Monday, September 15, 2008

9-15-08: Predicting Future Technology

I remember some time ago seeing something on either the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, or National Geographic about future technology. They had a guy who was an expert in predicting future technology talking about how things might be in the future. It was pretty neat.

Today I was thinking of that concept: predicting future technology. I've always wondered if there was some fundamental pattern in human development where some one could look at a car in 2008 and predict what that model would look like in 2012. It seems like you can find some trends here and there. But overall, it's tough.

The funniest thing is when you go back and watch films from decades ago trying to predict, probably not seriously, what life was like in 2000. Remember those films? They talked about flying cars and whatnot. But then you have films like Minority Report, which, with the exception of the fantasy element of having the ability to predict the future, seems to be more realistic in its predictions. It seems like a lot of films today are getting more realistic. But how do you tell? And, are there techniques employed by the writers of these films or books that are more successful in accurately predicting the future than what was attempted in the past?

I wonder what goes in to accurate prediction. You have to understand first and foremost the rapid growth of technology, which is difficult to predict. Then you have to take into account how much of a role it will play in our lives. Then, you have to predict human behavior. Now that is the toughest part of it all. You'd need a PhD in pretty much everything to even have a chance. And how would any one know if you're any good at it?

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