Drawing from a variety of sources throughout the past year, the editors of THE FUTURIST take a look at some of the best predictions for the world’s future.

What makes a prediction a good one? Like any announcement that must compete for attention in the public sphere, the predictions that gather the most notice are the strangest or the boldest, or that paint a picture of a future state that challenge expectations.

Today, we still largely cling to this somewhat misguided notion of prediction as a remarkable statement. But the nature of prediction is changing as rapidly as our world. The scope of the predictable universe is expanding, thanks to new tools for acquiring and measuring data. The number of people with a platform to share a prediction — a statement about what will happen to the world — has grown and will continue to grow as rapidly as the Internet.

With that it mind, we present to you our list of the best predictions we read in 2011. They are surprising, often conflicting, and rise from a diverse pool. We evaluated each one in terms of what made it a good prediction, what could get in the way of its coming to pass, and what it all means.

While we tried to nail the experts down to specific dates, many made interesting forecasts that could not be tied down to a specific point “In the Future.”

This collection provides, we believe, a fascinating portrait of our present as we attempt to communicate with our ever-shifting future. —Patrick Tucker, deputy editor, THE FUTURIST