[PW] Kenneth Olsen Computer Quote (Quotation Query #745)

John Sleasman johnsleasman at gmail.com
Sun May 8 11:13:52 PDT 2016


While not fully referenced, the Snopes article on this cites DEC sources 
and quotations/paraphrases of Olson's related comments to the effect 
that there was a context of not needing "computers" in the sense of old 
style mainframes:

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/kenolsen.asp

"[That interpretation of my comment] is, of course, ridiculous because 
the business we were in was making PCs, and almost from the start I had 
them at home and my wife played Scrabble with time-sharing machines, and 
my sixth-grade son was networking the MIT computers and the DEC 
computers together, hopefully without doing mischief, using the 
computers I had at home. Home computers were a natural continuum of the 
"personal computers" that people had at work, in the laboratory, in the 
military."

On 05/08/2016 11:53 AM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
> Kenneth H. Olsen of the DEC Corporation is often credited with saying something like "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home" in a speech to the World Future Society in Boston in 1977.  Often it is said that Olsen was quoted to this effect in Time Magazine in 1977.
>
> I can find no contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous documentation for Olsen having said this in 1977, nor have I found it quoted anywhere near 1977 in Time Magazine.  I would welcome any pre-1984 documentation for the quote, or any solid leads to verification of the quote.
>
> Fred Shapiro
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