Apple Predicted Siri 24 Years Ago So Perfectly It's Scary

This just blew my mind. Back in 1987 Apple made a video about a future computer that would have a touchscreen with a computerise assistant you could talk to. They were off in their prediction by only 18 days. Wow.

In 1987, former Apple CEO John Sculley wrote about a concept called the Knowledge Navigator. It was a far out idea that was way ahead of its time. Its time, evidently, was today. The Knowledge Navigator features a digital assistant that is almost identical to Siri, which just launched hours ago, though Siri is a disembodied voice, not a guy in a bow tie. Less bow tie is always good. Check the video and tell me it's not eerily similar.

Here's the kicker, though. Andy Baio of noted, "The date on the professor's calendar is September 16, and he's looking for a 2006 paper written 'about five years ago,' setting the year as 2011." September 16, 2011. So, 24 years ago Apple predicted that there would be a magical, touchscreen device, that could do video calls, that would have a digital assistant you could interact with, and that would pull down data from a massive network (coughTheCloudcough)... and they were only 18 days off? That's crazy.

What kind of dark magic is at work here? Does Apple have a time machine (other than their product, Time Machine) or a crystal ball? Is that how they rule computers? Time travel? Absolutely nutso. [ and BYTECellar]

Update: To clarify, the video is not from 1987. The video was made in the mid-90's. The 1987 date was when John Sculley wrote about Knowledge Navigator is his book Odyssey. To avoid confusion and on the advice of Andy Baio, I've swapped in an edited segment of the video. To be clear, this video was produced in 1987. The previous video was produced in the mid-90's and contained this 1987 video in it. So they're still time-traveling warlocks. Everybody got that? Okay, good. Thanks, Andy!



    Start Trek Voyager - Future's End. That is all!

      I was thinking TNG - I don't think they talked to the computer in TOS. In any case, it's not as though the idea of natural-speech voice recognition was new in '87. People were talking to robots and computers in science fiction for decades.

      But I'll admit it's pretty cool that they made the effort to fulfil that prediction.

        You see, in the future they invent time travel. However to the ability to alter the past has significant consequences on the future and time travel is outlawed. Anyone suspected of time travel will be executed before their first birthday thus preventing time travellers interfering with the past in the future. Therefore to be successful you need to be very very sneaky and create a cover. Steve Jobs was one of the successful time travellers who got away with it. This theory explain Apples revolutionary vision, Steve Jobs “death” (his exit strategy) and the introduction of a carbon tax (orchestrated to preserve the world for Steve Jobs native generation)

    Facetime at 8:15 hehe

    So they didn't create it now to make it self fulfilling then? #]

    "Less bow tie is always good" NO!! BOW TIES ARE COOL!!!!! :)X

    After the first story, the Michelle Obama lookalike goes on to say, "Probably not the way it's going to turn out"

    snarfed from MIT/Xerox research of the day, but nicely packaged (what Apple does !)

    What Gizmodo means is that Apple realised they had a deadline so copied Google's and Microsoft's WP7 voice integration to create a gimic that they called 'siri'.

    No innovation here

    Do you think they've had this technology ready to go for years/months, and delayed it to make it look like they predicted the future? :)

    OMG this Apple fan boy thing is growing old. Sci-fi movies in the 50's had people talking to computers FFS.

    "pull down data from a massive network (coughTheCloudcough)"

    Also, the internet....cough

      Lol at around 6-7 mins talking about OpenDoc and customisation of software...doesn't sound very apple

    Interfaces like that have been "predicted" since the idea of computers first became popular...

    And how is this "scary"? If I "predict" I'll build a house in 20 years time and 20 years from now I look back on that "prediction" and decide to build that house, does that make it scary?

    i wonder if the amazon deforestation & sahara desertification data holds true

    it wasnt a prediction apple have just been putting it off for years until it was ready. weak effort for the guy who has been working on it

    This is why Apple is greater than any other tech company in the world. They have a long term vision of where they're heading.

      Not really, most of them do. The most prominent one being Microsoft. They've been pushing the tablet idea since Windows XP and planning for it for years along with many, many other big projects like interactive surfaces etc. You can see their future concept stuff all over the place...

        But i'm still missing my courier tablet :(

    Not 1987. More like early 90's.
    But still cool.

    If Yahoo was founded in 1994, how a 1987 video talk about it?

    Maybe 1997?

    wasnt yahoo founded in 1996?
    bit hard to refer to it in 1987

    i call hoax.

    I call bullshit - Apple don't believe in using a stylus, remember?

    Steve Jobs chose John Sculley for many reasons to take over as CEO -- I will go so far as to call Sculley as Apple's only true visionary in its entire history. The iPhone, the iPad, and now Siri (which was developed by an independent company who boldly admitted they took their idea from the 1987 Knowledge Navigator video, only to be bought outright by Apple) are all merely Sculley's visions being made real by Jobs. The big difference is that Sculley tried to push his visions into reality before the technology existed to make it completely feasible; Jobs has just been sitting on the ideas and perfecting them as and when the technology became available to turn the visions into an affordable, saleable product.

    With Siri, the iPad moves from Knowledge Navigator 0.2 to Knowledge Navigator 0.5. I'm expecting the 1.0 release-model to be ready in 2013. Hell, I've been waiting twenty four years for Apple to make good on my dream machine, another two years won't hurt!

    Hmm...But they could've just self fulfilled that prediction, considering they them selves made it in the first place...

    Just sayin', Bill Gates has also predicted the same thing for awhile too. However, it's not as good as this is, and it wasn't as implemented as seamlessly.
    Windows 7's voice recognition just makes you feel alone :P

    It's From '95+ not 1987. Cool though

    Wednesday 16th September 2011 - doesn't exist. Maybe its meant to be 2009? More than 18 days off.

      That'd meld with the illustration showing the growth of the Sahara over the past twenty years, which starts at 2009. But very cool nonetheless. I love how optimistic the 80s were.

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