In 1993, AT&T ran an ad campaign called "You Will" (see below) whose purpose was to provide consumers a clear visual sense of how in the not too distant future, communications, entertainment and commerce would be transformed.
A typical ad asked the viewer, "Have you ever watched the movie you wanted to, the minute you wanted to..or tucked your baby in from a phone both?"
The Tagline - "You Will. And The Company That'll Bring It To You: AT&T"
Well, for the most part AT&T wasn't destined to be 'the company that'll bring it to you,' but the 'hit rate' of the predictions was pretty darn good, inasmuch as they predate the emergence of the web and mobile broadband.
I thought about these ads a bunch this week while having daily video calls with my wife and kids -- while my wife was driving the kids home from school, and despite being away from them out of the country.
Me on my iPhone 4, with only Wifi and Skype, and my wife on her iPhone using Verizon 3G. And for the most part, it worked like a charm.
It is in such moments that the inevitability of such technologies, and the magic of their actual realization, turns cynicism into pixie dust.