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Innovation

2010 tech predictions: a futurist roundup

Sure, you've already read enough tech predictions for 2010 and probably have some of your own. But there's one subset of the tech community that makes a living prognosticating- futurists. So it's worth a post to highlight a few thought-provoking and entertaining ideas from a few experts.
Written by Chris Jablonski, Inactive on

Sure, you've already read enough tech predictions for 2010 and probably have some of your own. But there's one subset of the tech community that makes a living prognosticating- futurists. So it's worth a post to highlight a few thought-provoking and entertaining ideas from a few experts. (Note: I would've posted this a lot earlier but was in Brazil on vacation for the last few weeks).

Jump the Curve

#7: An amateur scientist using cheap supercomputers accessed through “the cloud” will make a major scientific discovery. Her discovery will have initially been dismissed by peer-reviewed journals but hailed by the growing number of “open-science” advocates.

#13: Hype surround algae’s promise as the “bio-fuel of the future” will grow hot after a breakthrough in the field of synthetic biology. Environmental advocates, however, will draw parallels between the advent of the “designer bacteria” (which is used to convert algae into fuel) and the creation of genetically modified organisms. The issue of “Frankenbugs” will gain traction in the media.

#19: A conservative state legislator will introduce legislation prohibiting healthy individuals (i.e. non-injured combat veterans) from using implanted brain-neural technology to control objects outside their body. The bill will die in committee but the author and other supporters vow to make it a campaign issue in 2010.

Read all of Jack Uldrich’s 2010 Technology Forecast & Predictions

Ross Dawson

1. Information Intensity We will soon consume more media than there are waking hours, by virtue of multi-channeling at most times. Billions of people and places will be media producers, including video streaming from most points of view on the world. We are just at the dawn of an incomprehensible daily onslaught of news and information – some valuable, much useless.

5. Culture Jamming Remix culture will surge, with everybody taking and jamming up slices of everything and anything to express themselves, while intellectual property law fails to keep pace. Every culture on the planet will reach everywhere – the only culture we will know is a global mashed-up emergent culture that changes by the minute.

9. Augmented Humans More than ever before, we can transcend our human abilities. Traditional memory aids are supplemented by augmented reality glasses or contact lenses, thought interfaces allow us to control machines, exoskeletons give us superhuman power. Machines will not take over humanity… because they will be us.

Read all of Ross' Top 10 trends for the 2010s: the most exciting decade in human history

World Future Society

1. Your phone will tell you when you’re in love. Mobile devices are enabling new spontaneous connections in real-world settings, including love connections. One day soon, your phone will play matchmaker, recommending that you introduce yourself to someone nearby whose online profile displays tastes or passions similar to yours. Impossible? An iPhone application called Serendipity is currently being commercialized by MIT researchers.

8. Algae may become the new oil. According to researchers at a Department of Energy plant in New Mexico, single-celled microalgae, grown in pond water, produce a biofuel that is lead-free and biodegradable, emits two-thirds less carbon dioxide and other pollutants than gasoline, and can run any modern diesel engine. Even better, algae require only a fraction of the land area of biofuel-producing crops.

10. The existence of extraterrestrial life will be confirmed or conclusively denied within a generation. New space missions and advanced computer technology could confirm the existence of extraterrestrials soon. Scientists using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have found that at least 20%—and perhaps as many as 60%—of Sun-like stars could have rocky planets. Next generation, AI-driven space probes may allow us to plot the location of every planetary body in the known universe. Among the more than 300 extra-solar worlds already discovered, probably one has some form of life, according to Dimitar Sasselov, an astronomer and director of Harvard University’s Origins of Life Initiative.

Read more at The Futurist Magazine's Top 10 Forecasts for 2010 and Beyond

Gerd Leonhard

1. Mobile advertising will surpass the decidedly outmoded Web1.0 & computer-centric advertising - and ads will become content, almost entirely. Advertisers will, within 2-5 years, massively convert to mobile, location-aware, targeted, opt-ed-in, social and user-distributed 'ads'; from 1% of their their budgets to at least 1/3 of their total advertising budget. Advertising becomes 'ContVertising' - and Google's revenues will be 10x of what they are today, in 5 years, driven by mobile, and by video.

2. Tablet devices will become the way many of us will 'read' magazines, books, newspapers and even 'attend' live concerts, conferences and events. The much-speculated Apple iPad will kick this off but every major device maker will copy their new tablet within 18 months. In addition, tablets will kick off the era of mobile augmented reality. This will be a huge boon to the content industries, worldwide - but only if they can drop their mad content protection schemes, and slash the prices in return for a much larger user base.

Read more at Mobile Trends 2020: slideshow & wisdoms by some very smart people (must-read)

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