"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings
to be seriously considered as a means of communication.
The device is inherently of no value to us."
-- Western Union memo, 1876
Predictions about the future are a tricky business to be sure.
Even in this age of supercomputers and satellites, we know predicting the weather more than 48 hours in advance is something of a crapshoot.
Regardless, it is close to that time of year, when the brave or the foolhardy dare to speculate what the New Year will bring.
For me, predicting the future has always held a special fascination. Fueled by artist renderings of cities in the clouds and science fiction films like "Forbidden Planet," my imagination went into overdive thinking about what everyday life would be like in the decades ahead.
But as the decades pass, we realize those predictions of flying cars, colonies on Mars, a 150-year lifespan and robots in every home are still somewhere in the future.
Still, some of what was predicted in the 1950s hit eerily close to home. One example is from a syndicated feature called "Closer Than We Think!," by industrial designer, illustrator and futurist Arthur Radebaugh. Appearing in newspapers from 1958-1962, Radebaugh's predictions ranged from "Push Button Education" (remote learning using computers) and "Pop Out TV Programs (3-D television) to the "Electronic Home Library" (machines that record TV shows on tape) and a "One World Job Market" (using TV for global job interviews).
Radebaugh passed away in 1974, but if he were still alive, would no doubt take some pleasure in that much of what he foresaw has come to pass.
While I still find predicting what the future holds interesting, over the years I've adopted a more grounded view:
Loosely translated from the Latin, it means the future will take care of itself.
Yes, I know it's spelled like "Jerry." No, I don't know why it's pronounced "Gary."