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Our Daily Bleg: Did Olsen Really See “No Reason” to Own a P.C.?

Here’s the latest bleg request from Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations. You can find his past blegs here and you can send blegs of your own here.

The past few weeks I have been blegging for information about famous computer quotations to help with future editions of the recently published Yale Book of Quotations.

Another questionable quote is, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.” This is attributed to Kenneth Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation. Mr. Olsen is frequently quoted as having said it in a speech to the Convention of the World Future Society in 1977, but I have been unable to find contemporaneous documentation of the utterance.

The earliest version I have found was printed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, October 30, 1984. Can anyone point me to evidence of earlier usage than that?

Also, some of the apocryphal or true “bad prediction” quotes are prognostications about business or the economy, not having to do with technology.

Irving Fisher saying, “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau,” in October 1929 (posted in a comment here last week) is an example. Can anyone suggest other celebrated business or economic bad predictions?