Modern Scientist Predictions John Pierce

About the predictions both right and wrong of modern scientist John Pierce including ones about computer technology and communication.

Predictor: JOHN PIERCE

An electrical engineer who pioneered in the development of communications satellite technology, John Pierce is a professor of engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Previously, for a long period of time, he was with the Research and Communication Sciences Division of Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. His books--there are 11 of them--include Quantum Electronics and Symbols, Signals, and Noise.

Past Predictions: Right--Pierce predicted, based on what he knew from his work with Bell Telephone, that Picturephone? service would be commercially available by the early 1970s.

* He predicted that we would be able to question computers, at least in a simple way, and get back answers by computer voice.

* He foresaw that computers would be able to make drawings and diagrams from instructions given by another computer at a distance.

* He foresaw that computers would be able, in a limited way, to translate from one human language into another, the basic application to be scientific. A major problem still exists with this, in that translations are often extremely literal; the phrase hydraulic ram has been translated by a computer into the Russian words for "water sheep"!

Future Predictions: No Dates Given

* Mass communication will be more important than ever to underdeveloped countries. Already the transistor radio has made great inroads; Pierce says, "Even the Bedouin on his camel can hear that he is part of a nation and learn of its problems and aspirations." Television broadcasts from capitals to public schools and buildings will broaden the vision of the people and homogenize the world, for good or ill.

* Cable television will bring newspapers directly to homes by wire.

* Laser communications systems will exist.

* Microelectronics will make possible pocket telephones.

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