Yesterday’s cutting edge is today’s old hat.
Given how much the Internet’s become integrated into seemingly every part of our daily lives, it’s easy to forget that the online world is still in its digital infancy. Just two decades ago, the Internet only reached a couple of million computers - a relatively tiny number by today’s standards. Whistleblowers didn’t have Wikileaks. As for social media - Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. - weren’t even words in the vernacular, let alone actual online destinations. And a Facebook was an actual book of faces and names that was used as a directory on college campuses.
So with some tech savvy guests and topics ahead on The Last Word this week, what better opportunity to look back and see what people were saying about the Internet during its earliest days? This report from the December 27, 1993, edition of NBC Nightly News entitled “Almost 2001” gets quite a few things right about what online technology would mean for the future. Experts at the time correctly predicted a world where movies could be watched at home “on demand,” and even introduced viewers to the concept of a phone call that included video - better known now as Skype and Facetime. The report also raises concerns that new technology could also bring new costs and see Americans of lesser means left out of the digital revolution.