AT&T firmly believed that the answering machine, and its magnetic tapes, would lead the public to abandon the telephone.
More precisely, in Bell's imagination, the very knowledge that it was possible to record a conversation would " greatly restrict the use of the telephone," with catastrophic consequences for its business. Businessmen, for instance, the theory supposed, might fear the potential use of a recorded conversation to undo a written contract. Tape recorders would also inhibit discussing obscene or ethically dubious matters. In sum, the very possibility of magnetic recording, it was feared, would " change the whole nature of telephone conversations" and " render the telephone much less satisfactory and useful in the vast majority of cases in which it is employed."[...]
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