More wild cards

Following up on my recent discussion of wild cards — i.e., low-probability but high-impact developments in the future — here are five wild cards discussed in brief reports by Social Technologies LLC:

Recorded Lives: Lifelogging, the use of information technology to comprehensively record and archive a person’s experiences, could become a mainstream practice, due to declining hardware costs and rising consumer interest. Life recording would build on the trends witnessed in current blog, online photo album, and video journal Web sites. (Brief GL-2007-50) Additional research here and here.

Bye-Bye Bees: Colony collapse disorder (CCD) — the disappearance of honeybees from commercial hives — is alarming but probably temporary, most experts say. But what if CCD isn’t temporary? The long-term loss of honeybees could be calamitous for agriculture and the downstream businesses that depend on it. (Brief GL-2007-43)

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The extinction timeline

Futurist Richard Watson has come up with a timeline for when certain technologies, companies and customs (like spelling!) will become extinct. Watson notes that it’s mostly just for fun — not to be taken too seriously. Here’s a small sampling:

Richard Watson’s “Extinction Timeline” (click here for the one-page .pdf)

  • 2013: fax machines
  • 2014: “getting lost”
  • 2015: telephone directories, receptionists
  • 2019: libraries
  • 2020: copyright
  • 2022: blogging, spelling
  • 2033: coins
  • 2035: oil
  • 2049: physical newspapers

For Watson’s reasoning behind the predictions, you’ll need to read his new book: “Future Files: A History of the Next 50 Years.”

The extinction timeline: The mouse dies in nine years, then BlackBerries go dark; Google outlasts Microsoft