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Tom Selleck Was Once The Voice Of An AT&T Ad Campaign That Eerily Predicted The Future

The early '90s were a time when optimism about our technological futures was a part of the cultural zeitgeist. With the internet still in its infancy, and technologies like video phones and instantaneous mobile communication in the early stages of what we take for granted today, the future seemed full of potential. Still, it's rare to see the future as we now know it in the present as accurately predicted as it was in an AT&T ad campaign from 1993. The campaign managed to get most of its technological predictions on the money, with certain allowances, of course.

The ads all follow the same formula. The warm and comforting voice of future "Blue Bloods" star Tom Selleck asks a question such as, "Have you ever watched the movie you wanted to, the minute you wanted to?" Meanwhile, images of people of the future doing just that flow across the screen. Selleck then asks, "Learned special things, from faraway places?" Immediately, we see a student communicating with his teacher via video screen and live voice hookup. "You will," says Selleck at the end of each ad. And watching them today, it's kind of amazing how many of the scenarios that seemed almost like science-fiction in the early '90s are now commonplace parts of our everyday lives.

The commercials were directed by David Fincher

You can watch a compilation of the AT&T "You Will" ads in the YouTube video above, uploaded by user Adora Basil Winterpock. If you find yourself impressed by the visual immersion of the commercials, and how convincingly they portray a future that was still to come, you can thank none other than David Fincher (via Forbes). Fincher, who went on to become one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in Hollywood, started his career in the TV commercial and music video trenches. Among his credits are the AT&T "You Will" commercials.

The ads might not be the most well-known among the general public three decades later, but they are fondly remembered by many. The commercials are so beloved, in fact, that the campaign received a 25-year retrospective that included Fincher himself (via Vimeo). "Ultimately it was just about making sure you could kind of present stuff as simply as possible," Fincher said. "It's always an interesting thing ... to build stuff you can imagine."

It's easy to feel overwhelmed and disheartened by the state of the world today, but there is some comfort in the fact that so many predictions of an almost utopian nature made 30 years ago have come true.