Predicting internet advertisement blocking in 1972

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Again revisiting the concept of there’s nothing new under the sun, as here regarding music and here regarding privacy, a 1972 paper along similar lines by Alan Kay from Xerox’s famous Palo Alto Research Center has recently come to light. Kay’s paper predicts users from the future will wish to block online advertising on their interconnected devices.

Online advertisement blocking is a hot topic because forthcoming versions of mobile operating systems will allow users to block these advertisements for the first time. This forthcoming feature has formed the basis of a wider discussion and is a divisive topic because of advertisement blocking’s potential impact to content generation business’s (such as online news sources) current revenue models.

In 1972, Kay writes:

A combination of this ‘carry anywhere’ device and a global information utility such as the ARPA network or two-way cable TV, will bring the libraries and schools (not to mention stores and billboards) of the world to the home.
One can imagine one of the first programs an owner will write is a filter to eliminate advertising!

However as people pointed in out reply in Daniel Feichtinger’s original tweet, perhaps Kay didn’t foresee the average device owner not being able to write his or her own online advertisement blocking software!

Reference: A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages – Alan Kay


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