Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ten Predictions for the Next Ten Years

I didn't do so well in 2000 when I made predictions for the coming year; a year later, I determined that only one of my seven predictions came true.

I'm ten years older and wiser, and I guarantee, triple your money back, that at least 3 of this years predictions will come true. In 2000 I didn't have Twitter to try my first draft on.
  1. The number of public libraries in 2020 will be less than half today's number. Addendum: the number of public library locations will be 50% more in 2020 than today.

    I will write a full post about this, but I believe the driving force for this will be e-books and book digitization, and the result will be consolidation, outsourcing and shuttering of public libraries. Update: I've written a full post.

  2. By the end of 2014, the world's largest aggregation of bibliographic metadata will not be WorldCat. By 2020, no one will care which aggregation is largest.

    Currently, the growth curve for LibraryThing makes it look like it will pass WorldCat in a few years. SerialsSolutions' Summon is definitely in the running. Google can't be discounted. But by the middle of the decade, the size question will seem silly, sort of like "What's the largest computer chip in the word?" or "Who has the most powerful nuclear bomb?" In 2010, we don't care about these questions. In 2020, data quality and currency will be much more important than data completeness. Also, see my article on "When are you collecting too much data?".

    Thanks, @DataG for the comments!

  3. In 2020, general purpose quantum computers will not be useful for any purpose.

    If there's one thing I learned from doing physics, it's there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. If you spend a billion dollars on quantum computing, you might be able to factor an unfactorable integer or two by 2020.

  4. Open Linked Data will hockey-stick in 2012 on standardization of of quad (named graphs?) transport.

    I've been meaning to write more about quad transport, but if you read my article on Pat Hayes' Surfaces, Leigh Dodds' article on Named Graphs, and the DERI proposal on N-quads, you'll know more than I do.

  5. In 2020, the search engine era will be ending. Search engines will give way to less centralized "knowledge fabrics".

    Search engines have a specific topology: spiders pull in data from millions of distributed sites and add it to one big pile that can be searched on. This topology works great if what you want to do is search, but have you ever noticed that Google can't count? Understanding the connections in rapidly changing data will require new topologies and new business models. In 2020, we'll know what they are.

  6. In 2020, China will be seen as having a more modern, sensible, and practical copyright regime than the US.

    In 2010, China has a poor reputation enforcement of Copyright. China will certainly mature in this respect, but to expect it to adopt the regime currently prevailing internationally is to ignore the best interests of China. I think that China will look to the original intent of the US Constitution and invent a copyright regime optimized "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

  7. In 2020, more than half of the book industry's revenue will be facilitated by a Book Rights Registry.

    The Book Rights Registry that would be created by the Google Books Settlement Agreement is too good of an idea to be tied to the settlement agreement. It will happen whether the settlement is approved or not. People will complain about it... all the way to the bank. Note that my prediction uses the indefinite article. There may be more than one book rights registry!

  8. In 2020, the New York Times will be profitable, and will not have gone bankrupt.

    It's easy to predict that the newspaper industry will contract- it's already happening! But the New York Times is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the market gaps that will open when local newspapers fail. Because they do expensive original reporting, they will have little competition. Because they're family-controlled, like Ford, they won't fall victim to the stupidities of the equity markets.

  9. In 2020, Twitter will be a distant memory; Facebook will still be with us.

    Facebook has demonstrated ability to purposefully evolve and extend. Twitter seems not to understand itself. While my neighbor David Carr thinks that Twitter Will Endure, his argument applies to the idea, not the company. Twitter the company will be squeezed between multipurpose networks like Facebook on the high end and non-proprietary protocols on on the low end.

    Thanks, @CodyBrown for the comments!

  10. On January 1, 2020, when I review this list of predictions, I will use a Mac to do it.

    It's been almost 25 years that I've been using a Mac. Do you really think that the mythical Apple tablet of 2020 will not be a Mac?

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