If there’s a lesson to be learned about predicting the future of technology, it’s this: The best and the brightest often get it wrong.
Consider, for example, this group: Thomas Edison, Lord Kelvin, Steve Ballmer, Robert Metcalfe, and Albert Augustus Pope. Despite backgrounds of amazing achievement and even brilliance, all share the dubious distinction of making some of the worst technological predictions in history.
Had they been right, history would be radically different. Today, there would be no airplanes, moon landings, home computers, iPhones, or Internet.
Fortunately, they were wrong. And that should tell us something: Even those who shape the future can’t always get a handle on it.
Here, we’ve collected some of the forecasts that were most publically, painfully, incorrect. From Edison to Kelvin to Ballmer, click through for 10 of the worst technological predictions in history.