Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Magnum P.I. Can See the Future, and We’re Living in It Right Now

Turns out these 1993 AT&T ads, narrated by Tom Selleck, have floated around the Web for a while, but it’s Friday and I hadn’t seen them (again) until yesterday. So here you go. Marvel at the astonishing accuracy of every prediction here:

At this point — remember, less than 20 years after the ads ran — you’d really have to be a quibbler to argue with any of the forecasts. (Yes, no one Skypes from phone booths, but that’s really because no one uses phone booths, and you can do it from your iPad, anyway.)

If you’re old enough to have a hazy memory of these ads the first time around, the fact that the former future is now present tense might really give you pause. You know, if you were so inclined.

UPDATE: As Richard Raucci notes, the spots were directed by David Fincher, pre “Fight Club” and “The Social Network”. And Terry O’Gara, who worked on the music for the ads, has a fascinating look behind the scenes, with some thought-provoking perspective about sound + vision.

Bonus really, really old video!


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus