Human Science
  1. "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.
  2. "We will never make a 32 bit operating system." - Bill Gates (Now he is making 64 bit!)
  3. "Lee DeForest has said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years. Based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public . has been persuaded to purchase stock in his company ." - a U.S. District Attorney, prosecuting American inventor Lee DeForest for selling stock fraudulently through the mail for his Radio Telephone Company in 1913.
  4. "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, in 1961 (the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965).
  5. "To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth - all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances." - Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, in 1926
  6. "A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere." New York Times, 1936.
  7. "Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical (sic) and insignificant, if not utterly impossible." - Simon Newcomb; The Wright Brothers flew at Kittyhawk 18 months later.
  8. "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society, 1895.
  9. "There will never be a bigger plane built." - A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people
  10. "Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years." -- Alex Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times in 1955.
  11. "This is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives." - Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy during World War II, advising President Truman on the atomic bomb, 1945.[6] Leahy admitted the error five years later in his memoirs
  12. "The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine." - Ernest Rutherford, shortly after splitting the atom for the first time.
  13. "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
  14. "The cinema is little more than a fad. It's canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage." -- Charlie Chaplin, actor, producer, director, and studio founder, 1916
  15. "The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys." - Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878.
  16. "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." - A memo at Western Union, 1878 (or 1876).
  17. "The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most." - IBM, to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959.
  18. "I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea." - HG Wells, British novelist, in 1901
  19. "X-rays will prove to be a hoax." - Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883.
  20. "The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous." - Comment of Aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Haig, at tank demonstration, 1916
  21. "How, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense." Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton's steamboat, 1800s.
  22. "Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever." - Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1889 (Edison often ridiculed the arguments of competitor George Westinghouse for AC power).
  23. "Home Taping Is Killing Music" - A 1980s campaign by the BPI, claiming that people recording music off the radio onto cassette would destroy the music industry.
  24. "Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan." - Mary Somerville, pioneer of radio educational broadcasts, 1948.
  25. "[Television] won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night." - Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946.
  26. "When the Paris Exhibition [of 1878] closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it." - Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson
  27. "Dear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as 'railroads' . As you may well know, Mr. President, 'railroad' carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by 'engines' which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed." - Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, 1830(?).
  28. "Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia." - Dr Dionysys Larder (1793-1859), professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, University College London.
  29. "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?" - Associates of David Sarnoff responding to the latter's call for investment in the radio in 1921.
  30. 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." - The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
  31. "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk ?" - Harry M. Warner, Warner Bros, 1927
  32. "640K ought to be enough for anybody" - Bill Gates, 1981. Bill Gates did deny the statement. Now the people use 8 GB RAM.
  33. "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." - Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles in 1962
  34. "The problem with television is that the people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn't time for it." -The New York Times, after a prototype demonstration at the 1939 World's Fair.
  35. "With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the US market." - Business Week, August 2, 1968
  36. "Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899
  37. "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." - Marshall Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superiure de Guerre
  38. "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." - Associates of Edwin L. Drake refusing his suggestion to drill for oil in 1859
  39. "There is a young madman proposing to light the streets of London-with what do you suppose-with smoke!" - Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832. (On a proposal to light cities with gaslight.)
  40. "The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C', the idea must be feasible." - A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
  41. "The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty-a fad." - Advice from a president of the Michigan Savings Bank to Henry Ford's lawyer Horace Rackham. Rackham ignored the advice and invested $5000 in Ford stock, selling it later for $12.5 million.
  42. "These Google guys, they want to be billionaires and rock stars and go to conferences and all that. Let us see if they still want to run the business in two to three years". - Bill Gates in 2003. Bill gates appears to be an expert in making wrong predictions!
  43. "The phonograph has no commercial value at all." - Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1880s.
  44. "So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No'. So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" - Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer Inc., on his and Steve Wozniak's early attempts to distribute their personal computer.
  45. -Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.- - Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
  46. -I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face not Gary Cooper.- - - - Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in -Gone With The Wind.-
  47. -The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon-. - Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to QueenVictoria 1873.
  48. -$100 million dollars is way too much to pay for Microsoft.- - IBM, 1982
  49. It will be years - not in my time - before a woman will become Prime Minister. - Margaret Thatcher, 1974 (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990)
  50. Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction. - Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
  51. King George II said in 1773 that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution.
  52. An official of the White Star Line, speaking of the firm's newly built flagship, the Titanic, launched in 1912, declared that the ship was unsinkable.
