As it was once said by Yogi Berra “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future”. But, IMHO, still worthy to try (especially if the person has spent such a big chunk of life being the professional inventor, thus constantly keeping the eyes on the potential technological future :). So, let's take this virtual fast-forward time journey and delve into two sets of technological predictions: the long term, strategic predictions for the entire decade to come and the near-term ones, covering the relatively short one-year-length period of the 2011.
Top 10 Technological predictions for the next decade (starting w/Y2011)
- Interactive Web TV. Internet broadcasting or the interactive Web TV, especially citizen/community-driven, will dominate the market, outplacing the syndicated TV cable/air channels, pretty much same way as the current online publications are pushing most of hard-printed counterparts to the trashcan of history [1-4]
- Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will effectively penetrate the Web, in particular, in the knowledge based and scientific reasoning domains. It will force the Search Engines transformation from just data discovery tool to “Ask the Web” type of online collaboration (such systems would probably incorporate the distributed human intelligence model as well). Also, Artificial Intelligence will substantially enhance the gaming and educational technology (like development of 3D “virtual characters”  with AI capabilities)
- Commercialization of the outer space. Commercial use of the space technologies will reach the high level of sophistication. In addition to space tourism and business travelling, we would probably witness some “cosmic extravaganza” like the orbital marriages (“marriages in heaven” sorta of :), space birthday party, first implementation of space/moon cemeteries, rock concerts broadcasting from the space and movie making somewhere out there .
- Electric vehicle. Electric cars will reach the high level of sophistication, successfully competing with traditional combustion-engine vehicles in most areas. Moto sport shows will be possibly enhanced with additional electric cars racing series 
- Energy. Energy research will be eventually separated from the controversial political activism and effectively transferred from ideological domain back to the true scientific/engineering domain. As a result of this highly-anticipated move, multiple technological breakthrough could be expected in the area of energy generation (primarily solar/wind) and energy storage (primarily super-capacitor as an alternative to the traditional electrochemical batteries [13-15])
- Online education. Online public education, aka eLearning will become a dominant form in the US, effectively replacing/complementing the existing rather inefficient/wasteful excessively-bureaucratic institutionalized school-centric educational model 
- Open source software. Next decade will mark a massive transition to the open source productivity software on the both institutional/individual levels
- Facebook™ will continue to demonstrate the tremendous growth, outpacing the other online social networks and becoming the core platform/model for collaborative online activities [6,7]
- Genetic research. Additional discovery could be expected in the area of human genetic research, further identifying/quantifying the correlational/causal linkage between the certain group of genes (like DRD4 in recent reports ) and political/ideological inclinations/predisposition of human individuals.
- Science/religion convergence. Religious study and Scientific research will effectively converge, leading to substantial discoveries in several quintessential areas: origin and meaning of life, evolution (and possibly, de-evolution), material-spiritual synergy. In particular, substantial discoveries could be expected to come from the thorough analysis of certain neurophysiological phenomena/patterns (e.g. music), which could not be explained by traditional evolution theory. Others, like the quintessential Copernicus discovery of the heliocentric system, could be initiated by the critical re-evaluation of potentially unnecessary math complexities embedded in existing scientific models [11,17], leading to either extended, holistic model of the world, or, possibly, identifying/discovering the limits of human intelligence.
Top 10 Technological predictions for the Y2011 (the near future, short-term predictions)
- Internet TV, especially interactive web broadcasting, will be gaining momentum
- HTML 5 standard will be eventually supported by all major web browsers, including IE9
- Personal computers will adhere to the “Tripple-3” design principle: DDR3, USB 3 and SATA 3, accompanied by SSD (solid state disks) as an uber-efficient alternative to the traditional HDD data storage
- Facebook will demonstrate further growth and it’s actual market value will beat most of estimates
- Internet most likely will remain essentially free of regulations, though the political battle around this issue is going to be rather intensive
- Mobile data-centric application will get substantial boost, effectively penetrating business domain
- Apple™ hardware products will continue to dominate the high-quality consumer markets
- Paperless educational technologies will proliferate, gaining the general public and institutional acceptance nationwide
- Commercial space technologies will reach prominent milestones
First thing to note: the list above does not include any technological predictions in the military domain. Neither political nor economic issues are discussed in-depth (this, btw, could be a matter of a separate article).
Second thing to note: the items in the list are not pure “orthogonal” as there is certain overlapping area between various technological domains. For example, proliferation of the online educational technology in a great extent depends on the advances of the Internet, and so on.
Third: the items listed above are rather different in terms of the “confidence level” of occurrence, and their potential socio-technological and geo-political impacts. What is unambiguously clear, almost beyond any doubt is my approximately decade-old prediction, that the Internet will become (as it is now!) and will continue to be the vital instrument of the working Democracy.
Happy New Year, my fellow Americans, and New Yorkers in particular! Have a nice Holiday season and lets the best predictions/wishes to become true! :)
- HTML 5, CSS 3 and Inflation Calculator
- Rich internet applications, part 1: embedding YouTube video player into web page
- Rich internet applications, part 2: Silverlight media player
- Rich internet applications, part 3: HTML 5 video player
- Personal computer 2011: mostly USB 3.0, SATA 3.0, DDR 3 plus SSD/HDMI
- Introducing the unit of internet social network efficiency: 1 Zuck
- Internet leader 2010: Facebook. See the entire Top10 list
- Online education is a transformative force in education reform
- New York international auto show 2010: F-word is gaining momentum
- Concise introduction to number theory: rational, irrational and transcendental numbers
- Researchers Find the 'Liberal Gene'
- Green Electricity (GEL) Initiative
- Capacitive energy storage at the core of green tech revolution
- Capacitive energy storage vs electrochemical batteries
- Historical timelines and milestones: what happened on April 12th
- Happy Pi-Day (March 14)
Copyright© 2010 Alexander Bell