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5 Predictions for 2012 513

Structured Audio writes "Mike Langberg of the Merc put up his 5 technology predictions for 2012. Well chosen, although of course in 2012 speech recognition will still be 10 years away :-)."
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5 Predictions for 2012

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  • Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by altaic ( 559466 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:01PM (#4785474)
    I wonder why all the articles which hold predictions are "bold."
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:08PM (#4785510) Homepage
      From his 1992 'predictions': Direct-broadcast satellite television, which didn't exist in 1992, is now a certified hit,

      I had a direct broadcast satellite in '92, so did over a million people in the UK. Predicting the launch in the US is hardly that impressive.

      This years predictions include the Tivo like PVR becomming ubiquitous...

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by packeteer ( 566398 ) <packeteer@subdim ... m ['on.' in gap]> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:59PM (#4785727)
      Because in 2012 the mayan calander ends and well all be dead anyway so who cares...
      • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

        by armyturtle ( 603867 )
        Thanks to this last post, I have spent the last 2 hours reading about Terrance McKenna and the mayan calender. I must first tell you that I had no previous of Terrance or the mayan calender, nor did I have any interest (or so I thought) in these types of things.

        It's just amazing the things that open doors in our minds. The little door in my mind that was opened led to a HUGE GAPING VALLEY waiting to be filled with a new area of knowledge/information.

        I can't believe how much I've learned in just under 2 hours also. I now know not only who Terrance McKenna was, but where he grew up, where he went to for school (Graduated HS in Los Altos and studied under a newer self-directed and eclectic reading type of degree program at UC Berkeley), where he traveled to, why, and where and how he past away.

        If any of you do not know who this man was, PLEASE, I beg of you to at least read for 20 minutes about the guy. Some great (AND PROVOCATIVE) ideas! I sure wish I knew some intellectual/techie/cool people near where I live to discuss such matters with! I'm sure I have A LOT to learn.

        And BTW... I'm CONVINCED I NEED to try 'shrooms at some point in my life... if even just one time. Sheet... I've never done ANY type of substance!

        To whomever that previous "ANONYMOUS COWARD" was, I'd like to thank you for giving me insight into an area I never thought I'd even care about! You can reach me@
  • Great...can't skip work and go on the Duff Factory tour...

    unless I leave my cell phone at home :)
    • by Walterk ( 124748 )
      I'm already always online on my IM services, but always in the N/A or away state.. People never know if I'm actually there, unless I talk back. I'm omnipresent, just not an accountant.. or something.
  • Presence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trusty Penfold ( 615679 ) <> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:05PM (#4785488) Journal
    All present and accounted for -- always. ...
    Family, friends and co-workers will be able to instantly see where you are,

    I think this will come much sooner and, by 2012, will be gone again once everyone realises how bloody awful it is.
    • Re:Presence (Score:5, Informative)

      by bmetz ( 523 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:32PM (#4785617) Homepage
      AT&T's mMode has this -- it's called friend finder. *IF* you want someone to see you, you add them to a list and they can look on their phone and see something to the effect of 'Bob is at the corner of Atlantic and Congress Ave.' I think it's only based on which tower you're closest too, but it's a very good start.
    • Re:Presence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by archen ( 447353 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:33PM (#4785619)
      Exactly my thoughts.

      My boss offered to give me a cell phone (me being the resident "computer guy"). After watching the head of maitenance for half a day with his cell phone (everyone calling with every problem ever 5 minutes) I said no thanks. Then again I'm biased because I don't like cell phones in the first place. It seems more and more like people are never "alone". I don't want phone calls when I'm driving (when I blast music so loud I doubt I'd hear it ring anyway), I don't want calls when I'm on a walk, I don't want calls when I'm eating, or out doing something. I could turn off the ringer, but then again I'd just never have it on at all if that were the case. Most of the time I'd just like my time to MYSELF.
      • by bluGill ( 862 ) on Sunday December 01, 2002 @12:53AM (#4786378)

        Here is a hint: just because the phone rings does not mean you have to answer it. In fact if there is someone physically in your presense it is IMPOLITE to answer the phone unless you are expecting an emergency. (Your wife could go into labor at anytime, your parent is going in for heart surgery, your kid is late in bad weather. There are others, but those are the big ones)

        If I'm in your cube and you answer the phone I will talk to your boss about that, unless you are in customer service they can get voicemail and you will call back.

        Many people are surprized that I, a strong introvert like my cell phone. They don't realise that I'm not a slave to the phone, the phone is my slave. If I'm sitting between two beatiful girls and it rings, I hit cancle without even looking at it. (As a geek I've so far had one such opportunity, I might have blown it, but it wasn't by answering the phone) Manytimes when I could answer it I will just look at callerid and send the caller to voicemail.

      • Re:Presence (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Sunday December 01, 2002 @10:31AM (#4787366) Journal
        Two thoughts about any potential cell phone:

        1) You don't have to answer it. (I suppose it's different if it's paid for by the boss, and you're on the clock.) By restricting circulation of the number, I almost always only receive calls that I want to get, anyway. Aside: Please, set it to vibrate so as not to annoy those around you with your cute ring tones.

        2) It's handy if you want to place an outgoing call. Late because you're stuck in traffic? Flat tire? Want to invite someone to meet you down at the pub? Going on a road trip with a group split between two cars? A cellular phone is a godsend if someone gets lost. Last night I was with a group of people helping a friend move. Her landline wasn't hooked up at the new location--a cell makes it so convenient to get pizza.

