Brilliant fallacies in science and technology

Your attention is offered a list of “ingenious” misconceptions in science and technology, now it’s even hard to believe in these statements …

The concept is interesting and well-formed. But, in order for the idea to work, it must contain common sense.

(Professor Yale University in response to Fred Smith’s proposal for a home delivery service, Fred Smith will be the founder of the Federal Express Corp. delivery service)

Drilling the land in search of oil?

Do you mean that you have to drill the ground in order to find oil? You lost your mind. (answer to Edwin Drake’s project, 1859)

Knowledgeable people are perfectly aware of the fact that a voice can not be transmitted through wires. Even if it were possible, there would be no benefit from this.

(The Boston Post, 1865)

Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is a ridiculous fantasy.

(Pierre Pasche is professor of psychology at the University of Toulouse, 1872)

The abdomen, chest and brain will always be closed to the invasion of a wise and humane surgeon.

(Sir John Eric Eriksen is a British doctor appointed by Queen Victoria’s chief surgeon, 1873)

A device called “phone” has too many flaws to seriously talk about it as a means of communication. This device does not represent any value for us.

(letter of a Western Union employee, 1876)

Americans can and need a phone, but we do not. We have enough boys-messengers.

(Sir William Pries, Chief Engineer of the Post Office, 1878)

Flying machines weighing heavier than air are impossible!

(Lord Kelvin – President of the Royal Society, Royal Society, 1895)

Everything that could be invented has already been invented.

(Charles Dewell – US Bureau of Patents Commissioner, 1899)

Aircraft are interesting toys, but they do not represent any military value.

(Marechal Foch, professor, Ecole Superieure de Guerre)

You can frighten pregnant cats with this crock, but what’s the use of it in combat?

(General Kitchener about the first tank, 1915)

This music box without wires can not have any commercial value. Who will pay for messages that are not intended for a private person?

(partners of the Davclass Sarnoff association in response to his proposal to invest a radio project, 1920)

Professor Godard does not understand the relationship between action and reaction, he does not know that conditions are more appropriate than vacuum for the reaction. It seems that the professor is experiencing an acute shortage of elementary knowledge, which is taught in high school.

(an editorial in the New York Times on Robert Godard’s revolutionary work on the creation of a rocket, 1921)

Yes, who the hell are the actors talking about?

(reaction of H.M. Warner – Warner Brothers to the use of sound in the cinema, 1927)

I think that in the world market we will find the demand for five computers.

(Thomas Watson – IBM Director, 1943)

ENIAC consists of 18,000 electron tubes and weighs 30 tons. However, the computers of the future, probably, will consist of only 1000 electronic tubes and weigh only 1.5 tons.

(Popular Mechanics, March 1949)

Vacuum cleaners on nuclear energy, perhaps, will appear in 10 years.

(Sir Alex Levit, president and founder of the vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corporation, 1955)

I traveled this country far and wide, communicated with clever people and I can assure you that data processing is just a fad, fashion for which will last no more than a year.

(editor of the publishing house Prentice Hall, 1957)

The potential world market of photocopiers will contain no more than 5000 units.

(IBM is the founder of Xerox, 1959)

We do not like their sound and, in general, the guitar is yesterday.

(Decca Recording Co., which rejected the album recording of the group of the Beatles, in 1962)

But, what could be useful in this thing?

In 1951 I visited Professor Douglas Hartree, who created the first differential analyzer in England. He had more experience working with such highly specialized computers than anyone else. He told me that, in his opinion, all the calculations that will be required here in England can be made on three digital computers that were already under construction at that time – one in Cambridge, the second in Teddington and the third in Manchester. As he said, personal cars will never be necessary to anyone, and the price is sky-high.

(Lord Bowden, American Scientist, 1970)

In the mid-1970s, someone turned to me with one idea, which now can probably be called a personal computer. The idea was that we should use the 8080 processor along with the keyboard and monitor, and then sell these machines on the domestic market. I then asked: “Why all this?” The only thing I heard in response was the creation of a kitchen computer for housewives, who would store in his memory all sorts of culinary recipes. Personally, I did not see anything useful in this, so we did not return to this idea any more.

(Gordon Moore, Intel)

This computer, by the way, was called Honeywell Kitchen Computer and was priced at the time of release in the US as about 4 brand new cars – it’s no surprise that no one bought it.

No one can have the need to have a computer in their home.

(Ken Olson is the founder and president of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977)

640KB should be enough for everyone.

(Bill Gates, 1981)

We will never be able to create a 32-bit operating system.

(Bill Gates at the MSX presentation, Machines with Software eXchangeability – the name of the standard for home computers in the 1980s)

100 million dollars – too much for Microsoft.

(IBM, 1982)

I believe that OS / 2 is destined to become the most significant operating system and, possibly, a program for all time.

(Bill Gates in the foreword to the OS / 2 user manual, 1987)

Many people say that in 1996, the already rapid pace of the spread of Internet access around the world will only accelerate. But personally my opinion is this: the rise of Internet popularity in 1996 will end with a complete collapse.

(Robert Metcalf, founder of 3Com and inventor of Ethernet, 1995)

After two years, the problem of spam will be solved.

(Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum, 2004)

For the next Christmas, the iPod will go to the next world, throw back the hoofs, join the majority – in a word, a kaput.

(Sir Alan Sugar, CEO of Amstrad, Daily Telegraph, February 2005)

The iPhone does not have a chance to get a significant part of the market. Absolutely none. While asking for a $ 500 phone, Apple does a pretty good job, but take a look at the 1.3 billion mobile phones sold around the world. Better our software will be installed on 60, 70 or 80% of them, rather than on the two or three percent that will come to Apple.

(Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, USA Today, 2007)

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