  53. Whatever happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping. - Frank Knox, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, on December 4, 1941, three days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
  54. Date Made: 1/15/2004 Prediction: In January 2004, Gates said -Two years from now, spam will be solved.- Prediction Description: Made the prediction at the 2004 World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Outcome: Wrong Outcome Description: Spam is definitely NOT solved. Sorry Bill.
  55. Date Made: 6/1/1981 Prediction: In an interview shortly after his first election as President of France with the journalist Peter Scholl-Latour, François Mitterrand said that the Germany would not be reunited under his presidency. Prediction Description: Prediction was mentionned in Peter Scholl-Latour's book -Russland I'm Zangengriff-,2006. Outcome: Wrong
  56. Date Made: 2/4/1995 Prediction: In his InfoWorld column in 1995, Bob Metcalfe predicted the internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse. Outcome: Wrong Outcome Description: The internet is still with us -- supernova didn't happen, luckily. Bob invented ethernet and founded 3Com corporation.
  57. I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious sensibilities of anyone." Charles Darwin, in the foreword to his book, The Origin of Species, 1869.
  58. It will be gone by June.- Variety, passing judgement on rock 'n roll in 1955
  59. Democracy will be dead by 1950. - John Langdon-Davies, A Short History of The Future, 1936.
  60. A short-lived satirical pulp.- TIME, writing off Mad magazine in 1956.
  61. In all likelihood world inflation is over.- International Monetary Fund Ceo, 1959
  62. Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop - because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds. - TIME, 1966, in one sentence writing off e-commerce long before anyone had ever heard of it.
  63. This is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time. -- Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, September 30th, 1938.
  64. That virus is a pussycat. -- Dr. Peter Duesberg,molecular-biology professor at U.C. Berkeley, on HIV, 1988.
  65. Reagan doesn't have that presidential look." -- United Artists Executive, rejecting Reagan as lead in 1964 film The Best Man
  66. Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.- Grover Cleveland, U.S. President, 1905.
  67. That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced. Scientific American, Jan. 2 edition, 1909.
  68. But what... is it good for?- IBM executive Robert Lloyd, speaking in 1968 microprocessor, the heart of today's computers.
  69. Atomic energy might be as good as our present-day explosives, but it is unlikely to produce anything very much more dangerous. - Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, 1939.
  70. There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom." Robert Millikan, American physicist and Nobel Prize winner, 1923.
  71. [By 1985], machines will be capable of doing any work Man can do.- Herbert A. Simon, of Carnegie Mellon University - considered to be a founder of the field of artificial intelligence - speaking in 1965.
  72. The ordinary -horseless carriage- is at present a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will probably fall in the future, it will never, of course, come into as common use as the bicycle. Literary Digest, 1899 on Car.
  73. "We will bury you." -- Nikita Krushchev, Soviet Premier, predicting Soviet communism will win over U.S. capitalism, 1958.
  74. "We are on a tear to be the undisputed winner in China," said eBay CEO Meg Whitman on 10 February, 2005. By December 2006, eBay said it would close its operation in China and become instead the junior partner to Tom Online, a Chinese Internet portal and wireless firm.
  75. "There's just not that many videos I want to watch," lamented Steve Chen, a co-founder of YouTube, in March 2005. At the time YouTube featured about 50 videos. Less than two years later, on November 13 2006, Google acquired YouTube for US$1.65 billion in Google stock.
  76. Over the years, many have predicted the iPod would be a fad: most famously Amstrad founder, Sir Alan Sugar, who said in February 2005 that by "next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput". Of course today the iPod continues to power along, with Apple claiming to have sold over 100 million units.
  77. "Ours has been the first, and doubtless to be the last, to visit this profitless locality." — Lt. Joseph Ives, after visiting the Grand Canyon in 1861.
  78. "You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can't be done. It's just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training." — Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus.
  79. "That Professor Goddard with his 'chair' in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react–to say that would be absurd. Of course, he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." — 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work. The remark was retracted in the July 17, 1969 issue.
  80. "The Japanese don't make anything the people in the U.S. would want." -Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, 1954
  81. "Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail." -Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under Eisenhower, 1959
  82. "By the turn of the century, we will live in a paperless society." -Roger Smith, chairman of General Motors, 1986
  83. "Law will be simplified [over the next century]. Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed."-journalist Junius Henri Browne, 1893
  84. "It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to anything." -Albert Einstein's teacher to Einstein's father, 1895
  85. "It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology." -computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949
  86. In the prologue to The Population Bomb Paul Ehrlich wrote, "In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate..." Yet, never has food been more abundant on a world-wide basis than today. Starvation that exists is largely due to political causes and wars, not overpopulation. Ehrlich, regarded as a latter day Malthus, still has ardent adherents to his overpopulation theories.
