Does it(line12) mean 'people using the phonograph to communicate with friends and using the telephone to listen to music'?

For some reason, sound technology seems to induce a strange sort of deafness among its most advanced pioneers. Some new tool comes along to share or transmit sound in a new way, and again and again its inventor has a hard time imagining how the tool will eventually be used. When Thomas Edison completed Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville’s original project and invented the phonograph in 1877, he imagined it would regularly be used as a means of sending audio letters through the postal system. Individuals would record their missives on the phonograph’s wax scrolls, and then pop them into the mail, to be played back days later. Bell, in inventing the telephone, made what was effectively a mirror-image miscalculation: He envisioned one of the primary uses for the telephone to be as a medium for sharing live music. An orchestra or singer would sit on one end of the line, and listeners would sit back and enjoy the sound through the telephone speaker on the other. So, the two legendary inventors had it exactly reversed: people ended up using the phonograph to listen to music and using the telephone to communicate with friends.

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World By Steven Johnson

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    It = what they expected the situation would be. Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 9:37

1 Answer 1


It does, yes.

We might argue that a little licence is taken in pooling their incorrect predictions and supposing that they both believed both, which was most likely not the case.

It really means that hypothetically combined/together they had it reversed.

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