AT&T Ad from 1993

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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4 Responses

  1. Kolohe

    Hey, it’s Magnum!

    1) “Borrowed a book from 1000’s of miles away” – yep nailed it, except didn’t contemplate that the format would be (usually) tailor made for screen viewing
    2) “Cross the country without asking for directions” – also nailed it, and this time probably got closest to the actual UI/UX that would come to pass
    3) “Sent someone a fax from the beach” – lol. but there’s probably an alternative universe where ‘fax’ survived as a legacy word (The way say ‘ringing’ does in ‘Your cell phone is ringing”)

    4) “paid a toll without slowing down’ – again got it, to the point of being the dominant paradigm now, though again with a completely different UI/UX than shown (no need to swipe a card, and very rarely an instant readout of the toll paid)
    5) “Bought concert tickets from a cash machine” – this did sorta get the ‘kiosk’ -ization of a lot of transactions (especially movie tickets) but of course completely missed that you will also able to do this from home (or from the beach)
    6) “Watched a movie you wanted to when you wanted to” – possibly the only one they nailed *and* that AT&T (in terms of where the brand is now in its corporate evolution) actually does provide
    7) “so where did jazz come from” – probably the one with the longest time of ‘ha ha, that’s cute’ until ‘nailed it’ (also this is the one part of the ad that I do remember from when it aired originally)
    8) “tucked your baby in from a phone booth” – really, the biggest miss of them all.

    9) “kept an eye on your home when you’re not at home” – again got it, but really was not practical until the past five years
    10) “got a phone call on your wrist” – it is something that aside from the boutique Apple product, we really got a way from the sci-fi dick tracy wristwatch skeuomorph pretty much from the get go.

    11) Voice activate doors – still not really a thing, probably won’t be.
    12) “Carried your medical history in your wallet” – this is not AT&T’s fault that this never happened, Electronic Medical Records have been the revolutionary wave of the future stymied by legacy systems (both informational and human) and the fact that’s it genuinely not an easy problem
    13) “Attending a meeting in your bare feet” – yep, though the prettiest locations usually still have terrible bandwidth

    14) “Classmate who’s thousands of miles away” – zoom school where did jazz come from part 2. I will also say that remote school and remote meeting was sort of closest (besides driving direction) to what the actual experience looks like, including the camera angles (which, until computer and cell phone cameras became ubiquitous, sci fi depictions always got wrong)
    15) Real time translation – yeah, we’re also pretty close to this now, and its kinda miraculous how decent AI translation systems are now (though of course not perfect)Report

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