Predicting the Future (EPIC Response)

We love to predict the future and know what lies ahead. Whether it be future technologies, or knowing what the weather will be like tomorrow, we like to know what to expect. In an article written by John Battelle, he examines the future of the internet. He mentions being more interested in the future ten to twenty years from now than next year. I agree that the distant future is much more compelling- things will be drastically different in ten to twenty years as compared to a measly year.

In the article, Battelle attempts to look at past predictions that spanned at least a decade. EPIC 2014, a video created for the Museum of Media History in 2004, does just this. You can view the video below:

Battelle goes through the topics of the video that it predicts, and discusses their validity as of January 2011, when the article was written. Some of the predictions I found interesting-

– The New York Times “goes offline.” A few years ago, we all probably agreed that this could happen. But today, we can all agree that The New York Times isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

– Google buys Tivo. This was a good prediction in 2004, but today, it’s clear that Google doesn’t have serious interest in the TV market. Sure, Google has the Chromecast that supports popular streaming services, but in my opinion it’s a pretty useless device for people that already have means of displaying those services on their TV. Think game consoles or simply plugging your computer into the TV directly. Google hasn’t explored any options yet that actually involve network and live television.

– Google and Amazon join together. Actually quite the opposite has happened it seems. Each has their own version of services and they are competing directly against each other.

– “MSN Newsbotster.” This is an interesting prediction because it’s pretty much what we know today as Twitter. “A social news network and participatory journalism platform that ranks what users friends and colleagues are reading and viewing”. This is the basis of trending.

Overall, EPIC was correct about the main trends that the future of the internet would hold. Sure, many details were wrong, but that’s to be expected for something trying to predict 10 years into the future. It was not really correct about the cloud, as it isn’t a dominating force just yet. Also, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft definitely don’t control the world of social news and social editing. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and others have taken a hold of that world. In fact, to add to Battelle’s point from 2011, I think that Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and etc look to the Facebooks of today’s internet to promote products and stay alive. In regards to what has changed since Battelle’s comments in 2011, I think that everything he said still applies today. Sure, some minor details may have changed, but overall he is still on point in his assessment of the internet.

In examining this topic, the thing I realized is that 10 years ago, 10 year old me never would even have come close to thinking that the internet and social media would be what it is today. It’s amazing how far technology and the internet has progressed in the last 10 years. I’m not sure that I could function without the advances that have been made since 2004. I’m excited to see what the next 10 to 20 years has in store for us and how much technology and social media will change our lives further.


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