In 1999, Bill Gates wrote a book titled “Business @ the Speed of Thought.”
In the book, Gates makes 15 bold predictions that at the time might have sounded outrageous.
But as business student Markus Kirjonen pointed out on his blog, Gates’ forecasts turned out to be “eerily prescient.”
Here are the 15 predictions he made nearly 20 years ago — and how close they’ve come to being true:
Eugene Kim contributed to an earlier version of this slideshow.
No. 1: Price comparison sites
Gates’ prediction: “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.”
What we see now: You can easily search for a product on Google or Amazon and get different prices of the same product. Sites like NexTag and PriceGrabber are built specifically for price comparisons.
No. 2: Mobile devices
Gates’ prediction: “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.”
What we see now: Smartphones, and now smartwatches, do all of this.
No. 3: Instant payments and financing online, better healthcare through the web
Gates’ prediction: “People will pay their bills, take care of their finances, and communicate with their doctors over the internet.”
What we see now: Tech hasn’t been able to change healthcare like Uber changed transportation, but there are sites like ZocDoc that makes finding a doctor and scheduling easier. There’s also startups like One Medical and Forward, which are trying to change what the doctor’s office is like by offering monthly memberships for online and data-driven healthcare. You can also now borrow money online through sites like Lending Club and easily make payments through sites like PayPal and Venmo.