        A cellular phone should be a helpful accessory. If it's an annoyance, then it is the fault of its owner, not the phone.

    • All present and accounted for -- always. ... Family, friends and co-workers will be able to instantly see where you are,

      I think this will come much sooner and, by 2012, will be gone again once everyone realises how bloody awful it is.

      It will never reach those two extremes. There are a couple of pilot programs out there and they are already using the metaphor of the Instant Messaging buddy list. In other words, you can make your presence known to everyone, if you wish, and you can also make yourself invisible to anyone you want to (except law enforcement).

      It will become like my cell phone. I could give out my cell phone number to everyone I know, but I don't. And I could answer every phone call I receive without even looking at my caller id, but again I don't. Please give the marketplace some credit for leaving us those choices.

      • Re:Presence (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sllim ( 95682 )
        Except Law Enforcement?
        Oh... then that makes it alright.

        Screw that. That is much too Orwellian for me.

        Will the point come where if you don't have a cell phone people will assume you have something to hide?

        What if I am carrying your cell phone, does that leave me open to arrest?

        Screw all that. I am just gonna turn off all the lights, lock my front door and curl up in a little ball in a corner of my apartment until 2012. I'll poke my head out the front door and if I see my shadow back I will go.
    • Re:Presence (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iabervon ( 1971 )
      Actually, it will be quickly subverted on a per-identity basis, so your family, friends, and co-workers will be able to instantly see where you want them to think you are. Most people will get text messages as soon as they're willing to get messages, but be able to pretend that they didn't get them for hours if desired.
    • by kitzilla ( 266382 ) <> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @10:15PM (#4785936) Homepage Journal
      You have a great point here.

      I'm waiting for Americans to decide which technologies give them more or better personal time, and which technologies invade and destroy it.

      Cellphones can be a blessing. They can also be a way for our employers to extend office hours through dinner and bedtime.

      Instant messaging has become a burden to me. Being available all the time for any priority of message is like moving your office desk or living room couch to the mall.

      I want nothing to do with people-tracking technology. The folks I care to know where I am during my day do. I don't want strangers, the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness program, or the Bush Administration tracking my movements as if I'm some sort of migratory animal, thank you.

      Let's make toolks for the workers, rather than turning the workers into tools.

      • Actualy, I like having a cell phone. In fact, it's essentialy my primary phone, my landline only used for business dealings. Why? Because I can turn off the cell phone and forget about it till whenever. Sure I can unplug the land line, but it's a hell of a lot easier to puch a button and never have to worry about a call. It also alows me to be in touch with people when I ootherwise could not be. The net presense idea isn't a bad one, I just want the option to turn it off.
  • by Bogatyr ( 69476 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:05PM (#4785489) Homepage
    At least according to Terence McKenna [].
  • only 1 terabyte ?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SpiritC ( 163392 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:05PM (#4785490) Homepage
    from the longhorn story earlier:
    "Enderle said the new file system will also function efficiently with hard drives holding at least one terabyte of data. That's 1,000 gigabytes, or well over 1,000 compressed movies, or more than 700,000 novels the size of "War and Peace." Such drives are expected to hit the market by 2004."
    i hope 8 years more can give a couple more megs to hds ;)
    • by Orne ( 144925 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @09:06PM (#4785752) Homepage
      1 terabyte should be enough for anyone...
    • Crashes ahead... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mazzaroth ( 519229 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @10:54PM (#4786062) Homepage
      Movies are, so far, the most data intensive information products we consume. Books, music and images are a tiny fraction of the data bandwidth a movie (or visual experiment) requires.
      So, let's say:

      I live 70 years

      I watch 5 movies per week (2 hours each)

      one hour of high-definition movie is about 2 GB Then, in my entire life, I will consume something like 70 TB of data. Of course, maybe there will be 3D-surround immersion imaging devices... But eventually, we will be able to store locally all the information we can consume and produce. Storing more will be useless. Eventually, we will reach a point where more and better technology will be useless.

      This reminds me something I read a long time ago: Knowledge Crash. Science progresses. It takes more and more time to reach the bleeding edge of science and improve on it. In the beginning of the century, you could write Nobel-prize class papers at 20. Now, you need to be a little bit older. Eventually, to improve on science, you will need a life-long study. And we will reach a point where human life will not be long enough to improve on humanity's knowledge. I know, teaching techniques improves over time, but even then, there will be a limit. The only way out will be a longer human life... or a limitless human life. But until Kurzweil's dream [] (read this [] too) become a reality, both technology and knowledge crashes are part of our future - and more technology will not be usefull anymore...

      I wonder what kind of society we will live in then... and what being human will mean. :-)

      • only way out will be a longer human life... or a limitless human life.

        This could be obtained within (10 years anybody?) our own life time artifically. Even if 500+ years from now the limits of science has been reached for natural humans, I'm sure within that time they would have figured out some way to increase the activity, density, and size of the human brain, allowing us to think just a little bit smarter than what we can today...

        Even if we do not change the physical aspects of the human brain, I'm sure we would have eventually come to a better understanding as to how our brain functions, allowing us to at least enhance our own thinking process a little.

        In the beginning of the century, you could write Nobel-prize class papers at 20.

        Who says we can't? It is the upbringing that is limiting us. Having to sit in a public school in mindless classes and PE can really hold a child back from reaching their real potential.

        teaching techniques improves over time, but even then, there will be a limit.

