Happy Knew Year! The Unpredictability of Technology (and Top Reasons Not To)


Top This: No Top List, Best Of or Predictions For Anything in 2014


h yes, here they are; it's just that time of year. Come late December and early January (for those of us still operating on the old Gregorian, before it all goes to Unix Time?), don't you just love and anticipate the throngs, the total inundation, the incessant mutterings of those "Top 10" of this, "Top 15" of that, the "Top Predictions For" and insertion of upcoming calendar year? Yeah, me neither. While most of these lists and predictions are simply going to rehash and recycle one another ("Redundancy of the Bad Kind"), shouldn't any reasonable, head-in-the-game Technologist already be fully aware of the "Top 12 Technology Trends" well in advance of the last two weeks of December, or their implications in the first of January? It seems to me that while these may well be news and noteworthy in and of themselves, they certainly should be at least stale and known to everyone but an Arrakis Sandworm in reading them. All of these calculated, SEO stocking-stuffing, title-grabbing allure under the mistletoe of white noise posts annually forces me into a much needed digital detox. Simply put, these year-ender "Top List" and "Best Of" and "Predictions For" are all about things we should already know, to be highly likely, to actually happen. Now that, certainly, is predictable.

Not Gonna Do It! Wouldn't Be Prudent!

As it is nearly impossible to predict the growth of human knowledge (you know, that little thing that drives human history) within the self-perpetuation of Moore's Law and the exponential growth rate of technology and technologies that beget technologies, it would prove more beneficial for less random reach and more intelligent reaction.  So, to close out our own fantab Year here at CONSULTED and roll seamlessly into 2014, I'm not going to provide any list of Top things in technology that should already be well understood, nor am I going to make technology predictions into a void of predictable unpredictability.  Not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent.

We cannot predict, by rational or scientific methods, the future growth of our knowledge - Karl Popper

Instead, let's all predict nothing and work diligently and competently towards innovating for a better future: for Ourselves, for our Communities, for our Economies and Governments.

It's "Knew" Year, Not "New" Year

As Data Becomes Us, concentrate on knowledge and innovation, stimulate flexibility and adaptability.  Make change, especially rapid change, a part of your accepted knowns.  Predict then that your predictions will likely change, early and often, throughout the entire year.  I know; those still stuck in the mire and mindset of behind-the-firewall software and development cycles just can't quite grasp the predictability of the unpredictable, that uncertainty is the new reality.  For those, then, how best then to "future-proof" your technology decisions, predicting adequately to satiate present and future business needs?  Technology itself - mobile (including wearables), big data, location-based technologies, sensors and social networks - will help us move away from predictions towards calculated, swift but competent reactions, and I'm not speaking of reactionary in the pre-Internet of Things sense.  How these technologies converge, all depends on how they are applied in the context of human factors -- everything will be tailored to us.  In the end, it’s a blessing we can’t predict the future of technology - because it means we’ll keep trying. If we don’t know if something will succeed or fail, we’ll keep innovating. We’ll heed the words of Alan Kay:

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.  Forecasting the future of technology is for dreamers who hope to innovate better tools -- and for the mainstream people who hope to benefit from the new and improved.  In your Knew Year? Be Active. Be Engaging. Be Looking. Be Learning. Be Calculatingly CautiousBe In the Know.  Be Highly Adaptive.  Instead of reaching and rationalizing predictions on commoditized knowns, be able to say you "knew it all along".


Since I know most just cannot make it through a reading at this time of year without any references to technology Top Lists, Best Ofs or Predictions For, here are some related articles I hope suffice as alternatives:

10 Infamous Technology Predictions That Were Wrong

The Future That Never Was: 12 Funny Gadget Predictions

Predicting the Tech Future is a Difficult Thing To Do

 There.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) stuffing of Titles and Keywords, check.  Top list of whatever, done.  Predictions, included.


How hard is it to predict the future of technology? PBS
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