Future / Trends

More wild cards

Following up on my recent discussion of wild cards — i.e., low-probability but high-impact developments in the future — here are five wild cards discussed in brief reports by Social Technologies LLC:

Recorded Lives: Lifelogging, the use of information technology to comprehensively record and archive a person’s experiences, could become a mainstream practice, due to declining hardware costs and rising consumer interest. Life recording would build on the trends witnessed in current blog, online photo album, and video journal Web sites. (Brief GL-2007-50) Additional research here and here.

Bye-Bye Bees: Colony collapse disorder (CCD) — the disappearance of honeybees from commercial hives — is alarming but probably temporary, most experts say. But what if CCD isn’t temporary? The long-term loss of honeybees could be calamitous for agriculture and the downstream businesses that depend on it. (Brief GL-2007-43)

Chipping People: GPS, RFID, and medical implant technology have advanced to the point that it’s technologically feasible to implant advanced microchips in humans. This raises the possibility of widespread use of implants in areas such as child and elder safety, debit and credit payment, and personal medical records. (Brief GL-2007-38, and blog post here)

Genetically Modified Pets: As genetic modification advances, biotech labs could join kennels and animal shelters as sources for the perfect pet. Biotechnology could produce anything from more functional animals to fantasy creations. However, public acceptance is uncertain. (Brief GL-2007-31) Here’s a New York Times article. Already you can buy a genetically modified hypoallergenic cat ($5,950).

Legalized Marijuana: In World 1 nations, people are increasingly accepting of marijuana use. While the majority of people in World 1 believe marijuana use should be illegal, a growing minority see it as merely a lifestyle choice; this might ultimately lead to legalization. (Brief GL-2007-25) Opinions pro-and-con at the Freakonomics blog.

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One thought on “More wild cards

  1. Pingback: Electric vehicles will face stiff competition from eco-friendly gasoline-powered cars « { Dispatches }

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