        There is no limit. No one knows the final outcome of the human brain. With more development of brain-wave (thought pattern) recognition, the possibility of thought induction is there. Who needs a text book when you can download information into your own mind? The only type of teacher you would need would be a mentor of some sort to teach you ethics and how to harness the potential of your brain. We very far away from fully understanding the human brain... throughtout that quest, I'm sure we'll figure out ways of enhancing it.

        Yes, in order to reach scientific breakthroughs we need a bit more effort compared to the past, but it does not mean that we will never reach a time when that will change. Let's just hope we don't kill species before we get to that point.
      • This reminds me something I read a long time ago: Knowledge Crash. Science progresses. It takes more and more time to reach the bleeding edge of science and improve on it. In the beginning of the century, you could write Nobel-prize class papers at 20. Now, you need to be a little bit older. Eventually, to improve on science, you will need a life-long study. And we will reach a point where human life will not be long enough to improve on humanity's knowledge. I know, teaching techniques improves over time, but even then, there will be a limit. The only way out will be a longer human life... or a limitless human life.

        Not necessarily... Back at the turn of the century, there were 'doctors', and 'surgeons'. Now, there are hand surgeons, internists, gynacologists, eye/ear/nose guys, etc. Likewise, there used to be 'physicists', and shortly afterward there were 'theoretical physicists'... now there are high energy physicists, quantum physicists, particle physicists, etc.

        Take any profession... expand it, through more knowledge and technology... you get to the point where you can have people specialize in barely-overlapping fields within the same industry - computer programmers vs. computer engineers vs. network engineers vs. helpdesk trolls, etc. Can your average programmer design a chip? Can your average chip designer program a GUI?

        To view it another way, the age of the Renaissance man is well over... instead, we get the age of the specialized man, with more expertise in a chosen profession than any renasissance man could hope for.


  • 2012?!?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrP- ( 45616 ) <> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:05PM (#4785491)
    These predictions wont turn out.. I mean, we all know the world ends in 2012, right?? The Mayans say so, and so does the X-Files.. We're all doomed!
    • Re:2012?!?! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Evil Dead ( 179883 )
      To be more precise, it will end on Dec. 21, 2012. Even more suprising is the fact that everyone I work with finally gets our additional vacation time on...Dec 21, 2012! I think our CEO is in league with those Mayans, X-Philes, and the Aliens. We're all doomed to have the world end without getting to use our additional time! Damn aliens...
  • by packeteer ( 566398 ) <packeteer@subdim ... m ['on.' in gap]> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:05PM (#4785493)
    ...FLYING CARS!!!
  • Speech Recognition (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The question is how sophisticated our voice recognition will be in 2012. Asking a car how far away a destination is really isn't that hard, and that is only a few years off. To me this just seems like a beefed up command line interpreter-- albeit alot more user friendly. But is that really true voice recognition? Shouldn't voice recognition imply that the computer can pass the turing test? If that's the case, I think that we are a long way off from computers that we can actually communicate with like human beings.
    • by BitHive ( 578094 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:29PM (#4785608) Homepage
      What does speech recognition have to do with the Turing test? I will consider speech recognition to be a solved problem when computers can take dictation with the same error rate as a native speaker. They don't have to be able to understand what is said--that's a different problem altogether.
      • by targo ( 409974 ) <> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @11:18PM (#4786138) Homepage
        What does speech recognition have to do with the Turing test?

        Proper speech recognition has been proven to be AI-complete [], similar to "The Vision Problem" (building a system that can see as well as a human), and many others. Perhaps not proven as rigorously as mathematical theorems but all data is pointing this way.
        Therefore, correctly solving the speech recognition problem is equivalent to solving the Turing test. So if anybody predicts good speech recognition in some near future, it is usually a sign of uninformedness and that person probably shouldn't be taken seriously.
        • by jtdubs ( 61885 ) on Sunday December 01, 2002 @02:27AM (#4786609)
          This is wrong, depending on your definition of "proper."

          What's AI-complete is /perfect/ speech recognition, as well as speech understanding, which is also known as "The Natural Language Problem," as long as we are both copying and pasting from link you posted.

          The reason perfect speech recognition is AI-complete is that it requires perfect speech understanding to choose between homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings, such as to, too and two, or there, their and they're), and that problem is AI-complete.

          Of course, most humans don't have perfect speech understanding, and hence also don't have perfect speech recognition.

          Satisfactory speech recognition may indeed be as close as 2012. Maybe not, but it is possible. It has come a long way recently.

          This has nothing to do with the Turing Test, and many people are of the belief that the Turing Test is a pretty silly milestone in AI anyway as it is a poorly formed, incredibly subjective measure of intelligence.

          Passing the Turing Test is a matter of being able to fool a human into thinking you are human via a simple converstion, held with words only, sight-unseen. Some humans fail the Turing Test and some computers can already pass a limited variation of it.

          Something that is AI-Complete is believed to require human-level intelligence to solve, and is an entirely different, and likely far more complicated problem.

          Justin Dubs
  • by Sophrosyne ( 630428 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:05PM (#4785496) Homepage
    .....what gives? I talk to my computer all the time..I guess I'm ahead of the times.
  • Same old (Score:2, Informative)

    by KimmoKe ( 267803 )
    I could write those predictions. Actually most science and technology magazines have already printed similiar predictions for years now. If I type something BOLD like that also, will it get posted on Slashdot too?
  • by LordOfYourPants ( 145342 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:06PM (#4785502)
    In the year 2012:

    Junis will upgrade to a 386

    Jon Katz II begins writing articles for slashdot. His premiere article: What caused Columbine to happen II? A 37-part epic.

