Top 10 for the Next 10

Opinion: The long-range forecast ranges from "clouds" to "silicon emotion."

When John Jordan, the executive director of Penn State's Center for Digital Transformation, sent along his 10 technology predictions for the next 10 years, I knew I should take a few moments to read through his list.

Jordan's decision to take a 10-year look into the crystal ball is welcome. Over the years, I've come to respect Jordan as a commentator and broad thinker able to look at both societal and economic trends as well as technology advances. I've included a deeper dive into his predictions on my blog, but here's a preview of his top 10:

1. The new physical layer. The physical layer includes not only the development of computing "clouds." Special attention needs to be paid to portable power for a mobile user base and vast jump in demand for bandwidth, which may further divide digital winners and losers.

2. Enmeshed. This refers to the people (mostly under 30) who are redefining mobility through social networks, video, audio and always-on Web presence and who continue to outdistance traditional technology applications.

3. Healthy, wealthy and wired. The continued application of technology to the health care industry will range from not only additional control over one's own medical records as they relate to the public health infrastructure, but much further. The development of tech-driven mechanical joints and prostheses and interchangeable parts requires asking: What does it mean to be human?

4. Connection machines. The inclusion of cameras, vehicles and myriad other devices into information networks is just now starting.


Click here to read more about changing priorities in 2008.

5. Virtual fences. Risk, trust, identity and security will become deeply intertwined.

6. Memory and forgetting. Who will control your bitstreams, how will those streams be monetized and control of the public record of your life will be a central focus over the next 10 years.

7. The human peripheral. Keyboards and mice will give way to 3-D touch-based interfaces, new screens and even thought-controlled computer interactions.

8. Education. Preparing young people for jobs and organizational designs that have yet to be invented at schools that only exist in a virtual world presents a challenge and opportunity to traditional educational enterprises.

9. (Your theme here.) As blogging, social networking, and user-generated content proliferate, we're seeing one manifestation of a larger trend toward the delegitimization of traditional cultural authority. Whom do you trust and whom do you believe?

10. Silicon emotion. People are interacting with other people with multiple layers of computing and communications in between. The nature of emotional expression is changing as a result.


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