2 January 2011
As usual for this time of the year, we have seen a fair share of future prediction articles. As always, there are big differences in quality. While there are some very obvious non-future-tellers out there, I have seen some very insightful articles and collections on those. Here are some of my favorites.
By far the best article on the over all topic of prediction was frog design’s The Future Is Not What It Used to Be: Predictions for 2011 to 2050, Already Obsolete. While others try recognize patterns to predict certain developments, Tim Leberecht sets everything into context and gives a valuable perspective on the profession of predicting near and distant future. I already tumbled my favorite passage out of this article, but here it is again:
Coining the term “obsoledge” (yep, another neologism, but more inventive than Schrage’s), the group refers to knowledge’s increasingly extremely limited shelf life and stresses that every chunk of knowledge will eventually become obsolete. Applied to Toffler’s own foresights, this means of course that everything we now purport to know about the future may not be necessarily wrong, but it may not matter anymore when the future arrives.
Especially the last part puts everything perfectly into context. Todays emerging patterns are certainly a good start to formulate a possible future, there is just not sufficient data to make a precision that can make it to the very end.
In this sense, I was very pleased to see some very insightful predictions for the near future or better yet for 2011. You would think, that distant future predictions are actually more fun to read, because they paint a very rearranged world, but fear not, Gibsonian magic is in them.
Just take those 10 things for 2011 by Nordkapp. Sami gives insight into various emerging pattern and makes them very accessible to the public. Sure, most of them are very design driven, but then again: so is Nordkapp.
And than there is JWT’s 100 Things to Watch for 2011 list. At first, I was hesitant to actually read it, but after reading Fred Wilson’s blog post about this very same list, I decided to give it a shot. And oh boy, I didn’t regret it. Be wary tho, if you only expect it to be technology driven predictions. Not all of them are, although most of them are in a way or another influenced by technology. But it is really the variety of different emerging patterns that are being collected in one document which makes this list remarkable and very worth the time.
Happy future reading.