  87. Global cooling will lead to reduced food supplies: In the 70s, meteorologists were of the nearly unanimous view (according to Newsweek, April 28, 1975) that the cooling earth would "reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century…the resulting famines could be catastrophic." A 30-year cooling trend that started in the 1940s generated great concern among climatologists. We would need to adapt to a colder world, they cautioned. Growing seasons will shorten by weeks and decrease agricultural productivity. Yet the cooling trend that was noted by the Experts in the 70s occurred despite rising CO2 levels. This cooling anomaly has never been adequately explained away by today's climate change Experts.
  88. The world is running out of oil: For decades we have been hearing from the Experts that worldwide oil production is in terminal decline. The first prediction of "peak oil" in the 50s was accurate only for US reserves in the lower 48 states. However, the theory was incorrectly extended to world reserves, and the "peak oil" Experts have gotten it wrong ever since. Improvements in technology allow access to reserves unreachable 40 years ago. Proven worldwide reserves have actually increased since the prediction was first made, currently at 1.2 trillion barrels. Estimates of total worldwide reserves range from 3.7 to 4.5 trillion barrels, enough to last for 122-140 years at current consumption rates. The reserves of the Athabasca Oil Sands of Alberta reportedly hold over 180 billion barrels. The oil shale of the western US's Green River Basin is said to contain over 1 trillion barrels of oil (not even counted as part of worldwide reserves) if the political will exists to extract it. It is simply more expensive to extract oil from shale but the technology exists. Oil shale yields a 3:1 return on the energy needed to extract it compared to a 10:1 return for most oil fields. Compared to the paltry 1.3 to 1 return on ethanol production, extraction from oil shale is a comparative energy bargain.
  89. "A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.
  90. "... good enough for our transatlantic friends ... but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men." -- British Parliamentary Committee, referring to Edison's light bulb, 1878..
  91. "Such startling announcements as these should be depreciated as being unworthy of science and mischievous to its true progress." --Sir William Siemens, on Edison's light bulb, 1880.
  92. "What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?" -- The Quarterly Review, March edition, 1825
  93. "If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one." -- W.C. Heuper, National Cancer Institute, 1954.
  94. "The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd to go on seeking it...knife and pain are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the consciousness of the patient." -- Dr. Alfred Velpeau, French surgeon, 1839.
  95. "I would sooner believe that two Yankee professors lied, than that stones fell from the sky." -- Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President, on hearing reports of meteorites, 1790s
  96. "The view that the sun stands motionless at the center of the universe is foolish, philosophically false, utterly heretical, because it is contrary to Holy Scripture. The view that the earth is not the center of the universe and even has a daily rotation is philosophically false, and at least an erroneous belief." -- Holy Office, Roman Catholic Church, ridiculing the scientific analysis that the Earth orbited the Sun in edict of March 5, 1616
  97. "The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.... Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals." -- Albert A. Michelson, German-born American physicist, 1894.
  98. "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now; All that remains is more and more precise measurement." -- Lord Kelvin, speaking to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1900
  99. "We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy." -- Simon Newcomb, Canadian-born American astronomer, 1888.
  100. "The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years." -- Paul Ralph Ehrlich, in an interview with Peter Collier in Mademoiselle, 1970.[citation ]
  101. "By the year 1982 the graduated income tax will have practically abolished major differences in wealth." -- Irwin Edman, professor of philosophy Columbia University, 1932.
  102. "Hawaii U.S.A. A world of happiness in an ocean of peace". -- The National Geographic Magazine, Vol. LXXX, No. 4, October, 1941. Advertisement sponsored during the initial years of the Second World War by the Hawaii Tourist Bureau, and published just two months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
  103. "Lefthanded incumbents have never been look for a one-term Clinton Presidency." -- TIME Magazine on lefthanded Bill Clinton's election to the American Presidency, November 16, 1992
  104. "I would say that this does not belong to the art which I am in the habit of considering music." -- A Oulibicheff, reviewing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
  105. "You better get secretarial work or get married." -- Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Book Modelling Agency, advising would-be model Marilyn Monroe in 1944.
  106. "If Beethoven's Seventh Symphony is not by some means abridged, it will soon fall into disuse." -- Philip Hale, Boston Music Critic, 1837.
  107. "I'm sorry, Mr Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language." -- The San Francisco Examiner, rejecting a submission by Rudyard Kipling in 1889.
  108. "So many centuries after the Creation, it is unlikely that anyone could find hitherto unknown lands of any value." -- Committee advising King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain regarding a proposal by Christopher Columbus, 1486.