Editor in charge of business books, Prentice Hall, 1957 

 

“Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition.” 

Nobel Prize winner, Dennis Gabor, 1962 

 

“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” 

Irving Fisher (Yale Economics Professor 1929) 

 

“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” 

Sir John Eric Erichsen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873 

 

“I do not believe the introduction of motor-cars will ever affect the riding of horses.” 

 Mr. Scott-Montague, MP, in 1903 in the United Kingdom  

 

“When the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more be heard of.” 

Erasmus Wilson, a professor at Oxford University, in 1878. He was skeptical about the future of electric light after seeing it at the Paris Exhibition. 

 

“Such startling announcements as these should be deprecated as being 

unworthy of science and mischievous to its true progress.” 

 

Sir William Siemens, 1880, on Edison’s announcement of a successful light bulb 

 

“We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy.” 

Simon Newcomb, astronomer, 1888 

 

 

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be 

obtainable.  It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at 

will.” 

 

Albert Einstein, 1932 

 

“Space travel is bunk.” 

Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik 

 

 

“There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be 

used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio 

service inside the United States.” 

T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961