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8 huge predictions Bill Gates made in 1999 that all came true

8 huge predictions Bill Gates made in 1999 that all came true

Gates is a bit of a savant, as his predictions demonstrate.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has spent a few decades now sitting right at the highest table where technology is concerned, and while he might have stopped running Microsoft a good while back, for years and years he was the biggest name in tech.

So, you'd better believe that people paid attention when he made predictions, and in 1999 he delivered a whole bunch of them, many of which have proved impressively accurate.

The predictions are from his 1999 book Business @ the Speed of Thought, and here is a selection for you to consider:


He got one enormous idea correct - predicting the rise of the smartphone, even if his description isn't exactly what we now use. "People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices."

Social media

Gates' prediction relating to social media isn't exactly perfect, but it sounds like a charming 1999 version of what we have now: "Residents of cities and countries will be able to have internet-based discussions concerning issues that affect them, such as local politics, city planning, or safety."

David Lefranc / Contributor / Getty
David Lefranc / Contributor / Getty

Price comparison sites

His book said: "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."

That's hard to argue with, and these sorts of sites have existed for years, making it spot-on.

Online banking

It might seem prosaic now, but being able to handle your finances without going to a bank sounded incredible in 1999, with Gates saying: "People will pay their bills, take care of their finances, and communicate with their doctors over the internet."


He saw the potential for personalized ads using data, depressingly: "Software that knows when you've booked a trip and uses that information to suggest activities at the local destination. It suggests activities, discounts, offers, and cheaper prices for all the things that you want to take part in."

Sean Gallup / Staff / Getty
Sean Gallup / Staff / Getty

Live broadcasting

Similarly, he predicted that we'd get links to websites during broadcasts, as we do with some QR codes: "Television broadcast will include links to relevant websites and content that complement what you are watching."

Virtual Assistants

He might not have talked about conversational voice control for them, but Gates predicted that we'd have assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa to help us organize our lives: "They will connect and sync all your devices in a smart way, whether they are at home or in the office, and allow them to exchange data."


Gates predicted a service that sounds awfully like LinkedIn, letting people find jobs online: "Similarly, people looking for work will be able to find employment opportunities online by declaring their interest, needs, and specialised skills".

The website was founded a few years later, in 2002.

Featured Image Credit: Jonathan Elderfield / Contributor / Sean Gallup / Staff / Getty