Bill Gates Made These Predictions In 1999 And They've All Come True

Diply 2 Apr 2018

Bill Gates in 2018 is many things: billionaire philanthropist, respected tech pioneer, and Reddit darling. But it's easy to forget just how much the Microsoft founder has shaped modern technology.

It turns out he made a series of predictions nearly 20 years ago that were eerily forward-thinking. Maybe he's a time traveler, or just absolutely brilliant, but you can decide that for yourself.

These predictions come from his 1999 book, Business @ The Speed of Thought.

Wikimedia Commons | World Economic Forum

The book has a lot of information that's no longer relevant, but it also contains some insights into Gates' view of the future — insights that, as blogger Markus Kirjonen points out, were bang on.

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1. "Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites."

Sunridge Nissan | Sunridge Nissan

The internet of 1999 didn't allow these shopper-friendly tools, but apps and sites that compare everything from grocery prices to flights have been a mainstay for years now.

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2. "People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are."

Wikimedia Commons | Android Open Source Project

This prediction is straight out of the dumbphone era, but now that smartphones exist, this prediction has totally come true.

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3. "People will pay their bills, take care of their finances, and communicate with their doctors over the Internet."

SlideShare | SlideShare

Does anyone not pay their bills online at this point? And services like WebMD have expanded into online chats to allow patients to communicate with real doctors.

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4. "'Personal companions' will be developed. They will connect and sync all your devices in a smart way, whether they are at home or in the office."

Wikimedia Commons | Daniel Cardenas

This took awhile to come to fruition, but Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and others have revolutionized our world.

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5. "Constant video feeds of your house will become common, which inform you when somebody visits while you are not home."

Giphy | Giphy

With the advent of dirt-cheap digital cameras and wifi connecting everything, it's pretty common to see people with constant security feeds of their home.

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6. "Private websites for your friends and family will be common, allowing you to chat and plan for events."

Portallas | Portallas

This sounds kinda like social media, where you log in to a website that gives you a unique, personalized experience.

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7. "Software that knows when you’ve booked a trip and uses that information to suggest activities at the local destination."

Blogging Republic | Blogging Republic

Google is all over this these days, sometimes to a creepy extent. Basically, online services know almost everything about us in 2018.

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8. "While watching a sports competition on television, services will allow you to discuss what is going on live."

Royals Blue | Royals Blue

Turning on the game in 2018 often involves firing up Twitter as well, as online engagement throughout the game has become a mainstay.

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9. "Devices will have smart advertising. They will know your purchasing trends."

Giphy | Giphy

Again, Google was a pioneer in this field. I bought socks online a week ago and have been seeing nothing but sock ads in Chrome ever since.

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10. "Television broadcast will include links to relevant websites and content that complement what you are watching."

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This is a standby at this point. TV shows and sporting events constantly direct viewers to engage on social media or check out contests related to the programming.

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11. "Residents of cities and countries will be able to have Internet-based discussions concerning issues that affect them, such as local politics."

Bay Area Rapid Transit | Bay Area Rapid Transit

Town halls have given way to municipal websites that encourage people to email, rather than call or visit. Facebook groups have also provided this.

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12. "Online communities will not be influenced by your location, but rather, your interest."

Akuaro World | Akuaro World

Interests that used to occupy small niches have gone mainstream because, rather than forming a small local club, like-minded people from around the globe are able to connect through online communities.

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13. "Project managers looking to put a team together will be able to go online, describe the project, and receive recommendations for available people who would fit their requirements." 

Blog.nus | Blog.nus

Services like LinkedIn provide job-seekers and employers with persistent information on candidates, rather than relying on physical resumes.

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14. "Similarly, people looking for work will be able to find employment opportunities online by declaring their interest, needs, and specialized skills."

Giphy | Giphy

For proof, ask yourself this: When was the last time you applied for a job without involving email, job sites, or online applications?

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15. "Companies will be able to bid on jobs, whether they are looking for a construction project, a movie production, or an advertising campaign."

wikiHow | wikiHow

Our "gig economy" means that many independent contractors are paid for specific jobs, rather than being hired on full-time.

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