Friday Fun: Can Saturday Night Live Predict Future Technology

Back in 2001 when the iPhone was just a glimmer in Steve Jobs’ eye, Saturday Night Live did three skits based on an ultra hip and pretentious store called Jeffrey’s.  The skit centered around two snooty store employees dressed in black making fun of customers as they wanted to buy clothes.  In the end, the store manager, Will Ferrell would come out in some outlandish outfit on a mobilty scooter.  Soon after Will enters the scene a phone ring would ring and he would fish out an incredibly tiny (postage stamp size) cell phone and talk about some “important” event happening.  They would all rush out of the store with their designer man bags to event.  There were three sketches in all and in the second one the cell phone was smaller than the first, requiring Will to don special magnifying glasses and use a toothpick to type.  However, the last sketch the tiny cell phone is absent.  The phone rings and Will pulls out a giant brick phone (circa 1983) and talks on it.  The ultra hip employees are stunned until Will pronounces, “Big is the new small,” then they dash off again.    

Two of the three videos can be found online, unfortunately I could not, for the life of me, find the final sketch with the brick phone, but I did find its transcript.

As I mentioned these skits were written and produced in 2001, well before the iPhone.  Most of the cell phones looked like this and the ability to take pictures with them was new and a big deal.  It wouldn’t be much of a jump though to say phones would be getting smaller and smaller, but to say that they would be getting bigger well that is just for laughs in comedy sketches right?

That is what I thought until I read the article, When Phones Are Too Big For Pockets, on CNNTech.  The article describes how some new cell phones are now too big to fit in a jeans pocket.  I read the article and this quote just jumped out at me:

As mobile phone technology improved, “there definitely was a trend for smaller and there definitely was a trend for thinner,” said Ramon Llamas, a senior research analyst who covers mobile technology for IDC. “But I think we’re seeing the pendulum swinging back in favor of larger phones.”

Immediately I heard Will Ferrell’s voice in my head stating, “Big is the new small,” and for fun I typed the terms Will Ferrell and cell phone into Google. I had hoped to just watch that specific Jeffrey’s skit for a quick laugh and then get on with my day.  But low and behold I found another article, “How Will Ferrell Predicted the Diorphone.” 

It looks like I am not the only one wondering if the writers at SNL have a crystal ball.

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