I look at predictions as part “let me show you how right I can be” and part “I really hope this happens for whatever reason.” But every now and then, someone either gets it right, or pushes someone to do what was predicted. So they serve at least some purpose.
I have already seen predictions from John Battelle, Nicholas Carr, Jason Calacanis, Corante, and the San Jose Mercury News. Even the Slashdot crowd has thrown their ninety-plus cents in. I thought I would put up a few myself (but mostly for the latter cause) – safe knowing Wired won’t care, and therefore won’t put me in the next Foot-in-Mouth Awards list.
1) Email spam will not cease to exist in the first quarter of 2006 (or any other time this year), but email will begin playing second fiddle to secure, log-able instant messaging networks for businesses. The suckers will remain on email. Spammers will smile – Bill Gates won’t.
2) Major blog operations and technically proficient independent operators will adopt standards that inhibit free ranging comments and trackbacks. Blog proliferation will slow as a result, the quality of links and comments will improve, and comment and trackback spam will cease to exist. Search engines will smile – spam blogging script kiddies won’t.
3) Laptops sales will continue their surge, along with large, high resolution external monitors, the two becoming the defacto replacement for computers in the enterprise. Peer-to-peer networks will keep data in sync, precluding the need for centralization. Apple and Lenovo will smile – Marc Benioff won’t.
4) Unix-like operating systems will stage a continued comeback, led by big pushes onto the desktop by Red Hat and Novell, and the final realization by the general public that OS X is really a lot more than a pretty face. Meanwhile, Windows Vista will have just as big an enterprise impact as Windows XP did. Computer users inundated with viruses, spyware, adware, and malware will smile – Symantec, McAfee, Webroot, and Steve Balmer won’t.
5) Some media operation will wake up and realize that “geek-speak” really matters, as those that do that type of talking are the early adopters of all neat techie things purchasable. They will look around and find they spent too much money on hard-to-target networks. The Open Source Technology Group will smile – Rupert Murdoch and AOL won’t.
6) Open source databases will get very easy to install and use, thanks to simplified GUI interfaces and a trove of plugins to major applications. MySQL will smile – Larry Ellison won’t.
7) Someone will figure out a way to quantify text ad click fraud without the ad networks’ help. Advertisers will smile – Google won’t.
8) Underground file sharing networks will proliferate in the face of the recording industry’s ineptitude, aided by high speed proxy networks and encryption technology. The major music labels, now facing subpoenas for price fixing investigations, will turn on each other, and at least one of them will start playing nice for the sake of revenue. Everyone ripped off by music overpricing will smile – the RIAA won’t.
9) Major telecommunications carriers will continue lobbying for a “second internet” to carry all the traffic for the very useful (and very disruptive) tools they couldn’t develop themselves. Meanwhile, technology companies will continue creating great new services, and preparing a million workarounds. The industrious user will smile – the carriers and their shareholders won’t.