Thursday, January 20, 2005

Earth: voted best planet, 3rd year in a row

That's some graffiti I spied the other night.

I really laughed hard when reading it, but as it sank in a little deeper, found that it (a) was both totally unexpected, yet obvious and universally true, and (b) slyly points out how little choice we have over some of the largest influences on our daily lives. The illusion of choice. The inanity of this generation’s obsession with polls, and intra-organizational awards ceremonies.

In that spirit then, here are my predictions for the near future – as near as here now, or perhaps as far off as next month or year. But as I see ‘em, foregone conclusions already. {Though my feelings won’t be hurt if you value these on a par with that which one might find scrawled on a public restroom wall.}

• The key reason underlying the emphasis placed on diversity today is: it’s vanishing. People are aware at some level of its rapid decline (or revelation at certain distinctions that had been false all along) and this generates in us senses of nostalgia, fear and ennui. Diversity, with a capital “D” – I mean things, both animate and inanimate, as well as ideas. Innova-philes are queuing up now to contest this assertion, no doubt. The same applies to Culture and Law, and has consequently fueled extremist terror globally. More is on the way, sad to say.

• So-called “fat apps” are dinosaurs munching on their last ferns. Operating Systems don’t matter anymore, not really. Get ready for waves of meta-browsers, the OS’ successor: they will be specialized to suit various classifications of thin apps, highly customizable to user preferences, platform independent … oh, and secure. Programmers will truck in a profusion of new markup languages, and a much greater fluency with RegEx will be required.

• A major scandal involving compromise of public key data encryption may break soon, but it’s likely already happening (see next bullet). The confluence of many factors (all of commerce’s move online, near-free storage of vast sample sizes, sophisticated data mining tools, commercial availability of quantum computing, dawn of the age of information warfare etc …) leads me to conclude that no sum is too much to pay for being first at having this capability. Because only the most extraordinarily wealthy interests might have it, there will be great effort expended in keeping the exposure of such a secret secret. Ah well, everything man-made will be un-man-made one day.

• The redefinition of news. First of all, most of what passes as news today isn’t factual, it’s interpretive. That misapprehension is being blown to bits by the blogosphere. The distinction is in the clear now, the choices many and concentration gone way down market. Control, in the hands of the man in the street. Second, what’s sought today is less of “what’s new” (fact), and more of “what’s next” and “what really happened back then” (analysis from experts, not General Mills.)

• Attempts to solve The Trust Problem by means of technology alone will never work. TRUST: the 21st Century’s thorniest rose. Any viable shot at a solution must allow for renegotiation per each transaction, must be bi-directional, must involve behavioral recursion, sometimes requires both disinterested adjudication and privacy (mutually exclusive?) …

• Entertainment is becoming much more about the audience, much less about the stage. Gaming meccas. Mashups. What might become of the many movie houses and lesser arena? Man is still fundamentally a social animal, so don’t expect all that brick & mortar to be replaced by home theater. Instead, I anticipate seeing them available for rent (with high subject matter turnover) to various freelance societies and affinity groups. Think, “I want to open my own club, but just for that one week in May” kind of thing … Vast wealth might come to virtual unknowns more often, with lottery-like affect, while multi-hundred-million dollar contracts to athletes and actors increasingly come to be seen as nuts!!

• Perfect digital copies and instantaneous distribution are already causing major psychic disruptions everywhere. Most of the hubbub today seems to fall under the rubric of Intellectual Property. But there are some coming developments which may have more profound effects: a renaissance in private banking, the end of “cash”, reputation currencies, corporate HQs replacing government embassies as real agents of change, the value of things transitory (say, performance, experience) superseding that which can be amassed by wealthy collectors and culture mavens. What’s more valuable than your time?

Black markets will continue to boom, crack downs upon them are all doomed to failure. Capital (count people foremost in that category) goes where it can be most free. Paradoxically, this leads to more wealth, not less. Even Third World economies are savvy to this now. DHS is paralyzed by its implications, so far.


Blogger Guy said...

We're in for a wild ride when this domino falls:

12:26 PM  

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