In business, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield. – Warren Buffett.

That quote from one of the smartest men in investment history is pregnant with wisdom and caution. Everything always seems obvious when we look at it in hindsight. Similarly, the future is never certain. Noone knows what’s going to come tomorrow, no matter how knowledgeable they are about a subject.

Yet despite the obvious nature of these realities of life, people are always making predictions with an assumed “degree of certainty”.

As is the case in business, the world of technology and innovation has had its own fair share of people pronouncing “with certainty” how some innovations or advancements were destined to fail. Some of them turned out to be horribly off the mark.

A look at just five examples of predictions and prophecies made about technology illustrates this clearly.

  1. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
  2. “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876.
  3. “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.” – Lee DeForest, inventor.
  4. “Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” – William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, a British scientist, 1899.
  5. “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” — Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

Is this the same issue with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology?

The same sort of predictions have been and are being made about cryptocurrencies and to a lesser degree the blockchain  – the distributed technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Experts in the world of business, finance and even technology (including the smart Warren Buffett) have stepped up to share their own thoughts about how these will implode or won’t last.

With no one able to look into a crystal ball it’s hard to say who’s on the money about these technologies. All that’s certain right now is these innovations are making a positive contribution to various aspects of people’s lives. They should be celebrated, used and improved, rather than shot down by prophecies of doom and gloom.

Photo by Wendy Scofield on Unsplash