As 2015 draws to an end, one thing is certain: pundits will be rolling out their technology predictions for the coming year and beyond.

To put those predictions into perspective, here are some informed opinions that were hilariously wrong (kudos to SSLs.com for sparking this idea):

  1. "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." Pierre Pachet (1872)
  2. "The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." Sir John Eric Ericksen (1873)
  3. "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication." William Orton (1876)
  4. "The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys." Sir William Preece (1878)
  5. "When the Paris Exhibition closes, the electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it." Erasmus Wilson (1878)
  6. "Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever." Thomas Edison (1889)
  7. "Heavier than air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin (1895)
  8. "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Charles H. Duell (1899)
  9. "The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty--a fad." Horace Rackham (1903)
  10. "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." Marechal Ferdinand Foch (1911)
  11. "No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris." Orville Wright (1920)
  12. "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" H.M. Warner (1927)
  13. "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." Irving Fisher (1929)
  14. "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)
  15. "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas Watson (1943)
  16. "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 (1946)
  17. "Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within 10 years." Alex Lewxt (1955)
  18. "Machines will be capable, within 20 years, of doing any work a man can do." Herbert Simon (1956)
  19. "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 (1959)
  20. "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.A.M. Craven (1961)
  21. "Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop." Time Magazine (1966)
  22. "Within a generation . . . the problem of creating 'artificial intelligence' will substantially be solved." Marvin Minsky (1967)
  23. "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." Ken Olsen (1977)
  24. "Cellular phones will absolutely not replace local wire systems." Marty Cooper (1981)
  25. "I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse." Robert Metcalfe (1995)
  26. " Apple is already dead." Nathan Myhrvold (1997)
  27. "By 2005 or so, it will be clear that the Internet's impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine's." Paul Krugman (1998)
  28. "Let's stop pretending that Y2K isn't a major threat to our way of life. There is too much at stake for such uninformed wishful thinking." Ed Yardeni (1999)
  29. "Two years from now, SPAM will be solved." Bill Gates (2004)
  30. "Everyone's always asking me when Apple will come out with a cell phone. My answer is, 'Probably never.'" David Pogue (2006)
  31. "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share." Steve Ballmer (2007)
Published on: Dec 16, 2015
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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.