Internet Future From 1969 (Video)

This video clip from 1969 predicting a future of electronic shopping, online bill paying, instant communications and the like is rather fascinating:

It’s apparently from some longer documentary film, although I can’t nail down more specific details.  (Or, perhaps more accurately, I’m not curious enough to devote the time.)  It’s been making the YouTube rounds for several months and both Jason Kotte and Andrew Sullivan have linked it this week, so I apologize if you’ve already seen it.

Aside from the obvious sexism, about which everyone seems oddly surprised, the whole thing has a certain Darma Initiative creepiness.

And, yes, as Zee observes, “there’s no mention of pop up windows, spam, pornography and hackers.” For whatever reason, rather obvious negative consequences seldom seem to be forecast.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. kth says:

    Actually it’s uncanny how closely it predicted how things turned out. The device the guy is scribbling on is the forerunner of the fax machine, etc.

    The one thing that seems odd–the home computer displays a photograph of a dead-tree invoice, instead of simply displaying the text on a terminal, spreadsheet-style, like a real terminal of the time would have done–actually predicts, if obliquely, the GUI and other more intuitive tools of home computing. Someone seeing this presentation at the World’s Fair or whatever, but seeing an ordinary home user typing cryptic commands on a text console, would have found that kind of proficiency harder to imagine.

  2. DC Loser says:

    The French had that in 1982 with the Minitel.

  3. anjin-san says:

    “The communal service agent”?? Sounds like that Obama feller is mixed up in this somehow…

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    It sounds as though they’re describing an online version of the Plato system. That’s what the terminal in the picture looks like to me. The terminal itself was old news even in 1969.