Posted by: nickgerlich | October 2, 2007

Epochal

I love the future.

Not that I don’t have fond memories of the past, or am not enjoying myself today. It’s just that it is fun to think about how things will be. And then see if you were right.

For the past year I have had friends, students, and colleagues send me the YouTube link for the video EPIC2015 (click the image below to launch). The version showing now is an update from an earlier prognostication, but it essentially the same. Fasten your seat belts.

EPIC2015

Honestly, some of what the film’s creators predict is already happening. Citizen journalists already dominate the internet, thanks to blogging, podcasting, and YouTube. It’s just that they see the final nails in the coffin of the Fourth Estate (the press) being hammered in place very soon.

Furthermore, Google is predicted to acquire Amazon, and rename the enterprise Googlezon. This marriage among giants will bring the search engine strengths of Google toegther with the collaborative filtering and suggestive selling expertise of Amazon to create an omnipresent info-retailer that follows us around like clouds in the sky.

And it is that very notion of clouds that actually has a lot of futurists abuzz. Google’s Gmail already is a cloud in my sky, for I use it to store files and archive emails that I can then access whenever and wherever. With 3GB of free storage, I safely archive important documents by simply emailing them to myself at Gmail, where they will never fall off.

And where is Microsoft in all of this postulating? Cut off at the knees by Googlezon, and licking its wounds. Googlezon’s EPIC (Evolving Personalized Information Construct) will be introduced in 2014, with everyone contributing to and consuming this media monster. All the information we receive will be filtered, tagged, sorted, and relevant to our daily lives. If Microsoft is lucky, they will still be selling operating systems. But only is Vista ever gets off the ground in 2007, that is.

Finally, in 2015 we will tag our messages (written and oral) with GPS coordinates, allowing us to avoid traffic snarls and have encounters with other humans (although I doubt we have to wait another 8 years for this to happen!).

Scary? Or is this video clip already dated? TomTom GPS units offer an add-on traffic service that alerts you to problem areas, and offers alternate routing. And we already have GPS-enabled cell phones to monitor the comings and goings of our young and our elderly.

Back in 2000, I was doing some freelance work with a company in San Francisco. This project required me to have internet access on a daily basis, but back then, that usually meant having access to a phone line so I could dial out. I told my wife that within 5 years the internet would be ubiquitous, modems would be a thing of the past, and we would be able to check in wirelessly in most major cities. Too bad the project ended before the wifi came along, but my little prediction was spot on.

In some respects, the future is here. But wait…there’s plenty more to come. In the mean time, better sell off any shares you might have in the New York Times.

Dr “Google Gridlock” Gerlich

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