Bill Gates wrote a book all the way back in the ancient bygone days of 1999, titled “Business @ the speed of thought” – and in it he pretty much predicts the future.
We're not talking random or vague assumptions about the future of mankind. He actually managed to put down on paper some of the leading inventions, websites and gadgets we practically rely on now in our day-to-day lives.
This was during the time of dial-up internet, the first Blackberry phone and the introduction of Napster.
The year Britney Spears' Baby One more Time and Lou Bega's Mambo No 5 came out, Gates was theorising about smart watches, digital job sites and online banks.
Five years before Facebook, Gates was thinking about a Facebook like creation.
So here are 7 of his most interesting predictions that pretty much came true.
Gates predicted that people will carry "small devices" that allow them to constantly communicate with each other, as well as check the news, check flight times and do "just about anything else". And that's pretty much the perfect definition of a smartphone.
Private websites will allow you to talk to friends and family. In other words, Gates predicted social media at a time before Facebook or MySpace existed.
There will be automated price comparison services so people can compare the prices across an entire industry.Devices will know what you’ve been buying, and pick to what adverts you see according to your taste and spending habits.
Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites, making it effortless to find the cheapest product for all industries.
Gates predicted community websites when he thought online communities would form according to interests, not location. Reddit is a great example of this.
Gates predicted there would be a system that syncs all our devices, and these devices will be able to help us out when we need it. For example, you could tell it what meals you want to make, and when you’re in the supermarket it’ll tell you what ingredients you need to buy. Gates calls them "personal companions". Amazon's Echo is a good example of this prediction coming true.
Employers will be able to go online and find exactly who they’re looking for to help them with a project. Gates wrote, ""Project managers looking to put a team together will be able to go online, describe the project, and receive recommendations for available people who would fit their requirements." This exists now in the form of project management software.
And Gates predicted people will be able to go online and find jobs. Of course, the internet has now become the biggest middleman for job-seekers and employers. There are tonnes of job websites online now, and for the vast majority of us, it's the only way we apply for jobs.