    Stephen King and Alan Thicke will still be dying on a daily basis, missed by all.

    The hole will increase in radius by 3m.

    The (meta)-moderation system will still be broken.

    E-paper will be coming out "real soon now"

    The "How about a beowulf cluster of these?" joke finally gets played out.

    Mozilla supports yenc decoding.
    • The "How about a beowulf cluster of these?" joke finally gets played out.

      But the "all your base are belong to us" variations will still be going.

    • Cluster (Score:3, Funny)

      by willpost ( 449227 )
      "The 'How about a beowulf cluster of these?' joke finally gets played out."

      Steve Ballmer will be chanting:
      Distributed !
  • by Freston Youseff ( 628628 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:09PM (#4785513) Homepage Journal
    In the year two-thousand and twelve, we will have inexhaustable electricity sources, flying cars, commercial zeppelin transports, jetpacks, a non-crashable Microsoft Operating system and of course SPAM(TM) that is edible.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They've always been promising us moving sidewalks. Why can't They keep their promises?
  • Speech Recognition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:11PM (#4785521) Homepage
    I can see it happening to some extent - I mean, the algorithms used are really unreliable, but given time, I can see it becoming usable. However, I take issue with the way he think it will be presented. AI will not be advanced enough, IMHO. You won't say "How far to nearest gas station", you will probably be more limited in how you can ask your question. It might be close to "Car, distance to gas station, nearest" or some other limited syntax. I preface it with 'car' because you have to have some way to let the car know the question is directed at it.
    • No way, you'll say, "computer", not "car". You wouldn't be speaking to the car, but to a computer. Like in Star Trek, they call it 'computer,' and not 'ship.' ;)

      Either that, or you'll give your car's computer a name and use that. "Chitty, give me directions to the nearest movie theatre."
    • That is one problem Star Trek never fully explained away... how the ship's computer knew it was being addressed rather than the character asking the question of another person in the room. Frequenly, the character would address it as "Computer", but far too often that command was skipped and it still worked.
      • by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) <> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:21PM (#4785569) Journal
        Nah, when they spoke to the computer, it was always much louder, and if they were alone in the room, always rhetorical.
      • by marcsiry ( 38594 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:25PM (#4785584) Homepage
        The characters, in the interest of drama, usually furrowed their brows, looked up at no one in particular, and assumed a deeper, "commanding" tone to their voice when addressing the computer.

        Perhaps the computer uses a recognition algorithm based on all these factors to know when someon is talking to "it." My cat apparently has similar algorithms programmed in- I can speak in a conversational tone all day, even to a telephone, and the cat won't respond- but the moment I assume my "talking to kitty" voice, it snaps to attention.

        Another interesting question about the ST computer- how did it route the person-to-person commnications before the individual spoke the receipient's name? You'd often here Picard's communicator pipe up: "Riker to Picard- you should come up to the bridge," or some such line.

        One presumes that the communication did not go to everyone on the ship, only to be cut off when the word "Picard" was spoken. I always assumed the computer cached the outgoing communication until it was determined whom it was going to, and then retransmitted; the result should be a 1 second lag on the return to represent that, unless the computer subtly timeshifted the entire conversation to pad the lag into the spaces normally between words.
        • Isn't it obvoius?

          "Riker to Picard- you should come up to the bridge,"

          The computer just waits untill it hears 'picard' and then sends the message with a lag. The real question is what happens if two people have the same name...

          As far as the computer, well, we could always tell when they were talking to it, and in 400 years a computer would probably be at least as sensitive to contextual cues as a person.

          I mean at the very least the computer should be able to interact as well as any character on the holodec.
        • by ActiveSX ( 301342 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:40PM (#4785663) Homepage
          how did it route the person-to-person commnications before the individual spoke the receipient's name?

          Ahh, this is an easy one:
        • While we're at it... how did it route "Picard to Crusher", was that Dr. Crusher, or her son? Both with authorized to be on the bridge, and both had frequent contact with the man... yet the computer would never mis-route a communication to the wrong one.
        • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @10:52PM (#4786054)
          Another interesting question about the ST computer- how did it route the person-to-person commnications before the individual spoke the receipient's name? You'd often here Picard's communicator pipe up: "Riker to Picard- you should come up to the bridge," or some such line.

          That one's easy. They do it the same way that you do, they have a time delay loop where things that haven't been processed are buffered, and they don't start forwarding the message until enough has been parsed to identify the recipient. They may also compress whitespace during catchup so that it doesn't even add any delay into the process. (Whitespace compression during speech can usually recover over 25% of the used time, so catchup would be trivial on any except the shortest messages [where it wouldn't matter anyway].)

    • You are very wrong -- limited domain natural language technology exists right now in real deployed situations. The trick is narrowing the domain. Obviously, your car wouldn't be able to tell you what the meaning of life is or what kind of mutual fund you should diversify into. But questions like the one in the article -- sure, we can do this TODAY. Putting it into an embedded environment is just an exercise in moore's law.
    • by Delphix ( 571159 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @09:04PM (#4785746)
      After our semi-intelligent voice recognition car breaks down on the side of the road:

      Driver: "This car is a piece of shit!"
      Car: "The nearest restroom is 200 miles down route 54."
      Driver : "God I hate this car, I want to kick it's ass."
      Car: "The nearest brothel is located 4,364 miles away in the state of of Nevada."
      Driver: "That's it, I've had enough of this you fucking car. I'm going to kill you!"
      Car: "Security system activated. Electrifiying body frame."
      Driver: Bzzwaaaarrrrrrzzzwaaaaaaaaaaa
    • by iabervon ( 1971 )
      Complete speech recognition will be killed in user testing, where it will turn out that people do much better with a shorthand than with complete sentences. You'll probably press a button to get it to listen to you, because buttons are much more accurate. You'll probably say "map", have it repeat it back (so you know it's understood which system you want to use), and then say "nearest gas station", and it will give directions.

