Predictions 2.0

Predictions 2.0

Things to make you Cringe in '08.

It's fun, it's easy, and virtually everybody else does it, so why not Le Cringe? I whipped out the Oujia Board, spit into some tea leaves, examined a few goat entrails, and came up with some of the big trends in tech that will come to pass over the next 12 months. Some may surprise you; others are, well, utterly predictable. Microsoft buys Yahoo and AOL. Yes, two ancient rumors for just one low low price. Redmond will grow its advertising market share on the Net the old fashioned way -- by buying it from someone else. It will still get its a** kicked by Google, but at least it will have an a** worth kicking.

Apple goes bananas. The first phones based on Google Android will appear, though they will be easily outsold by Apple's yet-to-be-officially-announced 3G iPhone. Steve Jobs will then sue this blog for revealing that piece of information, claiming it is a trade secret that could only have come from sources inside Apple. Shortly thereafter Jobs will shock the world by announcing that he is retiring as CEO of Apple Inc. He will name the Fake Steve Jobs as his replacement, who will then sue this blog for revealing that piece of information.

Facebook grows up. Facebook's membership will pass the 100 million mark, then level off. As a sign of the social network's growing maturity, its 23-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg will begin shaving every other day instead of twice a week.

Everything turns green. Every bit of new tech introduced in 2008 will have some kind of environmental angle to it, whether real or imaginary. But in the unlikely event the Republicans manage to hold onto the White House (see The vote gets hacked, below) expect most companies to eventually revert to their usual shade of brown.

DRM goes down. The last of the four major record companies will finally give up the DRM ghost in 2008, allowing unrestricted MP3s to be sold across the Web. But like a killing machine that's stuck in the "on" position after its evil masters have been defeated, the RIAA will continue to file suit against cripples, corpses, orphans, and the mentally incompetent. This year its attorneys will introduce a new legal tactic: suing the unborn children of file-swapping moms.

The vote gets hacked. Electronic voting machines used in the 2008 presidental election will be hacked. But we'll only find out after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is declared the winner in a landslide. The wrestler-turned-actor will vow to serve faithfully and muscularly, and a bitterly divided nation will embrace him (because, at this point, anyone else would be an improvement).

We'll know more about less. Microblogs like Twitter and Pownce will become passe in 2008, being surpassed by Nanoblogs where users post moment-by-moment fluctuations in their heart rates, cholesterol counts, and IQs. The technorati will declare they can't remember how they managed to survive before the invention of 'nanobs'.

Vowels become an endangered species. Remember dot bomb startups that used a small 'e' or 'i' prefix to signal that they were totally down with the Net? Now, some 10 years later, we're facing the tragic results: a desperate shortage of vowels. Hence, the surge in sites with names like Flickr, Tumblr, Groovr, Cluztr, Particls, Crush3r, and so on. By the end of 2008, only those schooled in Eastern European languages will be able to navigate the Web. Ds vdnya, kmrds!

InfoWorld (US)

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