“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Yesterday, I stumbled upon details of a new book coming out from John Battelle, the co-founder of Wiredentitled What we Hath Wrought which will, according to his blog, “give us a forecast of the interconnected world in 2040, then work backwards to explain how the personal, economic, political, and technological strands of this human narrative have evolved from the pivotal moment in which we find ourselves now.” So, I tweeted out an interview from 2011 with Brian Solis asking Battelle about the book.
Then, to my surprise, someone on Twitter commented that 30 years into the future is too “far-fetched,” as he believes that we really can’t correctly predict what’s going to happen in 5 or 10 years in the technology industry. Fair enough. But with 2012 drawing to a close, I’ve already noticed some of the 2013 technology prediction blogs surfacing on the web. So, it’s got me thinking. How far into the future can we really predict what’s going to happen with emerging technologies?
Should we even bother trying to predict what’s going to happen (even a year from now) at all? Or, are all prediction articles, books and blogs merely “sex and fluff,” as my Twitter commenter put it, that sell well or get re-tweeted frequently (guilty as charged)?
I still think it’s worth it to provide a vision of what might happen. It can only help others to dream up new ideas that push the envelope even further. But maybe I’m just one of a small few who likes to think about that stuff. What are your thoughts? Please share your comments below.
I was chatting with someone at a party about a month ago about what Ontario needs to help kick-start our already budding technology industry into high gear and make us even more like “Silicon Valley North”. We got on the topic of why there needs to be a GO Train service from Waterloo to Toronto – just like the Caltrain in California from Palo Alto to San Francisco. The distances between these cities in California and Ontario are very similar and having a train from Waterloo to Toronto would tie the cities closer together – with Waterloo as an R&D technology hub and Toronto as a major business center in Ontario.
Someone from Metrolinx must have been listening in on our conversation – or at least had the idea before we did. A week ago, I read the good news that GO Transit announced that it will be expanding rail service on the Georgetown line to Acton, Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo by the end of 2011. Until this happens, you can only take the GO Train as far as Milton from Toronto and then you have to take a bus or drive from Milton to Waterloo (see the Google Maps image above).
Having just left a very large technology company that had offices in both Toronto and Waterloo, I am very much aware of the challenge in commuting between the two cities for meetings. I had a co-worker who lived in Waterloo and took a GO Bus to Toronto at 5am every morning to come in to work. I can’t even fathom what his commute must be like every day. We also had clients in Waterloo and we had to rent a car to drive there from Toronto every time we wanted to go for a meeting. It’s not that driving is so bad but having a train would be so much better for getting work done while commuting. It would also make for a much more enjoyable commute in harsh winter weather.
I believe that building this train is a major leap forward towards making Toronto/Waterloo a world-class technology and innovation center. A major parallel between Toronto/Waterloo and San Francisco/Palo Alto is their proximity to high-profile technology universities in Waterloo and Palo Alto (Stanford). I truly believe that building this train will attract more technology companies to set-up shop in Ontario.
Please share your thoughts on what else you think is needed to make us a true “Silicon Valley North”?