      Speech recognition will be used in combination with a couple of buttons, because it will never get better than 87% accuracy on novel requests, so you'll press a button to start, speak, listen to what it now intends to do, and press a button to have it do it. 5% of the time, you'll just dial the phone yourself.
  • by Droz1313 ( 608486 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:11PM (#4785523)
    Unfortunatly, Duke Nukem Forever was cancelled again in 2011....
  • by ciryon ( 218518 )
    One of the more probable and interesting technologies is Radio Frequency ID. Many people think it'll replace barcodes within some years, but I think many people (because of lack of knowledge) will be sceptic. We're hearing so much talk today allready of mobile phones and wireless networks being "dangerous" in different ways.

  • by redfiche ( 621966 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:13PM (#4785528) Journal
    what on that list is impressive? He could've at least gone out on a small limb and mentioned fuel-cells.
  • downloads a new kernel into you.
  • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:14PM (#4785530)
    (drumroll please)
    5. computers will be much faster than they are today
    4. computers will be much less expensive than they are now
    3. programs will take much more space than they do now
    2. hard drive capacities will be much larger than they are now
    and finally... (drumroll please)
    1. there will be even more duped articles on Slashdot
    • I doubt that in 2012 the average person will have that box in the corner of their living room that they call the computer. "The network will be the computer". :D I also doubt we will be using hard drives in the same sense as today. But that wont matter cause there's no typical computer to store it in anyways.

      I wonder when the last remnants of slashdot will fade away... I could see it alive and kicking in 2012 to be honest with you. Not as it is, but at least in name and scope. I could see it being more elite and underground, too.
    • You forgot:
      • Microsoft Windows will still consume more than half of the computer's resources, even before you load any applications ... and it'll cost $10,000. (Hopefully, it won't matter because most people will have switched to Linux by 2012.)
      • Even though computers will be much more powerful, people will still generally only use them for e-mail and word processing.
      • Bill Gates announces for the sixth or seventh time since the original 1992 'Cairo' announcement, that the next version of Windows will have a database in the filesystem.
  • Hooray for RFID! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:14PM (#4785531) Homepage Journal
    If nothing else, RFID could have spared Winona Ryder her recent and very embarrassing shoplifting arrest.

    I'll say, just stick your in a conductive bag and they'll never know.

    erhaps Frits Hollings will introduce the CRFIDTPA which will illegalize bags and pouches made from electrically conductive material.
  • Anyone remember a PBS show that pretended to be a couple decades from now, reporting then current day events? I flipped in on the tail end of the show- one blurb had a couple who have never met, but got married in cyberspace, and she never wanted to meet him cause she was afraid that if she saw what he really looked like, she would be disgusted, and another blurb where a couple had a hacker controlling all of their appliances. I'm not asking if anyone else saw it so much as what were some of the other clips in that show?
  • by WillRobinson ( 159226 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:15PM (#4785539) Journal
    The car: You should not have to ask how far it is to the next gas station. The car knows how much gas you have, how many miles to the next station, and your gas millage, maybe even the terrain. It should be more like:
    Hal: John, I have determined you should not have passed that last station, maybe you should turn around now.
    Hal: John, you have two miles more before the point of no return to that gas station you passed.
    Hal: John, are you listening to me?
    John: Shut UP! You dont know i have a gas can in the trunk!
    Hal: John, yes you do, but its empty! Remember last time?
    John: Nag, Nag Nag..
  • See subject. Life's still going to suck. The planet is still going to be overrun with idiots.
    • Life's gonna suck more, once people start getting addicted to virtual reality- a digital escape that will take some portion of people with addictive personalities, and mess their lifes up quite nicely. "Hey Bobby, you sure seem depressed- why don't you slip this helmet on each and every night for the rest of your life right after you get home from work? Heck... that job's just slowing you down come to think. These little babies are solar powered anyways. Hey, just don't forget to unplug and eat every 12 hours, ok there kiddo?"
  • TV commercials (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maunleon ( 172815 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:20PM (#4785561)

    Except for special events such as the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, no one will watch TV shows at the time they are transmitted, and conventional 30-second commercials will be rare because advertisers won't pay when most viewers can hit the fast-forward button. Major broadcast networks and traditional prime-time programming will be fading, with most entertainment sold
    through either a monthly subscription or a pay-per-view fee.

    I would guess it is also possible for networks to start doing what they do during soccer games when they can't take breaks -- scroll the add on top of the programming. You could be watching Friends, with a little "Pampers" ad on the bottom. This would allow for even more commercial time, and they could sell the time to sync to various moments in a program. (e.g Rachel is playing with the baby, roll the Pampers ad. They are in the coffeehouse, roll the Starbucks ad)

    Another thing that can happen is a'la sports programming. At various times during the program, the picture would shrink, making enough space for an ad to be displayed alongside. Some people will put up with this if it means free, and you can't skip the commercials.

    See, aren't ya'll glad I'm not a network exec. :)

    If it goes away, good riddance. They have to be careful with subscription fees.. commercial TV is mostly crap, so it is hard to price it correctly. All my local stations together would probably be worth about $7/mo to me if they were to be commercial free. Can they make money with that?

