Most of you don't know this, but I'm a bit of an armchair futurist, but I've always kept my predictions to myself (except when very drunk or trying to bore my fiancee to sleep). Some of my earlier predictions have turned out right. Therefore, since some people are stupid enough to believe the likes of Harold Camping and Pat Robertson; and because I got tired of yelling "I knew it!" when I saw it coming; I present an all-new prophecy prediction futurism category department thingy to this deranged and unread LJ. Also, because my friend Kailash kept nagging me to blog or write my insane and/or genius thoughts, and I finally caved in, because after all there's only so much porn one can watch etc. etc.
All so when the world ends, I can yell "I told you so" and then die right along with the rest of you, as though this means anything.
Prediction: Internet anonymity as we know it will die.
Timeline: within a week to three years.
Reference: MPAA / RIAA, piracy, censorship, The Great Firewall of China, pornography, child pornography, Wikileaks, Facebook, Anonymous, hacktivism, Twitter revolutions.
The day will soon come when there will be no internet anonymity whatsoever. You will possibly need some kind of an ID card to get online, much like you need a passport and visa to visit a foreign country. There are too many powerful forces pushing for this and too few against it for this prediction not to come true.
And speaking of ID, based on all the information up to this point, that ID card will be your Facebook account. Terrifying, I know; and it's already happening right now. Facebook is all over the internet already, and many sites are using Facebook accounts as logins (including LiveJournal). Seriously, how many sites DON'T have a Facebook "like" or "Login with your Facebook account?" Conversely, there's been troubling hints that Facebook is pushing to link your account to your phone number or driver's license or Social Security Number, in the name of securing your account. Which really links your online profile to a tangible, trackable real-world name and ID. I also doubt it's a coincidence that Facebook has been so insistent that people tag their friends' faces, even adding code that automatically tags faces based on facial recognition. To be fair, Google also do this in Picasa. tl;dr What is in effect happening is the slow roll-out of Facebook: Your Internet Passport.
Piracy and online activism are currently the biggest factors involved here. The players involved are the usual MPAA/RIAA dickholes, as well as the Big Brother crowd. They've already tried vilifying piracy, which didn't really work, and is backfiring on them, what with single moms and college students getting sued for five and six figures per mp3. Contrast the masses' reaction to that, with the masses' reaction to Sony getting repeatedly hacked recently.
Wikileaks revealed the world governments' true feelings when it comes to the free flow of information on the internet. They're all for transparency as long as you're the one being watched and not them. The vilification of Julian Assange (whether you like him or not) and the deplorable and ongoing treatment of Bradley Manning, are telling clues about how our leaders and masters really feel.
Strategies that have been employed to demonize the internet and demonize anonymity have included scaremongering attempts at attacking pornography, to name one; and when that didn't work, child pornography. The odd story about online harassment leading to suicide and online bullying are subtler examples of this strategy to push for an online ID, or towards less anonymity. Which is why any story involving laws to protect minors online and proposals for new regulations, always, always triggers my bullshit detector.
Also note the media's push of late to readily demonize Anonymous and portray them as somehow "dangerous" to society for hacking corporations and general Anon pranks. Hardly coincidental.
Prediction: Republicans will blame Climate Change on Al Gore.
Likelihood: 50 - 75%
Timeline: within a few months to a year.
Reference: Climate Change, Climate Change denialism, Big Oil, "Revolving door" politics, Fox News, Extreme Weather, Religion, Christianity
The inevitable, disastrous and accelerating effects of Climate Change will reach a point where it can no longer be denied by anyone except perhaps Sarah Palin. At which point, I predict the Religious Right and their media will react the same way they react to natural disasters - by screaming that clearly the only possible explanation is that God is judging America for tolerating gay marriage, abortion and hybrid cars.
This is already in the works, what with the recent disasters in America with tornadoes and floods, including a tornado in freaking Massachusetts. I'm just waiting for the bullshit machine to start vomiting its propaganda on us any minute now.
You read it here first.
On a slightly related tangent, I never cease to find it hilarious / disgusting that media sources breathlessly push so hard to portray Climate Change as a hoax... while at the same time, blithely mentioning that brand new commercial shipping routes have been formed cutting through the Arctic circle, and that Arctic Circle countries are quietly circling each other snarling over territorial claims to the North Pole (and its oil and gas reserves that have been unreachable until now). Notably underreported and downplayed.
Prediction: 3D printing will be the biggest paradigm-shifting revolution since computers.
Timeline: within the next five years, at the most.
Reference: 3D printing, piracy, file sharing, open source, The Information Age
You know that bullshit MPAA slogan, "you wouldn't download a car?" The truth is more like, you can't download a car. Yet.
3D printing isn't new technology, but it's gotten increasingly more sophisticated and complex, to the point that the other day, some eggheads 3D printed a working, rideable bicycle. There have been breakthroughs in materials as well as the printing, where the materials used to print out of have gotten stronger and lighter. The holy grail in the 3D printing world is to create a 3D printer that can create another working 3D printer.
Prediction: Hygiene theory combined with MRSA / flu style global pandemic.
Likelihood: 50% (too many variables)
Timeline: within a week to twenty years
See: Hygiene theory, superbugs, MRSA, drug resistance, poverty, big pharma, evolution
In other words, not only will the human race be decimated by a plague; it will be the filthiest, dirtiest, poorest humans that survive it.
More internet scrapings when things at work get a little less insane. Till then, remember: it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.