I think the Gartner analysts are close on this one. Enterprises and governments are going to realize that much of the data classified as sensitive is incorrectly categorized and will free the data into the digital wild.
6. By 2020, the labor-reduction effect of digitization will cause social unrest and a quest for new economic models in mature economies. My ranking: 4. There is always unrest in the labor force and there is always a quest for new economic models. The effects of labor reduction will be felt most in large companies while smaller companies (local breweries versus big automated brands) and new employment categories requiring labor (installing solar panels on roofs comes to mind) will push the labor numbers into new categories.
7. By 2024, at least 10 percent of activities that are potentially injurious to human life will require mandatory use of a "smart system" that can’t be overridden. My ranking: 4. Non-overridable systems have been around for a long time (this is why we don’t cringe in fear on the elevator). The rise of digital non-overrides is intriguing. While drivers might like the idea of anti-lock brakes and collision avoidance systems, how would they feel about a system which directs your auto to the side of the road if you start to text?
8. By 2020, most knowledge workers' career paths will be disrupted by smart machines in positive and negative ways. My ranking: 5. Well yeah, everything changes us in positive and negative ways. There is no stasis except in the cold, cold ground.
9. By 2017, 10 percent of computers will be learning, rather than processing. My ranking: 4. This is one of the more interesting areas of computer design. Despite past failure (remember artificial intelligence?), systems which collect and act on data to improve a condition are one of the next big things in computer design.
10. By 2020, consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5 percent of sales from the Global 1000. My ranking: 3. Wearables will be a big deal and consumers sharing wearable data represent one of those unfolding retail opportunities. By 2020, wearables will be everywhere and will be signaling that your running shoes are wearing out before you know it.
There you go. The predictions ranged from stating the obvious to taking some chances and that is what predictions are supposed to accomplish.
Eric Lundquist is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Lundquist, who was editor-in-chief at eWEEK (previously PC WEEK) from 1996-2008 authored this article for eWEEK to share his thoughts on technology, products and services. No investment advice is offered in this article. All duties are disclaimed. Lundquist works separately for a private investment firm which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this article and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.