Did this 1993 film predict Google Glasses and iPads?

AT&T vision of the future includes concepts like OnStar, Siri, see-through displays and more

The folks at the AT&T Archives have dug up another "envisioning the future" video - this time from 1993, the same year that their "You Will" ad campaigns started (and right about the time the Internet started to take off).


In this film, we visit with a family planning a wedding, a city planner facing off against a teacher who wants a community center built instead of more housing, and other assorted scenarios. Through the course of the 14-minute film, they utilize future technologies, including see-through displays, virtual reality gaming (bigger than Google Glasses, but similar in concept), an OnStar-like in-car phone system, and "intelligent agents" that operate similar to the Siri voice assistant on the iPhone 4S. We even get a glimpse of an iPad-like tablet (seen at the 1:25 mark) and some Surface-like tablets (in the virtual classroom, later in the video).

What's interesting to me is not so much the things they predicted, but how much has changed in the almost-20-years since this film was made. While the concepts presented here have come true in some form or another (although real-time language translation still doesn't exist), the companies presenting them have changed pretty dramatically. It's interesting to see these visions of the future still rely on a phone-based system, rather than computers or Internet-based system. Although, technically, videoconferencing via iPhone or tablet can still be considered a phone-based product.

What stands out in this video for you?

Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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