This is the time of year when soothsayers, financial forecasters, conspiracy theorists, and brilliant industry analysts polish their crystal balls and let the rest of you uninformed and ill-advised know what to expect for and during the next 12 months.
None of these predictions will be realized. I could stop here but just want to make the point that predicting the future is about as sensible as trying to undo the past. We continue to attempt both all the time; we’re a bit more successful with the future.
1. We will see the first completely wireless notebook computers: power, second display, peripherals, and all types of communications.
2. Forecasters, pundits, and a few Wall Street slickers will finally stop saying the PC is dead because no one cares or believes it.
3. People will start wearing face masks because there will be so many smart cameras in our lives that they’ll feel the need to protect their identity.
4. 4K TV will be passé, and we will be talking about 5K.
5. Three governments and 12 major companies will have all their records stolen by hackers—and be surprised. Cybersecurity budgets will explode in 2015 as everyone tries to avoid being the next Sony.
6. Clothes will be designed with wider pockets to accommodate largescreen mobile devices.
7. SETI will discover an interesting signal. (This is the same prediction I’ve made every year for the past 20+ years.)
8. Members of the U.S. Congress will do nothing except throw spitballs at each other—the best government money can buy.
9. After a big year in 2014, Oculus will struggle to get a consumer product out, and VR wannabes will swarm into the nonexistent market (oh wait, that part already happened).
10. All the monitor and TV manufacturers will offer curved screens; people will buy them, and then one day everyone will say, HUH? Why did that seem like a good idea?
11. 3D Systems will print a complete Chromebook in a month and half, at a cost of $26,738. Google will sue them, saying it violates the spirit of the design. 3D Systems will threaten a hostile takeover.
Other interesting things to look forward to are how Florida handles the shift requiring all-digital instruction materials in its public school system, saying they are convenient, light, and much easier to use for search. This sure does look like a case of easier mandated than done.
Are you really going to wear that? For a week or two, maybe a month, you might, but wearables will follow their progenitor, the calculator watch (still have yours?).
We will also read about the ability developed at two Australian universities to print solar panels on any plastic surface. This means that your cellphone case could also double as a solar charger.
And in late 2015, NASA will conduct the first life sciences experiment to take place on another planet by sending a high-tech greenhouse to the moon on one of the rockets competing for the Google Lunar Xprize. If successful, it could prove that the moon can sustain food- and oxygen-producing materials— and bring humans one step closer to living there.