The Best Predictions of 2011
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
Free Email Newsletter
To sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter, enter your email in the box below and click Save.
December 26, 2014 - A recent Pew Research poll, the results released in November, paint a disturbing picture about American concerns regarding the full implications of "big data." If unfamiliar with the term "big data" it refers to collections of data sets that can be mined and analyzed for patterns and trends providing insight into human behavior.
December 25, 2014 - When I walked my dog this Christmas morning there was not a hint of snow anywhere. In fact we had to skirt puddles of water as we made our way through the local park. Autumn leaves swirled around us as we descended into a nearby ravine. This is not a Currier & Ives Christmas. At least not here where I live, and hardly anywhere in Canada, the so-called Great White North.
In an enjoyable and widely-read rant, sf-critic Charlie Jane Anders recently declared herself Tired of "The Smartest Man in the Room" science fiction trope. Her delineation of the stereotype should be immediately legible. Futurologists, are you and do you really want to be that guy?
December 24, 2014 - It is Christmas Eve and a time that my wife and I use to visit with friends whose parlors are decked out in Christmas trees, both real and artificial. We look forward to this annual ritual just as we do to lighting the Chanukah menorah for eight days. Last night was the last lighting for this year and for us brings an end to 2014.
December 23, 2014 - Southern Florida is the most vulnerable floodplain in the United States. The City of Miami Beach to protect itself from storm surges is attempting to implement a $300 million deflection project. But to get the money it needs to collect more taxes. And where is it getting these taxes from? Development fees and taxes from builders.
December 22, 2014 - Alzheimer's patients progressively lose their memories. I watched my mother-in-law and mother both succumb to the ravages of this disease as it robbed them of the recent past and then peeled away the decades until they reverted to distant memories. In my mother, a trilingual and adept, discerning individual, it even robbed her of her ability to speak coherently.