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The ContrafabulistsKin Lane and Audrey Watters – monitor predictions that technologists and marketers make about the future of technology. No surprise, most of the predictions are made about AI, a development whose future folks have been predicting incorrectly since the 1950s. Here are the predictions made this week:

Forrester, one of the best known corporate fortune-tellers, predicts that self-driving cars will make the global economy “unrecognizable” by 2035.

Gartner, that other famous fortune-teller, predicts that IT spending will hit $3.5 trillion in 2017.

According to a report from the Serious Play Conference, revenue from serious games will reach $8.1 billion by 2022. The report costs $499. I predict the market for research will continue to grow if people continue to spend money on this bullshit.

Adobe says it’ll axe Flash by 2020.

On the heels of a similar announcement by France, the UK says it will end the sale of new cars that run on gas or diesel by 2040.

It’s the second week in a row that predictions about the future of China and AI have made headlines. According to The Next Web, “China says it’ll be world AI leader by 2025.” (Last week, the prediction date was 2030.)

HBCU Digest predicts that only about half of HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) will survive the next decade.

“Pet translators will be on sale soon, Amazon says” – says The Guardian, at least, repeating the prediction made by futurologist William Higham who, along with Amazon, “believes devices that can talk dog could be less than 10 years away.”

(In the spirit of that prediction, I must include this from The Onion: “Amazon Completes New Suspension Tank To House Psychic Beings Who Foresee Customers’ Future Orders.”)

From Wired: “Tech’s Most Dubious Promises, from Bill Gates to Elon Musk.” This includes Gates’ promise in 2004 that “Two years from now, spam will be solved.” And Sebastian Thrun’s prediction that in 50 years, “there would be only 10 institutions in the world delivering higher education –and Udacity could be one of them.”

MIT Technology Review says thatThe Tech World Is Convinced 2021 Is Going to Be the Best Year Ever.” Among the tech products that are supposed to be commonplace by 2021, virtual reality, self-driving cars, cheap solar power, and lab-grown chicken.

It’s not really a prediction per se, but according to researchers at Lund University (and reported by New Scientist), “Ravens can plan for future events at least as well as 4-year-old humans and some adult, non-human great apes.” And perhaps at least as well as the PR folks who make the sorts of predictions chronicled above…

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Audrey Watters


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Predictions: The History of the Future

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