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Atari Predicted The Current Internet Way in 1982

In past posts I’ve shown you Ben Bova’s SF predictions on ebooks, Isaac Asimov’s view of the future of education, and other tech predictions, but would you believe that Atari, who is now remembered for being a gaming company, foresaw the rise of the WWW and our current reliance on tablets and smartphones for every aspect of our lives (my life, anyway)?

It’s true. They did.

Earlier today Bob Stein posted a series of concept drawings over on that he created with Glenn Keane, a well-known Disney animator. The drawings were made for Atari in 1982 and they show a remarkably accurate view of how we now use gadgetry in out every day life. The device Bob thought up was called the Intelligent Encyclopedia, but we would now be more familiar with it as a tablet or a smartphone.

Here’s a gallery of the drawings. I particularly like the one of the guy in an earthquake reaching for his gadget before even fleeing the house. It’s so true and it is certainly what I did when I was in one last summer. The kid who is drawing rude pictures of his teacher is also particularly striking.


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Lynne April 12, 2012 um 2:31 pm


I especially love the thickness of the "laptops" – even the most highly imaginative, I would guess, would have a hard time picturing something as tiny and thin as a smart phone being as hefty a computer. Despite the fact that computers, in only a few decades, went from being room-sized to something you could put under your desk.

I miss my grandfather’s old Commodore 64. ^_^ Fun times! I learned Basic on that thing!

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