THE INTERNET FAD
Buying into overly optimistic predictions can be dangerous. But excessive skepticism has its own dangers, especially when it comes to technology. For every fevered dream of flying cars and food-in-a-pill there are curmudgeons like British entrepreneur Alan Sugar, who predicted in 2005 that the iPod would be "kaput" within the year, or IBM Chairman Thomas Watson, who in 1943 reportedly foresaw a global market for "maybe five computers."
Or take astronomer and popular science author Clifford Stoll, who in his 1995 book Silicon Snake Oil and an accompanying Newsweek article ridiculed the idea that "we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet" and argued that "no online database will replace your daily newspaper." As evidence he noted that his "local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month."
Sometimes it pays to believe the hype.
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