Growing up in Duluth, Minnesota, I read all the leading Science and Science Fiction writers, and had a special interest in Arthur C. Clark’s work, both his stories and speculative works on the future. His practical predictions about what could be accomplished in the field of telecommunications was of special interest to me.
Clark speculated in an address to the American Institute of Architects in 1967 (reprinted in his book “Report on Planet Three”, Arthur C. Clark, 1972):
“Newspapers will, I think receive their final body blow from these new communications techniques… How I look forward to the day when I can press a button and get any type of news, editorial, book and theater reviews, etc., merely by dialing the right channel. The print will flash on the screen, and if I want “hard copy” to file or read elsewhere, another button will conjure forth a printed sheet containing only what I need.
Moreover, not only today’s but any newspaper ever published will be available. Some sort of TV-like console, connected to a central electronic library, could make available any information ever printed, in any form.
Electronic “mail” delivery is another exciting prospect of the very near future…”
Well Arthur, I think we did it!