Nikola Tesla was a famous 20th century Serbian-American scientist who is most famous for designing the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.
The world-famed engineer could speak in eight languages, had an eidetic memory and held 300 patents by the time he died. His name was borrowed for the red-hot car and energy storage company created by entrepreneur Elon Musk and he has been cited as an inspiration by Google co-founder Larry Page.
It seems Tesla predicted the creation of the smartphone in a 1926 interview with John B. Kennedy.
"When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket."
The prescient quote from nearly a century ago was recently flagged in the bigthink blog. Tesla also made other futuristic remarks during the interview, and predicted that men would end up inferior to women.
"This struggle of the human female toward sex equality will end in a new sex order, with the female as superior. It is not in the shallow physical imitation of men that women will assert first their equality and later their superiority, but in the awakening of the intellect of women."
Tesla is known for his futurist comments in the last century. That kind of far-seeing vision is especially in demand today. According to Forbes, a career of the future might be forecasting and analyzing the future.
Intel hired Brian David Johnson to combine sci-fi literature, ethnography and consumer research to predict company trends. Futurist and innovation expert Jim Carroll has advised clients like Motorola, Walt Disney Corporation and McKinsey according to his site.
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