A Bay Area Man From 1953 Predicted Smartphones, Video Calls and Apple Watches

Maya Devi

A Bay Area man predicted in 1953 that humans would have smartphones and smartwatches, and make video calls.

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When rotary phones were considered a luxury, the President of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, Mark R. Sullivan, predicted the future of cell phones. He foretold that humans would have smartphones that will let them make video calls and carry around watches that can be used as phones.

At a conference in Pasadena, California, in 1953 he shared this strangely accurate vision of the future. Later, the News Tribune, reported the news in an article titled, “There’ll Be No Escape in Future From Telephones.”

Three years before this conference, he appeared in the San Francisco Examiner talking about a new device he was proud of. The new device automatically calculated the duration of people’s phone calls and was the size of a small typewriter.

But, the very same man, could oversee the constraints of technology during his time and predicted that future phones could be carried and have no dial. He also revealed that callers would be able to see each other as they talked using phones. He also talked about a system, like Google Translate, that could translate one language to another.

What’s surprising is that he made the prediction while technology was so underdeveloped and before the Silicon Valley boom.

As for his personal life, Sullivan lived in San Francisco with his wife and daughter. He started low as a traffic clerk at the age of 16 and worked his way up to become one of the board of directors of the American Trust Company.

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