Everyone is a fortune teller

Posted: 01.07.13

Want a prediction? Just touch the web.

The future is clear as day to me so I've decided that in 2013, I will just stay home. I know that mobile is going to be big, Samsung will rule, the losers will continue to lose, and startups, often funded by Kickstarter, will surprise us. I also know AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and others will introduce new products in 2013 using the latest technologies and offer amazing and incredible performance. And miraculously they all will use less power and give higher benchmark scores than any of their competitors—something like Schrodinger's cat, I think. Also AMD, HP, and Yahoo may make it all the way through 2013 without replacing their CEOs, unlike Intel or Freescale. I know the PC will be declared dead, again, although it will continue to refuse to actually lay down and die. TV will also be pronounced DOA as companies find new ways to deliver content to it—more Schrodinger's cat stuff. Best of all, I know there will not be any elections in the U.S., Congress will not do anything so we don't have to worry about any sudden changes, and global warming, although it's just a theory like evolution, will somehow still impact our lives. And because all good things must come to an end, the Bay Bridge connecting Oakland to San Francisco, which was damaged in 1989, will finally be finished—a record-setting 24-year project putting even Boston's Big Dig to shame.

We will become touchy, wipey, wavy, talky communicators with glasses and screens that show us stuff that isn't there, and we'll believe it and rely on it. We'll never be lost again, seldom late, and always know where a Starbucks or a gas station is, and possibly a good parking spot.

We will continue to drive our own cars but we'll know who and what's behind us, and beside us, and the car will know if we're paying attention—and we'll continue to get speeding and parking tickets.

If our toys get lost or stolen they'll turn themselves off and try to tell us where they are. Since they will use less power, they will tell us their location for a long time, and may even take a picture of who it is fondling them in our absence.

Slowly we'll stop using our credit cards and merely walk into and out of a store with stuff, not stopping to chat with some high school dropout who insists on giving us long strips of paper. Turnstiles at train stations will open automatically for us and simultaneously take money from our checking accounts. Taxi drivers will thankfully no longer talk to us, or become solicitous when we get to our destination since his tip will be paid before we've completely gotten out of the car.

We'll watch TV, play games, take pictures, and quote facts and our current events everywhere, all the time. Although we'll stop speaking to or looking at each other, we'll communicate with more people, some of whom we will actually know.

Our things will be so busy talking to each other they may not have time for our trivial requests. But when they do pay attention to us, they will give us exactly what we want, usually without us asking for it. This may get a bit annoying, and some of us will rebel and insist on doing it ourselves, only to be greeted with a pimply face kid handing us a long strip of paper and asking us if we want fries with it—back to the future.

SETI still will not find intelligent life, or any kind of life in the universe, leaving us to speculate whether it really is all that great to be intelligent, and/or is our definition of intelligent, ah, very intelligent?

We'll continue to live longer, get taller, and heavier, and find shocking new ways to kill each other in large quantities.

Over 10 quadrillion pictures will be taken and posted online, along with 10 billion three-minute videos, all of them masterpieces that we will send to each other endlessly.

I know all this not because I am psychic, clever, or even ambitious. I know all this because I can't hide from it—all these predictions are in my face all day and night. I really know more about the future than I want to; it's scaring me. And that's why I'm staying home because so far I haven't seen any predictions about floods on our little mountain or locust swarms, or Ginzu knife salesmen coming to Tiburon—I think we're safe from the future here.