AT&T “You Will”: 1993-1994
The “You Will” commercials were directed by David Fincher (who would go on to direct Seven, Fight Club, The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and narrated by Tom Selleck. They were an amazing look at what the future could bring us — with then-impossible technology.
Each commercial featured a futuristic scenario and posed the question, “Have you ever…” and ended with “You will.”
The futuristic scenario: “Have you ever borrowed a book from thousands of miles away?”
How it got it right: In 1993, the internet was in still in its infancy, so the concept of reading a library book from anywhere in the world was, well…very futuristic. Today you can legally borrow books from libraries around the world or use services like Google Books, Kindle, and Nook.
The futuristic scenario: “Have you ever crossed the country without stopping for directions?”
How it got it right: GPS was being used by the military, but it wasn’t available to the public until 2000.
3. Electronic Toll Collection
The futuristic scenario: “Have you ever paid a toll without slowing down?”
How it got it right: Electronic toll collection started in the mid-’80s in Europe, but it wasn’t until 1997, when New York City installed the E-ZPass system, that it would become common in the U.S.
4. Email, tablets, and Wi-Fi
The futuristic scenario: “Have you sent someone a fax from the beach?
How it got it right: Well, this one was slightly off due to the technology that was available at the time (email didn’t exist in the form we know it today), but it got the concept right. Sending a message over a touchscreen tablet — one that’s connected through Wi-Fi.
5. Ticket Kiosks
The futuristic scenario: “Have you bought concert tickets from a cash machine?”
How it got it right: Again, it got the concept right. We now have ticket kiosks at movie theaters and concert venues.
The futuristic scenario: “Have you ever tucked your baby in from a phone booth?”
How it got it right: Videophones have long been seen as futuristic or sci-fi, and we have them now with programs like FaceTime.
However, it did get it wrong with the phone booth.
7. Video Conferencing
The futuristic scenario: “Have you ever attended a meeting in your bare feet?”
How it got it right: Video conferencing is so common now that it is hard to believe it was seen as futuristic.
8. On-Demand Video and Video Streaming
The futuristic scenario: “Have you ever watched the movie you wanted to, the minute you wanted to?”
How it got it right: Whether you do it legally through digital cable or services like Netflix, or download movies illegally online, you can watch any movie you want, whenever you want.
9. Distance Education
The futuristic scenario: “Have you ever learned special things from faraway places?”
How it got it right: Today even respected universities such as Stanford University and Harvard deliver online courses or make their lectures available online.
10. Intelligent Personal Assistant
The futuristic scenario: “Have you ever had an assistant who lived in your computer?”
How it got it right: We are still in the beginning stages of intelligent software that can perform tasks. Siri, S Voice, and Google Now are all examples of this type of program.
11. Home Automation Systems
The futuristic scenario: “Have you ever kept an eye on your home when you’re not at home?”
How it got it right: Systems like ADT Pulse can arm and disarm your alarm system as well as control the lights and thermostats, and all from your smartphone.
AT&T “You Will” complete commercial collection:
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