Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) have evolved at a sporadic rate over the past ten years. Significant technological advances have transformed these systems from a theoretical concept into functional reality. The Proceedings of the first SPIE/PACS conference held in 1982 served as a 'starting point' from which progress in PACS may be measured. The panel discussion at this conference provided a valuable forum for recognized leaders from industry as well as the medical community to present their opinions. Participation from this diverse group ensured that the entire spectrum of PACS related topics was discussed. This paper retrospectively reviews the perceptions and predictions about the future of PACS as expressed at the 1982 SPIE/PACS conference. The major predictions are summarized and compared with the current state-of-the-art in PACS.