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    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2009
    In 5 years...

    The public/private dichotomy inverts some products -- rather than a "public phone booth" cities will see the development of a "private phone booth" that blanks noise and light. These will be bank card operated and will require constant sanitation due to people's creative use of space. This creativity will be augmented if the "private phone booth" also has webcam and internet connectivity.

    Work places will finally understand that remote workstations make sense, and permit companies to share building space through rotating schedules. The standard work schedule will start to evolve and be more difficult to track through consumer placement (such as "prime time television" or "commuter radio") as people begin 4 day work weeks or shared workstations that include evening and night hours, as the positions require.

    The chain bookstores will collapse under their own weight as Kindle (or other e-book) becomes the primary means of book distribution. Only small shops with ancillary social activities (e.g. coffee or a wine bar) will survive in the US.

    Gay marriage will be legal in half of the United States. This will make attorneys ecstatic as the gay divorce rate makes heterosexuals look tame. Gay divorce will lead to a sub-theme in true crime and court television, as the break ups become the Wild West of custody and property splits.

    Online universities will actually start to gain some credibility, as the interface tools become better at spotting plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) and instructors become more adept at using the tools. Major universities will permit a significant portion of their beginning coursework to occur online. Amazon will either start an online university, or partner with an existing one to develop near-automated course platforms.

    Pandemic flu will emerge and cause significant deaths throughout the cities, leading to the World Health Organization to be granted near military powers by the UN in epidemic control across borders. This will be considered integral as more of the world's populations continue to move into urban centers for economic, cultural, and social reasons.

    Hip hop will discover percussive beats in other cultures (such as taiko or stick dancing) and quickly co-opt them into fused musical forms. This will lead into some kind of hip hop renaissance.

    And the porn industry will look completely different, as companies attempt to control (unsuccessfully) the social networking and shared media technology. People will be able to perform or view to their particular taste on their phones or other mobile devices, leading to more simple and accessible affiliation tools for any fetish.

    And politics will be more of the same.
  1.  (2320.142)
    Question for folks - I see a *lot* of fast progressions in people's expectations for the next five years, primarily to do with climate, resources, and governments. For those that have put forward these quick declines and devolutions, do you believe we're at or close to some specific tipping point? Some critical mass where everything's just about to go to hell? I'd agree that longitudinally we may be, but on a five year timeframe?
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2009
    And of course...
    (haven't had time to read all the thread, sorry if you mentioned that shape of things to come already.
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2009
    @atavistian -- my stuff is not too out there. i just basically looked at what was happening already and extrapolated a bit. the most far-fetched development in my list is the "private telephone booth."

    everything else follows a pattern

    pandemic flu, for instance, emerges every 100 years and it's due sometime before 2015.

    porn is already attempting to navigate internet developments (like Xtube) that have undercut their profits

    the e-book thing seems logical -- and the major chain bookstores have such massive overhead that anything cutting into their profits may tip them over
  2.  (2320.145)
    @ AndySpield - I agree yours isn't too far out there, with the possible exception of the e-book/kindle issue. Considering their models seem to be going up in price, not down, I'm kind of dubious. As regards the "fast progressions" I'm thinking more the people indicating massive issues with resources (and conflicts over same) as well as climate change, and how these'll affect governments. I didn't mean to suggest you were being out there, despite my post following yours!
    • CommentAuthorE0157H7
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2009
    @atavistian - I try to keep my predictions under "alarmist" level, but it can be difficult. The entire reason that things like resource problems and climate change become large problems to begin with is that they've been ignored for some time, such as global warming. When everybody does take note of them, they have generally graduated to "oh shit" status. It creates the feeling of a tipping point or fast-progression type of situation.
    • CommentAuthorTom Akel
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2009
    i haven't read all thats come before so apologies if i'm repeating anyone

    first, i'll be married, so beer and scotch will taste better in 5 years. this is certain

    obviously, cell phones, pdas, mp3s, cameras, your home pc, cable tv, the interweb, and all that nonsense will be pretty close to device ubiquity. not fully there, but very, very close. and there will of course remain competition amongst microsoft, apple, sony, verizon and probably others, most likely google, yahoo, and recently divorced aol. i don't expect much of a change in the player landscape. we'll come closer on gentrifying the cpms on ad units across media and the neilsens will be revised (this will actually be a pretty big deal as it will change the way content is considered for funding)

    your identity will be authenticated across all social media if you choose it to be, and you probably will, it will make tracking all the bullshit we all deal with much easier and in many places you'll be incentivized to do so.

    dvds will be obsolete

    there will be (though there may already be) a human clone out there. i hope its of me, as i need all the help i can get

    everything will be green

    obama will be in his 2nd term, republicans will still be fighting amongst themselves over the separation of religion and politics

    an entire generation graduating college will have grown up with their lives publicly documented on social networks from the time they were in grade school.

    the final issue of planetary will come out (sorry warren, that just struck me as funny)
  3.  (2320.148)
    The first human clone will be born. There will be a firestorm of controversy over whether or not to baptise it.

    The Big One will finally hit Tokyo.

    Pope Benedict von Creepypants IV will die, leading to the election of the first African pontiff. The Catholic church will shore up its losses.

    China will continue to rise, India and Brazil will continue to underachieve.

    Technology will continue to get smaller and cheaper.
    • CommentAuthorMWHS
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2009
    People will bumble along much the same;- sleeping, fucking, eating and wanting to do less to do those.

    In terms of our Western, technocratic lives, personal computers will become more and more just peripherals to be plugged into the internet. There may be decent reasons for this, but to a large extent it's because having content streamed to users gives the providers more control - from the iPlayer to Spotify to Facebook, more and more of the actual information isn't stored on people's computers.

    In terms of global events - the recession will cause governments to forget about climate change for a while. No-one will care about China's economic expansion into Africa. The recession won't be the econopocalypse, but it will cause some poorly run businesses to go bust. It'll also help keep the prices of resources like oil, metals needed for electrical devices and cotton down for another few years, allowing us to safely ignore Africa, South America and Central Asia for another few years.

    So yeah, some stuff will happen, but life in 5 years time will resemble to the present more closely than life fifteen years ago does.
  4.  (2320.150)
    'Max Headroom' didn't go far enough.

    There will be ads every-fucking-where.

    There will be additional embedded watermarks in audio content that will be passively picked up by microphones in smartphones, netbooks, and other devices to provide more ads, links to offers, e-coupons, and other crap.

    Media providers will have audio watermarks in their television shows, movies,etc. that will provide links to additional content, DVDs and video game offers on

    Everyone will sell every second of audio, every inch of space, every available frequency, every unused byte to have ads or links to ads embedded in them to offset the recession/depression and its effects on the economy.