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Taking Cisco’s “futurists” to task

My regular readers know how much fun I have debunking top ten lists and predictions for the future. I normally spend the first few weeks of January chiding the various prognostications published by online and print journals. So let's get down to it!

Cisco futurists decided to share their five predictions for the future. Yes, that's right. Cisco employs actual "futurists." I'd love to see the job description for that one. And how does one get fired from such a job?

Every so often when I speak at some event, I am introduced as a futurist. Let me give you a prediction now: In the near future, I will lose my car keys in the house and it will take me a while to find them. Whew! That was a tough one.

Anyway, Cisco has a couple of guys predicting the future. The blokes are Dave Evans, chief futurist, and Guido Jouret, chief technology officer for emerging technologies.

A reporter for the Silicon Valley Business Journal writes of Evans:

"There will be more like me in the future," was one of the first predictions he offered when we exchanged greetings at the dinner where he talked about Cisco's "Internet of Everything" campaign. That is a vision of the future in which most things – cars, lamps, pipes, even cows – will be sharing data over the Internet.

To begin, I cannot imagine a moo-cow actually "sharing" data over the Internet. It's possible that some animals will be chipped for one reason or another, but the cow itself isn't about to share anything.

So I already know that Evans is out there and his predictions should be interesting. He goes on to forecast:

300 is the new 150: People are talking about living for 150 years. NO! According to the futurists, it's 300 years. My back hurts thinking about it. Here is the clincher: Supposedly someone who is alive today will hit the 300 mark. Really? I'd take that bet, but I'd never collect. This is just bullcrap.

We will carry healthcare data devices in our bodies: Yeah? So what? We almost do now and this is not much of a futurist idea since all this is in development. Not very futuristic at all.

After a great start, watch how fast these predictions fade.

Health diagnoses served up ATM-style: This apparently predicts medical expert systems will be in full play. This has been predicted forever. Another dud, if you ask me.

In-store marketing video surveillance: Again, this is something that has been discussed here and there and will probably never be implemented, although it sounds interesting. It says that some stores will put cameras everywhere and then scrutinise your activity to sell you more crap. Feh!

So long Fed Ex, hello 3D printing: It appears that everything will be made at home with the handy 3D printer. In what year? 3250? Don't get me wrong, 3D printers are great. But to imagine that they will be printing your next digital SLR camera with a set of lenses is just plain crackpot. Even if we got to the point where a 3D printer could manufacture semiconductors and glass lenses, how long would it take to make a one-off? It's fun to think about but too futuristic, as far as I'm concerned.

My overall grade for these fine predictions: D+

Thanks for playing.