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Peering Into the Crystal Ball

As we head into 2002, we inevitably wonder what lies ahead. And while making predictions, especially about technology, can be a tricky endeavour, there are some progressive and sound views out there that merit attention. In the spirit of the New Year, we have rounded up a few sites that offer some interesting views on technology and business trends for next year and beyond.; forecasting the future

December 1, 2001  

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For more than 30 years, the Institute for the Future (IFTF) has been forecasting technological, demographic and business trends. Based in Silicon Valley, CA, the Institute is an independent, non-profit research firm specializing in long-term forecasting, alternative futures scenarios, and the impacts of new products and next-generation technologies on society and business.

The Institute’s site features a variety of information, research and reports on several topics. Most notable is its “Emerging Technologies” program, which conducts studies for firms in such areas as telecommunications, computing and communications, Internet, e-business, biotechnologies and bioinformatics.

Another interesting feature of the site is its library, which includes an array of articles and briefs about technologies and trends to watch.

exploring tomorrow

Calling itself “an early look at tomorrow’s world”, Emerging Future is a site written and maintained by futurist Mike Adams — a technology innovator and creator.

The site aims to explore future technologies and their social repercussions in the hopes that the more we think about the future today, “the better we can create the future we want for our children.”

The site features a collection of articles and news items — with topics ranging from satellite radios to growing plants on Mars. It also features book recommendations and a links section.

technology trends

In 1983, Daniel Burrus identified fiber optics as the broadband medium of choice. In 1984, he predicted the sequencing of the human gene code by the end of the century. And in 1985, he was already looking ahead to interactive television (Web TV).

Needless to say, it might be worthwhile having a look at the site belonging to Mr. Burrus, who is a technology forecaster and the founder and CEO of Burrus Research Associates of Hartland, WI, a research and consulting firm that specializes in global innovations in science and technology.

The site features a sampling of his seminars and keynote presentations, in addition to quotes, predictions, a suggested reading list and a good technology links section.

making predictions

An interesting place to get a look at technology predictions is on the site belonging to Battelle of Columbus, OH, a non-profit corporation that serves industry and government in developing new technologies and products.

On its site, the company’s team of technology forecasters provides insight into the technological innovations that it believes will spell success for industry and government in the future.

The site features a good variety of “Top 10” predictions for the decade. Have a look at the “Top 10 Technologies by 2005”, the “Top 10 Most innovative Products by 2006, and the “Top 10 Challenges and Opportunities by 2008”.

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