  • Not quite spot on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Subcarrier ( 262294 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:21PM (#4785566)
    The Internet is everywhere -- and nowhere.

    This will take at least 15 years. People don't buy new washing machines all that often.

    All present and accounted for -- always.

    This will be in mobile phones within 5 years.

    Walk now, pay later.

    Probably unfeasible as described. More likely you will authorize payment for the item before putting it in the bag. The receiver at the entryway will only check that you don't leave with any unpaid items. 10 years is about right, I wager.

    Prime time is your time

    Not very adventurous there. 5 more years.

    Finally, we can talk to our computers

    People curse them every day, so this is already reality. ;-)

    I doubt true voice control will be there in 10 years either, unless there is a major break through in AI technology. Before that, we will be limited to simple voice keyed activation.
  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:24PM (#4785581)
    Every cable and satellite television receiver will include a hard disk for recording shows, and those disks will have a minimum capacity of one terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes, enough to store hundreds of hours of high-definition programming.

    Not bloody likely. HD Video is likely to require about 15 GB/hour to store. 1 TB of data does NOT give you 'hundreds of hours', more like 65 hours.

  • by AnamanFan ( 314677 ) <anamanfan.everythingafter@net> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:24PM (#4785583) Homepage

    "Where are my flying cars? I was promised flying cars..."

    - Avery Brooks [] (In a IBM [] commercial)
  • Every device on the net? Privacy, saftey, cost, and what the hell? Why do I need a toaster connected to the net? I just want to make some frickin' toast. If something is smart enough to be net connected, it is smart enough to be hacked. Ordinary devices could be the new invasion of privacy. And damnit! Toasters are going to be cheaper without tech, than with.

    My presence is for me to decide. I don't want anyone to know right where I am unless I tell them or they are with me. The first anyone who insists on knowing my wherebouts 24/7 (who's not my wife ;) will learn a lesson in the wherebouts of my fist.

    Smart tags wont be on price tags, they'll be built in to products. Again, I don't want little tattletales broadcasting every thing I have to anyone with a hig gain scanner. Theives will move from the store to your home. Expect that they will be illegal to remove by anyone, too.

    TV will move to a pay per show model. Product placement will be rampant, as well as the commercials (you'll get those for free, of course. ) Expect shows to be shorter, and drawn out over longer periods. Reality Based shows will most likely thrive, since many of the things they will do on TV won't be allowed in RL. Invasiveness is the key.

    Talking to my computer will still be hampered by bloated code, legislation, monopolies, and chewing with my mouth full.

    All this will be driven by companies who want you to consume more and more. Durabillity will be replaced by a throwaway society - recycling will most likely be increased, since raw materials will become scarcer, and the number of people will continue to balloon.

    See you there!

  • Most of these predictins are fairly safe. One of the most interesting is the self-checkout store. It might be hard to get the tags tamper proof. Remember that they would not merely have to get them tamper proof in terms of being to sneakily remove them, but tamper proof in the sense of preventing them from transmitting or tamperproof in the sense of having the recievers not get the signals, such as good old fashioned jamming. Some real challenges, but not out of the question entirely. The preciction that your family, etc will allways know where you are may well prove to be possible but unwanted (as may be the prediction about having your washing machine tell the company how often you are washing clothes). This is just an extension of the electronic name tags in the 1992 article. People want some privacy. It is a bit like universal picture phones. The first picture phone was demonstrated in a demonstration between AT&T headquarters and the Secretary of the Treasury in Washington. The Secretary of the Treasury was Herbert Hoover (yes, that Herbert Hoover, the technology is really that old).
  • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:32PM (#4785618) Journal
    1. Every appliance is connected to the internet.

    That would mean that internet connectivity has to be wireless and cheap. It would also require people to WANT their appliances connected to the internet. I'm sorry but my washing machine works really well right now on it's own without it bugging me to take it in or yelling adds at me. If that's why these machines want to connect (to rip me off, advertise to me, tell me i should take it into the dealer and pay more money) then I'm gonna be ready with a nice jamming signal for them.

    2. The IM prediction and online presence.

    Maybe it will be like somewhat as he says. But I sure as hell am not going to have a damn gps signal telling everyone who wants to talk to me exactly where I am. And I'm not gonna be available all the time either. My settings are gonna default to "leave me a god damn email msg and I'll get back to you when I can". Not 'here's my exact location, what I'm doing and 5 ways to page me right now'. :)

    3. Walking out of shops and the rfid tag nonsense.

    Riiight. A store with no clerks. Talk about easy to shoplift if you have your own programmable rfids. or just walk out next to someone else and charge your stuff to their card.

    4. Tivo in every home, no restrictions.

    Let's see if the mpaa + networks will just roll over for that one. My guess is it will be a crippled tivo ripoff with all sorts of DRM and palladium inside if that happens. Anything else will be illegal.

    5. Speech recognition.

    Don't know about this one. Everyone and their mother has thought this was right around the corner for the past 20 years.

    Here's my prediction:
    Corporate America will finally dispense with the play acting and be in direct control of the country. Instead of having senators from each constituency, we will have senator Disney, senator Microsoft, senator Tobacco industry, senator chemical industry. And the president will be the CEO of the country.

