Wednesday, 31 December 2008

"Predictions are difficult, especially when they are about the future"

The title quote is by Niels Bohr, who was also uncertain about many things. I will, however, attempt to make some predictions for the forthcoming year. A dozen of them in total, I've tried to alternate between the depressing and the less depressing. Well here goes...

1. There will be more cases of our government experiencing embarrassing data-loss. We can be sure that they won't have learnt the lessons from this year's debacles. The only possible reason that they will not be in news, is that they are so common that they are no longer news-worthy.

2. Linux on the desktop will only remain an issue being argued about on discussion lists. For the majority of the users, they will come to recognise that some desktops look different, but do every thing they need. As far as businesses are concerned, an increasing number of smart ones will adopt Free Software solutions to save themselves money.

3. Government economic predictions will continue to be wrong - and they will continue to reassure us that they know what to do. One would have expected that economic decisions made by governments would be right about one-half of the time, unfortunately they don't have the wit to employ a coin to help them. I was always taught not to tamper with things I don't understand.

4. Many people will decide that there is appreciable merit to downsizing. I do not refer to being sacked, but to living a more simple, less extravagant life-style. Unfortunately, many will not or will not be able to, and some of these will experience a rapid crash into poverty and homelessness.

5. Web censorship will be a major issue. Our government seems intent on pushing through more legislation in this area. Choose your side.

6. Internet shopping will really boom. Our high streets will have even more charity shops, and many vacant premises. The flexibility of on-line businesses will be able to cope with the challenges of the economy.

7. The police will continue to overstep the mark, and it seems likely that there will be a series of challenges to their activities - it is to be hoped that these will be in the press and the courts, but I fear that this will spill over to the streets.

8. Many more people will ignore planning regulations. This will range from people quietly putting solar porches on their houses and stacking straw bales around the back, as insulation, through to those setting up home on rural plots of land and in industrial premises.

9. The weather will be weird - probably weirder than that. The denial over climate change will become less strident, and there may even be a rational debate over a big nuclear energy programme.

10. E-democracy will show signs of coming of age. It is probable that the attempts to push through web censorship will encourage this. Large, rapidly mobilised mass pressure groups will become more active and effective.

11. Conflicts over resources will escalate. It is likely that water rights will be more important in creating these conflicts than oil. Most of these will not be covered in the press, or may just get a mention after a particularly violent event.

12. More people will disappear into virtual worlds. A brief review of the simulations available for the games consoles is worthwhile. Guitar heroes will probably never appear on the stage and it is to be hoped that Imagine(d) Teachers will not think they can cope with a classroom.

Let me know how well I did next December.


  1. The guy is called Niels Bohr, by the way...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.