Predicting the future

Whatever happens...

This is my first in a series of posts from my presentation at the Nordic Media Festival. I will tag them all with “NMF”, so that you can easily find all of them through the “Category Cloud” in my right sidebar.

I start the presentation talking briefly about how difficult it is to predict the future of technology. Using an example from the fantastic commercial in an old computer magazine that I found. Saying anything close to “whatever happens in the future, it’ll fit into this space” is bound to look ridiculous after a couple of years.

But is there something that is easy to predict? Something that we can take for granted when we try to figure out what will happen? I think there are.

Better quality

The quality will be better. If you can stream video over the internet today you can stream it with better quality tomorrow. If you can snap pictures with your phone today you can take pictures with a higher quality tomorrow.

Forcing us to think about issues like “what will happen when everybody can record broadcast quality video on their mobile?”. Following this rule, of course “broadcast quality video” will also be better. We will go from standard definition to high definition. But at some point the quality is “good enough”. An important factor to watch as well. Sony and Phillips failed to understand that CD quality is “good enough” when they decided to spend huge amounts on Super Audio CD.

In the quality discussion you should always keep an eye on what people really want. With the audio question they did not want better quality. They wanted higher availability. And started buying MP3-players…

More possibilities

If you can listen to audio on your computer today you can watch video tomorrow. If you can snap pictures with your mobile today you can record video tomorrow. Simple and very obvious. Still quite difficult to predict. Not the technical part, but again – what people really want.

Better knowledge

People will know more. They will demand more. It will be verry difficult to fool your audience. They will redesign your webpage and build services with your content before you can spell greasemonkey.


Region codes for DVDs was a bad idea in 1996. Dividing the internet into different countries is simply ridiculous. Know your audience. Know your local advantage. But don’t try to lock people out. They will break your virtual border.

Next chapter
In my next post from this presentation I will discuss the convergence of devices. The fact that this convergence of devices leads to an abundance of user situations.

Feel free to comment or contact me if you have more factors that you find easy to predict.

Predicting the future

4 thoughts on “Predicting the future

  1. Pretty sure that new products/functions will cost more when introduced to the marked than after a while. So price is a factor most people would have in mind before buying new stuff. This will be the same in the future, don’t you think.

    If you take the example with Super Audio, it could have been predicted at an early stage. Just by testing the marked on how they would respond both to the price and the product quality.

    “After sunshine there will be rain, after lafter there will be pain, this things has always been the same, so why worry now…” (Dire Straits). So If you spend your money as the first person ever, you have to spend much money……all the time….

    Good Enough is probably where most people will stand in line!

  2. You are touching one very important issue of working with research and development. Being first is not always best.

    Not as a consumer and not as a company…

  3. These drawings (Fig: Better knowledge) that you have in some of your articles. Is it yours?

    If so, can you make a small tuturial on how you make them?

    They are pretty cool!

  4. Yes, the illustrations are my own slightly childish pen. Haven’t really done any serious drawing since I was 14 but have taken it up lately to be able to make my own illustrations. I really hate clipart…

    I will make a quick tutorial when I make my next illustration. To put it short, they are drawn with a black pen on white paper. Then scanned and imported into Photoshop where I add colour, gradients, shadows and simple effects.

    My biggest and most popular work so far would be this one:
    How Bob the millionaire became a pirate

    But I am also proud of the fact that Om Malik actually used one of my illustrations on his very popular blog:
    Illustration at Om Malik’s blog

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