  • "And in a few years you'll be able to talk to your computer. You can say like 'Wash my car', or 'Clean my room'. ... Of course it won't be able to do any of those things, but it'll understand what you said."
  • by malarkey ( 514857 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:35PM (#4785633)
    The Internet is everywhere -- and nowhere. []

    All present and accounted for -- always. []

    Walk now, pay later. []

    Prime time is your time. []

    Finally, we can talk to our computers. []

    I know these things aren't all in common use today, but they are available. He could have had at least one prediction that was a little bit of a leap.

  • by dagg ( 153577 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:40PM (#4785661) Journal
    "... You'll no longer be surprised to get a call from the repair center at Sears or Maytag saying your washing machine is using too much hot water and needs adjustment -- information the washing machine has sent through the Net, without any action of your part, back to the factory where it was built."

    That sounds kind of silly. Would be kind of like the grocery store calling me up and telling me I was low on milk. Yes... it would be great to know that my washing machine is using too much hot water... but the washing machine should tell me, and not Sears.


    Fun Sex []
  • by humble ( 307247 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:41PM (#4785666) Homepage
    That year is also make or break for the Kyoto protocol and the complementary Viridian design movement [].

    I'm a bit surprised that some more thought wasn't given to how different our energy consumption patterns and transportation modes will be by then.

  • by SiliconEntity ( 448450 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:44PM (#4785680)
    His predictions may make sense technologically, but not socially. Your appliances might be on the Net, but they will only be accessible to you. Your refrigerator will notify you by email or equivalent when it needs service, not the manufacturer. People don't want their appliances talking to strangers. The owners will want to be in charge.

    Likewise when checking out in the store, you will need to explicitly authorize the purchase, otherwise you could contest it later. You will be presented with an itemized receipt based on a scan of your items, and you're supposed to look it over quickly and make sure there's nothing on there that you didn't buy. Then you do something to initiate the payment. You can't let people take money out of your account without giving approval! There has to be some action you take to explicitly authorize a certain amount to be transfered.

    With the "presence", again you will have much more control over it than he implies. You will be able to say who can find out how you are reachable. You can have filters that automatically email you when your voice mail comes in, etc., so that people with different levels of access don't necessarily know how much priority they're getting. That way you don't offend people.

    As far as ubiquitous TiVo, it depends on the outcome (both legislative and technical) of the copyright wars. You may be able to record the shows only under the control of strict DRM software that won't FF through the commercials (like the way DVD players won't FF through the FBI warnings now).

    One additional social/technical prediction I'd make is more use of webcams for business meetings, creating the virtual office. Assuming that terrorism scares keep happening, people will prefer not to travel so much, and employees will want to stay home and not come into the dangerously concentrated population areas downtown. We'll see a continued trend towards white collar workers using live video feeds to communicate with their co-workers both locally and around the world.
  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @08:52PM (#4785706)
    my counter-predictions for 2012+1

    In 2013, after you install the water limiter uncapper, your maytag washing machine finks on you and collects a reward.

    In 2013, the invention of the RFID cloaking devices (aluminum lines shopping bags), leads to whole sale shoplifting. An new chain of stores called "shop-naked" emerges, and becomes wildly popular not only as a place to meet members of the opposit sex, but because it is the only place that sells food in the city anymore.

    in 2013, stranger-on-a-train parties become an out-of control trend, with complete strangers exchanging their Presence ID tags. Thus subverting the tracking scrutiny of big brother and his computerized corporate stooges. Faced with a loss of control over ordinary citizens, President Jenna Bush imposes mandatory ID tatooing and all babies receive an injected RFID module.

  • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <> on Saturday November 30, 2002 @09:05PM (#4785749) Homepage Journal
    Imagine an office landscape of about 100 people. It will sound like a chicken farm on fire.

    Isnt handsfree silly enough to watch? Will the computer understand foul language and respond by deleting files (happens anyway if you use Windows).
  • I agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cebe ( 34322 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @09:17PM (#4785797) Journal
    I don't have any faith in speech recognition.

    I'm already using it, and it drives me nuts. When I add money to my "pay and talk" cell phone account, I am forced to use their new (within the past couple of months) speech recognition menu. I am literally answering a robot's questions, and she makes me want to bang my phone on the closest solid structure near me.

    Welcome to Rogers At&T pay as you go service, would you like to add money to your account today? Please say yes, or no.


    I'm sorry, I didn't hear you, would you like to add money to your account today?


    I'm trying to ask you a question. Please answer with yes or no.


    this is the part where I wonder if swearing at the system will make it work. Maybe it recognizes "i said yes you piece of shit android" No it doesn't (I tried), but it usually takes about 5 tries, and I get into the "add money to my account menu" where i can then use the keypad (still) to enter in my P.I.N., new card number, etc.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @09:29PM (#4785825) Homepage
    Driver: Car, how far to the next gas station?
    Car: Eight miles ahead at exit 37 there is a Chevron station.
    Driver: Is there a Mobil station there?
    Car: No.
    Driver: Are there any closer gas stations?
    Car: Yes.
    Driver: Where?
    Car: Six miles ahead at exit 36 there is a Citgo station.
    Driver: Are there any Mobil stations within the next twenty miles?
    Car: Yes, there is one four miles ahead at exit 35.
    Driver: Why didn't you tell me that in the first place?
    Car: To keep the costs of the service low to you, we present you with value-added featured placements first. By the way, wouldn't you like a larger penis?
  • Plan (Score:5, Funny)

    by tadas ( 34825 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @09:29PM (#4785827)
    1) Make predictions [] in 1992

    2) Have a lot of them turn out right

    3) ????

    4) PROPHET!!!

