Friday, November 18, 2005

The World in 2006

At a time of the year when most newspapers are busy writing their retrospective accounts of the past year, the Economist publishes an outlook of what it expects to happen in the next year - always fun to read (available online but you have to pay for most articles).
From the editorial:

In 2006 records will be broken and landmarks reached in diverse domains. For the first time, Homo Sapiens will be more urban than rural. For the first time, too, the Royal Shakespeare Company will perform the Bard's complete works in a single season. Singapore Airlines will fly the new A380 superjumbo, the world's biggest passanger jet; in Japan, the world's biggest bank will be born; the highest railway will open in China. The largest-ever global television audience will watch football's World Cup final in Berlin [...]

They have a few technology related articles; on the business side of things, guest author Nikklas Zenström (Skype) expects "connectivity" to be the trend of 2006. Another article talks about computer gaming and predicts a greater diversity of controller, games tailored to more casual gamers, a lot of games based on film franchises and more marketing to lure more people to start gaming. There's also an article on Blogs that predicts the rise of brands in the blogospher - a small number of blogs with a large impact. These brands will give at least a resembling of order and accountability to the blogosphere. The author expects traditional media to be challenged by blogs and sees the need for them to find "creative ways of drawing on the proliferating sources of content and channels of distribution". On the science pages they predict a rise of interest in "Mirror Neurons" and "Spintronics" (the usage of the electrons spin in addition to the its charge in computing). There is also an article on Negropontes "One Laptop per Child" association.

Overall the moot of the predictions is less positive than in the past years - the economist sees quite a few challenges for the next year.