Wednesday, January 6, 2010

10 Predictions for the '10s

I’m stretching my predictive wings and giving you all a glimpse into the next ten years. Frankly if even one of these things come true I’ll be boasting about it for the following ten years. That’s not one of the predictions. That’s a promise.

Time’s wasting, let’s get on with it.

Prediction #1: Facebook will be rocked to its core by a scandal. I don’t mean something like the ‘Craigslist Killer’, either. My initial thought was something like a pedophile/serial killer scenario, but it will probably be more along the lines of Facebook mining everyone’s personal information for nefarious purposes. Maybe selling email addresses to spammers (which I guarantee is happening right now) or putting some file on your computer that tracks who you friend and other sites you visit. While most of you think ‘Yeah, so what?’ this will be on such a large scale it will jeopardize Facebook’s very existence.

Oh a related note, by 2020 we will be laughing at ourselves that Twitter even existed and became so popular.

Prediction #2: A star player in one of the major sports (Baseball, Football, Basketball) will have been attempting to either fix games or shave points. You can’t tell me that one of these guys doesn’t have a gambling problem. It may even be someone playing right now who confesses to it after he retires, but it will be a big name, we will all be shocked, and it will make the baseball steroid scandal seem quaint.

Prediction #3: Computers as we know them will be gone. Desktops will certainly be gone (or extremely rare) and laptops will be on the verge of extinction, as well. What I picture is these smartphones becoming our new computers. Everyone will have one and a docking station for it in their homes and offices. We simply plug it into the station so we can work on a full sized keyboard. That’s if we even need keyboards any longer. Voice recognition could be perfected and easier to use than old fashioned typing. Email, internet, GPS are already built into them and the memory and storage will only get larger.

And while we’re here…

Prediction #4: Computers will no longer be hard wired to the internet. Eventually wireless will catch up to fiber optic speeds and render cabling irrelevant. Everything will be hooking into wireless signals that will be available everywhere, to everyone, for free. Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and several other cities already offer free Wi-Fi in certain areas. This will expand along with private company’s wireless networks to provide virtually limitless wireless signals across the country.

If we combine 3 and 4 we should have something similar to this: Our smartphones will be hooking into these wireless signals no matter where we are to provide us constant data connections. My Blackberry already has Wi-Fi built into it so I can access signals from anywhere. I have it hook into my home wireless so I don’t use my minutes and the web browser loads quicker. Soon, our phones will be our computers both personally and professionally. Then we just plug those phones in at our desks and work off them that way.

Sadly, work will be with us everywhere.

Prediction #5: Despite the two above predictions, the number of people working from home will not increase. As it stands now most people can access their work files remotely, have online meetings to review proposals, check email, and participate in conference calls all from the comfort of their own homes. So why don’t they? Because the work place is becoming more of a social setting. It certainly helps that people work more efficiently if they’re away from their personal space (I know I do), but there is a camaraderie with the people you work with that can’t be replicated over a phone line. Most people come to work now simply to get out of their houses. Most will only come to the office 3 or 4 days a week, but they’ll still come.

And they’ll come because…

Prediction #6: The work place as we know it will be completely different. Let’s sum things up: desktops are mostly gone, everyone has either a laptop or smartphone version of a laptop, everything uses the wireless signal. This means the need for a static work space (your own cubicle) is gone. Instead corporations will setup ‘floating desks’. What I mean by this is desks or work spaces that anyone can use. You bring in your smartphone, find an available desk, sit down, plug in and off you go. That is your space for the day. Sure, there will still be the status symbol corner offices, but those will remain dark for the most part (just like now). Most areas will be flexible and – indirectly – impersonal and cold. At least now I can hang pictures on my wall and fill it will toys (no really, I have toys on my bookcase). With these floating spaces, you won’t be able to do that.

But you will be able to select where you sit. Which means you get near the people you enjoy working with, throw spitballs and ideas at one another and, in a round about way, become more productive. Would you want to stay at home if you actually enjoyed the people you work with?

I should probably note that just because I enjoy some of the people I work with doesn’t mean they enjoy me. This will probably lead to my sitting down at one area and everyone getting up and moving to another area after 20 minutes. Maybe the workplace won’t be so different after all.

Prediction #7: Obesity numbers in the United States will double. DOUBLE! Why? Because we’re a bunch of lazy shit sacks who can’t motivate themselves if they’re lives depended on it. And it does. I was watching ‘The Biggest Loser’ last night and every single one of the (frighteningly) large contestants cried at least once and stated ‘I can’t go on like this!’

Only they didn’t take matters into their own hands. They sat on their fat asses, shoving butterscotch burritos into their gaping maws hoping to be selected for a reality game show they probably watch while shoving butterscotch burritos into their gaping maws instead of taking a walk around the block. Look, I get it. You’re fat and you’re sick of being fat. Well guess what? You can actually do something about it. Get off your ass, start moving around for a little bit every day, start eating less while you’re moving around and you’ll be surprised how much weight you will lose.

Instead, they put their names into a reality television show and cross their fingers they’ll be selected out of a million other people. Put down the remote and malted milk shake and go for a walk. It will hurt at first, but the more you do it the better you’ll feel. Nike had it right: Just do it!

Prediction #8: We will discover a new planet that – theoretically, at least – will support human life. Not a clone of earth, mind you, but something so startling similar in makeup many will wonder if life in another galaxy isn’t just a possibility but likely. In fact, it will spark debate on whether a manned ship should be sent which in turn will kick off a search for new modes of interstellar transportation to get a crew to the new planet before they die of old age.

Was that one too specific?

Prediction #9: A failed or potential terrorist attack will force everyone to get rid of yet another standard traveling item. I’m thinking explosives molded into a bar of soap or a hollowed out toothbrush or a small detonator made out of an electric razor. Al Qaeda will then confess that they have been outsourced by the executives of CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite-Aid in a convoluted, violent attempt to raise revenues.

Prediction #10: Something will happen somewhere that will change the way we live our lives. Whether good or bad. That could mean the end of this endlessly entertaining and thought provoking space or alien life being found in a spot of mold or Jesus actually coming back from the dead to say ‘Uh…what the fuck happened here?’ before being mugged and stripped of all his clothing.

Just covering my bases.

Now if you'll excuse me I have an inexplicable craving for a butterscotch burrito. Wonder if I can get it with whipped cream?

Today’s distraction: 20 predictions of the future we’re still waiting for. I disagree with ‘The Answer Machine’ conclusion. The internet IS the answer machine. Not sure what the author means by ‘technology has outpaced this primitive technological prediction’.


A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

I'm still waiting for hover-boards to come out.

Clayton Bigsby said...

You're right about the wireless thing. EVERYTHING will be wireless sooner rather than later. My only prediction for the next decade is a third political party will have a significant win in some election. I'm thinking the Democan or Republocat party. A party that is fiscally conservative yet doesn't get their morals from a 2,000 year old book. A party smart people ages 20-50 can get behind.

BeachBum said...

Let's start it ourselves, Bigs. We can call it the Blogocratic party.

Can you imagine the head injuries resulting from hover boards? Or the youtube clips of those head injuries? Can't wait!

thepowerof10 said...

Facebook is already fighting off spammers and malware on a daily basis, so I tend to agree that it's probably only a matter of time before something big goes down. Is that pending doom enough to make me delete my account? Naahhhh.

And yes, everything will be wireless. Even as of 2009 there were TVs that could connect wirelessly to DVD players, cable receivers, surround sound systems, etc. It's going to be sooo nice to get rid of all these fucking cables and wires everywhere.