  • Walk now, pay later (Score:5, Interesting)

    by El ( 94934 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @09:37PM (#4785845)
    He obviously hasn't thought this one through; he's claiming that in 2012, anybody will be able to steal your credit card and then walk out of stores with anything they want, and there will be no impetus on the store to actually verify that it is you? Doesn't sound like a viable business model to me! Winona would then just claim that somebody stole her RFID and still steal from Saks!
  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @10:00PM (#4785907) Homepage
    All his assumptions are based pretty much on what we TODAY consider to be desired. The fact is, in 10 years, we'll have changed our perspective so that such things, once past the gee-wiz phase, have evolved into more mainstream appliances, that do what we want them to do, and more importantly ONLY what we want them to do.

    Everyone doesn't have a cellphone..... yet, but it seems to be getting that way quickly. You can't walk down an asile in the supermarket without seeing someone talking on the phone, usually about some useless, pointless conversation that is only occupying what free brain cells they have left, and leaving very little, if any, available for any other purpose, like not blocking the asile, or applying the brakes in an orderly fashion. More and more places are banning active cellphone use, mostly to appeal to the customers that find others yelling into the cellphone during a movie to be somewhat disruptive. And those of us who value our privacy will venture away from the option to be located anywhere at any time. The feature might exist, but very few people will probably use it, unless its necessary.

    RFID tags are great, and it makes sense to simply walk out the door and have your credit card deducted for the right amount as you do. And if you accidently walk out with something you're not supposed to, it will let you know. If it was a simple accident, you have the option to walk back in. If it wasn't, you can still run.. :) But better than the embarrasing situation where you've accidently labeled yourself a criminal because you misplaced that package of bubblegum when you were shopping.

    Cable already SHOULD be advertising free. You're paying a monthly fee for the shows, you should get them without advertising. And if not for the advertising, they shouldn't care when, or how many times you watch something. As long as you keep dishing out the monthly fee, and you will, it should make little, if any difference. Its the dependance on advertising that's biting the cable networks in the ass, hence their bitter complaints about Tivo and the like. Rid themselves of the advertising beast, embrace the PVR, restructure their budget, and life will be good.

    As for voice recognition, we got that today. Of course, there's an AI element that's lacking, but if the driver is willing to stick to a standard convention for command structure, most of what the author is predicting in 10 years could be done today with little difficulty. The simple fact of the matter is, 99% of the time, I know where the nearest gas station is. Only travellers need this information, and most intellegent travellers will fill up at the most convienent opportunity (i.e., not when they have 10 miles worth of gas left) Better for the car to simply inform me as I'm passing a gas station, knowing my destination and most likely route, that the gas station I'm passing is the least expensive one I will pass before running out of gas and therefore I should stop now to fill up. Screw asking the car about it. :)

  • by mtec ( 572168 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @10:27PM (#4785974)
    There will be a pill men (and women) can take to remove the need for shaving. Trade named Depilorex, those that take the pill will lose all bodily hair and be referred to as 'smoothies' leading them to start a cult that worships the head of Steve Balmer.

    After years of mis-understanding and accidental death, new Tablet PC's will come out that are chewable, in colorful Flintstone shapes.

    Bill Gates will be a distant memory having been killed in 2006 in a bizarre accident when his computerized bidet malfunctions (a brief investigation can find no evidence of tampering and very little evidence of Mr. Gates)

    Steve Balmer retires from Microsoft in 2005 to star and produce in a remake of the Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Mr. Balmer also becomes heavily involved with the smoothie cult as it's symbolic leader and introduces ritualistic clapping and hopping to the group before being asked to reduce his role and "just be the head"

    Terrorism is a thing of the past when, in a 2003 CIA plot, the leaders of al-Qaida are clandestinely fed Depilorex and cannot look at each other without giggling and are too embarrassed appear in threatening videos.

    The new head of Microsoft, an incomplete 6 year old Bill Gates clone hastily harvested from the scene of his death, announces (via a translator 'Mr. Wuzzy his Spokes-Teddy Bear') the switch to a new open source philosophy, introducing the new direction with a new mascot, a fuzzy green reptile called 'Opensaurus' and changing the marketing tagline of the company to "We wanna play too! "
  • by IlluminatedOne ( 621945 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @10:30PM (#4785984)
    The world ends sooner that 2012 according to this [] [] article.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday November 30, 2002 @11:35PM (#4786178) Homepage
    The Internet is everywhere -- and nowhere.

    Won't happen. "Home control" systems have been marketed for 20 years, and have never caught on. The system administration takes more time than the thing saves. How many people even use the time clocks on ovens?

    All present and accounted for -- always.

    Truckers have had this for years. You can buy it for your car now. It will be a work-related thing, not a generally used feature.

    Walk now, pay later.

    Probably not, but things will go faster at checkout.

    Prime time is your time.

    Not if the MPAA can stop it.

    Finally, we can talk to our computers

    No way. We have speech recognition now. What we don't have are systems that comprehend natural language. We're no closer to that than we were ten years ago. If you like speech recognition, call TellMe at 800-555-TELL, which offers news, sports, driving directions, phone information, and movie tickets. Try to buy movie tickets in less than five minutes of talking.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Sunday December 01, 2002 @03:44AM (#4786740)
    Speech recognition... hee hee hee...

    Can you imagine speech recognition becoming so common it gets built into every computer?

    It would be worthwhile paying for a 1U slot in a colocation facility, just to have a machine that has no purpose whatsoever, except to randomly scream out at the highest volume on it's sound card "SHUTDOWN NOW!" to the other machines...

    -- Terry

The absent ones are always at fault.