The ContrafabulistsKin Lane and Audrey Watters – monitor predictions that technologists and marketers make about the future of technology:

Once again, the prediction (often credited to the World Economic Forum) – that “almost 65 percent of the jobs elementary school students will be doing in the future do not even exist yet” – got trotted out, this time by Singularity Hub. Other predictions in that particular article: “In the next five years, non-permanent and remote workers are expected to make up 40 percent of the average company’s total workforce.” Honestly, if you read these sorts of stories and hear these sorts of predictions, you simply must have questions. Like, what is an “average company”? How does anyone know about jobs that don’t exist yet? So a special shout-out to CSU Channel Island’s Michael Berman, who investigated where that particular “statistic” came from.

There were lots of predictions this week about cars – no surprise, as so many stories about the future involve transportation. Flying cars and the like. It’s not so much a prediction than a goal, but France says it plans to end the sale of fossil-fuel powered cars by 2040. “By 2040, More Than Half of All New Cars Could Be Electric,” the MIT Technology Review predicts in turn. Much of the chatter this week resulted from Volvo’s commitment this week: “that all the models it introduces starting in 2019 will be either hybrids or powered solely by batteries.”

And in case you wondered why Audrey insists that many stories about the future of education sound particularly horrible, here’s a prediction from the market research firm Technavio: “Globally, the test prep market is expected to grow $7.56 billion between 2016, when it was valued at $24.57 billion, and 2021, when it is expected to reach $32.13 billion.”

Audrey Watters


Predictions: The History of the Future

A Contrafabulists Production

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