The Future: Part One

Seth Godin, author of Free Prize Inside – which I need to get around to reviewing – has a list of things he thinks will be true in the future.

Lots of people have reproduced his list, but no one has commented on it. Here’s my take.

Hard drive space is free My first reaction was to say nothing is ever free, but my reinterpretation is cheap and plentiful. If that’s true I see a device – probably combined with the laptop like thing further down – that will be a portable TIVO. All your music, TV shows and movies will be on this one device you carry with you. You’ll back it up to even bigger storage on your home server.

Back up is something people like to ignore when they think storage is cheap. Why would I need to keep a copy of stuff on my home machine when I’m going to be able to carry everything with me. The big reason is because you are more likely to lose something you carry everywhere. The iPod gives us a glimpse of this, you carry your music everywhere, but you still sync up with a main computer.

I’ll talk a little more about the concept of home vs portable computer later.

Wifi like connections are everywhere You know I wonder what this will be like technically. Will it be decentralized like WiFi? Meaning I can get an internet connection no matter where I go, but won’t have the same connection everywhere I go. Or will it be an always on cell phone like connection where the same connection stays with me as I move from place to place?

Just being able to have a connection anywhere will change things in one way, but it won’t do as good a job as a communication medium. For instance yesterday I was looking for sunglasses, which are something hard to buy online because you can’t see what they look like on your face. So I went to the mall and tried on sunglasses. I found some I like – Rayban Preditor 18s with polarized lenses – but they cost more than I wanted to spend. I figured I could get them cheaper online. So I got the girl to write down the model number for me. If I had had an internet connection right there I could have quickly checked prices online and known I wasn’t going to find much of a difference in price. (Which probably explains why there were 3 sunglasses shops in the mall).

But if I’m in my car I can’t use a WiFi connection, I need something always on.

Connections speeds are 10 to 100 times faster This will give “subscription TV” a whole new meaning. You’ll connect to a production company’s web site, buy DRMed movies and download them to your home server ala iTunes. Then you’ll put them on your portable, or watch them on your home entertainment system. Networks are replaced by aggregation web sites. Sites that specialize in finding certain kinds entertainment. You’ll probably daily browse these kinds of sites looking for new stuff.

There will also probably be meta data attached to the downloaded files, including everything from episode guides to trailers for related media.

Everyone has a digital camera You know I don’t think this will be that big a deal. Everyone has owned a camera for years. But that doesn’t mean they carry one all the time. They may in the future, but it won’t be that different. People who like to take pictures do it a lot now. Most people do it for special occasions. A few do it for art. Don’t see digital changing this.

Everyone carries a device that is sort of like a laptop, but cheap and tiny
Anyone remember the show Earth Final Conflict? In it they had something called a global. This was a small device that when collapsed was the about 1″ x 1″ x 4″. Then you pulled it open to make it about 3″ wide and there was a display there. It was used as a video phone and as a computer. I envision something like that that people will be carrying in 5 years. Once we have flexible displays cell phones will change.

I also don’t think this will change the fact you’ll still have a home computer. It will probably be integrated into a entertainment system. You’re house will also have a central server, where you put files – including everything from homework to movies – that are shared by the users of the house. Ergonomics will dictate the need for something you can sit at for hours vs something you can carry with you everywhere.

I think I’ll do the next 5 things in another post.

Written while listening to “Shock to the System”
album Billy Idol: Greatest Hits
by Billy Idol
Written while listening to “Six Sirens”
by Project 86
Written while listening to “Flesh for Fantasy”
album Billy Idol: Greatest Hits
by Billy Idol


  1. Travis D says:

    It’s Seth *Godin*.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You are so right. Must be my Buffy sub-conscience coming through. I fixed it.

  3. Red says:

    Why can’t we have wifi in a car? We get cell phone service almost everywhere in the world now even without the expensive geosynchronous satellite Motorola launched to bring Iridium satellite phones to the marketplace. So I think mobile wifi is feasible.

    I bet network clouds will have pass off points like cell towers. Then you’ll be able to check traffic patterns, atlases and weather/driving conditions from the dashboard.

  4. David St Lawrence says:

    I think Seth is too conservative.

    He hasn’t lived through enough paradigm shifts yet.

    In three years, most of what he envisions will be a practical reality,

    and the rest won’t matter.

    The resulting social change will be enormous.

    (My URL did not register on the earlier comment)

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