Since I've decided to become a futurist - I thought I would start making forecasts. Since I have no formal training in future forecasting (yet) my methods are nebulous at best. What is my criteria for these forecasts? The best way I could explain is my gut and heart.
I have always found myself in the early flow of trends. I also create my own future. Much of what I put effort to making happen - happens. Below are my first predictions based on my wide base of knowledge grazing, following trends and experiencing life. These are the things that have my attention. My guess is that some of these will hit the nail on the head in 2-5 years, while others will be way off the mark (my own personal obsession of the moment.) I can probably tell you which ones are the personal obsessions.
1. The Invisible Internet: Only the User Interface. Internet Technology itself is becoming less important. It is now about the dividing line - the user interface - human computer interaction. Sure, technology will continue to dramatically increase in power and speed. But the adoption curve on Internet Technology has dramatically increased with the web 2.0 - which I see as simply user interface improvements. This is going to accelerate even more as computers and internet technology go under the covers like motors and electrical engineering. It will continue to be difficult to get tech people to go into the computer and engineering field.
2. Mass media. Is going away and is not going away. The mainstream has gotten bigger and yet specialized at the same time. The only way to make it to the mainstream is to go as/from a smaller culture/group. I think there are going to be some dramatic changes with media - but I haven't yet put my finger on the point. I think ownership is going to be dramatically re-thought. As well as consumers. But more of that in my next point.
3. Reader Response aka The Mashup/Remix Culture. I have been fascinated with what I call reader-response for over 15 years. I first learned of this in one of my college english classes. The teacher and I argued that it didn't matter what the author meant - that once he published his work - the reader's response to it was just as valid as the author's intention. This is the heart and core of the remix culture that has exploded mostly with music and video mashups. But this is really something that has happened throughout all of humanity. We build upon the work of the past. It's only now, that digitally you're able to more easily track and thus get all agro when you think someone is stealing your idea/material. None of this material belongs to any of us. We are all mere vessels. One day, the concept of copyright will be as antiquated as the earth being the center of the universe. (I certainly don't expect to see this happen in my lifetime or 10 times my lifetime.)
4. Urban Homesteading/Gardening. This could be my personal current obsession - but the next step in the "green" revolution is personal responsibility in regards to food sources/creation. Farming is about to be reinvented. In Berkeley and around Hollywood - there are community gardens, but these are so bureaucratic (year+ waits to get a plot) that they are not solutions. Taking back the concrete jungle and growing food and green things. Container and vertical gardening where the soil has been covered up with pavement and concrete. Although just concepts at the moment, I love the direction of farming skyscrapers prototypes. I hope these types of dreams actually happen. Instead of 750k condos in the heart of Hollywood - what about a farm in the sky?
5. Bio/Nano. I am admittedly somewhat uneducated about the current bio/nano tech specific. This will be quickly remedied with study. However I do think this is one of the next frontiers. Understanding and using nano technologies to deliver drugs and clean up toxic situations will be no less than amazing. And no, I'm not a bit worried about Grey Goo.
6. Internet Backlash. It's already started and recently fabulously shown by Josh Harris's exile to his Apple Farm and then Ethiopia in his movie "We Live in Public". People will increasingly go offline. Check out completely. And there will be internet detox. I'm interested to understand if there has been previous times where new technology has been so quickly adopted, used and changes. The internet is like water.
Some things I'd like to see developed
1. Personal Responsibility. Too many people don't know how to take care of themselves. People need to own up and take responsibility for their decisions and life. This country is in a mess because people didn't take responsibility and do the right thing. I'd like to see a focus on this value and self-reliance.
2. Interior Tourism. Travel to exotic locations is no longer exotic. Go off the beaten path and you'll run into another "adventurer" just like you. I hate to break it to you - but you know what - Iowa is as exotic as the Serengeti. Depends on your perspective. I am constantly amazed by how diverse and beautiful my home state of California is. I don't care if I ever leave it again. The US is an amazing beautiful country. You don't have to go half-way around the world to see some of the most beautiful places. It's right here at home. America the Beautiful.
3. Beyond Level 3. There are a lot of people out there to change the world - but I honestly don't believe you can change the world for the better, until you have mastery of yourself. (You're just trying to change the world for what you think might be better.) Before you have mastery of yourself, you have to know who you are.