Fifth Grade Students Predicted The Evolution Of The Internet
August 19, 2012

Old Grade-School PSA Successfully Predicted Evolution Of The Internet

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

A strangely prophetic video recorded by a group of grade school students back in 1995 has gone viral over the past week, garnering the attention of the Internet community for correctly predicting that online activity on the future would focus on communicating, watching videos, shopping, and cats.

The Public Service Announcement (PSA), which is currently available on YouTube, features a team of then-fifth grade pupils from the Ray Bjork Elementary School in Helena, Montana, according to Sam Byford of The Verge. It was produced using equipment from the Myrna Loy Center, and won a 1996 local ADDY Award for best PSA.

"In the PSA, produced by the 'Young Montana Media Group' (at least according to the video´s closing slate), unidentified children rattle off what are now run-of-the-mill Internet offerings: international sports scores, chatting with folks halfway around the world, and, well, posting photos of your cat and getting cat cupcake recipes," Washington Post writer Emi Kolawole said.

In the video, the students say that the Internet would function as a telephone, television, shopping center, and workplace by the time they were in college, The Atlantic Staff Writer Megan Garber said. Furthermore, they also discuss the online community's eventual impact on education and long-distance communication.

All things considered, given the popularity of social networking, e-commerce, Web-based telecommuting, online learning programs, and VOIP programs, it isn't hard to see that the kids were spot-on in many of their predictions -- and the video led Adam Sneed of the Slate to check out other, similar videos from the area. Not all of them held up quite as well.

One such video, entitled "Discovering the World Wide Web," was a user's guide to Web surfing that "spends half an hour walking viewers through many things that kindergarteners can do today, like identifying hyperlinks or using a browser´s back and forward buttons," Sneed said.

"Don´t worry about watching the whole thing," he added. "Just a few minutes will give you a good look at how we expected the Internet to change our lives. The main point is how an interconnected world would change how we learn and do research, and those pesky old library books really take a beating."

Another compared the Internet to a cordless phone in an attempt to give the masses a point of comparison for the then fledgling technology, and a third hyped the ability to actually be able to have more than one webpage open at a given time -- something that the Internet user of today undoubtedly takes for granted. If anything, it goes to show you how far the Internet (and computer technology on the whole) has changed over the past 17 years.