I am going to get way out ahead of everyone else by making my predictions for the major developments for the year 2007. They will be in my usual insane collection of categories. Also, since I am getting them out this early, I unilaterally annouce that if my predictions come to pass in the closing months of 2006, they still count!
Infectious Disease and/or Media
1. The Bush administration will use, or threaten to use, legal sanctions, including possible imprisonment, to keep a scientist, or a group of scientists, from speaking out on a scientific matter of public concern. The matter will either be an environmental issue, such as Global Warming, or more probably, the nature of an emerging infectious disease.
2. There will be an infectious disease outbreak, other than avian flu, which will cause international travel restrictions to be put into place.
Infectious Disease, Media Environment, Urban Planning
3. The economy of a major metropolis in USA will be hit hard by the effects of an emerging infectious disease. Major vulnerable metropoli in North America would be New York, due to its high exposure, and Las Vegas, due to it dependency on tourism. For Las Vegas economy to be affected, the disease will not even have to occur in Las Vegas, but affect the travel network that the tourism industry is dependent upon.
4. Infectious Disease Patterns will begin to affect Urban Planning. Or I should say, Urban Planners will become re-cognizant of the centrality of Global Health Patterns to Urbanization. As a result, the Healthy Cities initiative will gain prominence in Urban Planning.
War, Infectious Disease
5. There will be an attempt to use a disease agent by a non-state actor. Not necessarily against human populations, but perhaps against crops or livestock.
Economy, IP, Technology
6. The economy will (barely) muddle through 2007, ending the year with a slightly negative or at very best, zero growth in GDP. This is based on the infectious disease outbreak predicted above being of rather minor nature. If the outbreak is major, there will strong negative GDP growth.
7. A Wind Power company will have a successful IPO. It will not, however be a US company.
8. Technology stocks will continue to decline. In a related development, AMD will gain market share from Intel.
9. An international dispute over so-called ‘IP’ rights will rise to prominence this year, with a website in the third world or a European country being pitted against a US or Japanese based company or consortium of companies. This dispute will escalate into a media event, and perhaps spill-over into a minor trade war. The Third World and Europe will, as a result of this, develop a much stronger antipathy towards the present IP regime, which has been largely imposed on the world by USA.
10. Remember Laser discs? I pedict that the new ‘locked down’ versions of DVD drives (such as Blu-Ray) will suffer the same fate. This will not be completely clear by the end of 2007, but will be obvious by the end of 2008.
11. The SCO lawsuit will fail miserably for SCO. There will be investigations into wrong-doing by the present management, brought about by a shareholder lawsuit. The present management’s frequent public statements will come back to haunt them. As a result of the shareholder lawsuit, criminal charges will be filed against at least two of SCO’s management team. Their will also be at least one member of the SCO legal team at BSF who will be sanctioned by the bar.
First Amendment, Corporate Fascism
12. There will be a concerted attempt by a group of corporations to make actions similar to the well-publicized investigation by the board of HP during their ‘leak’ investigation legal. These efforts will be both in the form of the contracts which both board members and high level employees will be asked to sign and legislative attempt(s) to make corporations able to carry out investigations, which would otherwise be illegal, of their employees and board members. The corporations will attempt to make even the existence of these clauses exempt from disclosure, as a ‘trade secret.’ There will also be an attempt to introduce legislation to help make these practices legal, and the legislation will be attempted to be passed by ‘stealth’ in an eleventh hour amendment to an unrelated bill, possibly posing as an anti-terrorist, anti-espionage item, or as an item concerning corporate liability limits, perhaps as part of tort reform.
13. Emboldened by the Blizzard v. BnetD decision, anti-reverse engineering clauses will be entered into virtually every software EULA, software download (excepting of course FOSS) and even some hardware purchases.
14. There will be a major embarrassment to the RIAA in their lawsuits vs. consumers, but that won’t stop the number of lawsuits, which will actually increase this year. It won’t be till late or mid 2008 that the RIAA will realize the futility of this strategy. By then, alternative distribution models, such as MySpace will have gained such traction that the major labels will be unable to recover their former market presence.
F.O.S.S. (Free Open Source Software)
15. FOSS will gain traction on all fronts, applications, server OS, workstation OS, embedded space and even the consumer desktop (although progress in this arena will be modest). Especially in embedded applications and RTOS there will be much growth in offerings using Free Open Source software. Linux will not be the only player in this space.
16. Desktop Linux will continue its Wall Mart/Tiffany market penetration, being used for data centers as well as high end workstations, for the data visualization, GIS, 3D design, & the high end simulation markets. It will make a little headway on to the consumer desktop, with about 5% of consumer PC’s shipping with Linux pre-installed by the Christmas 2007 season. The number in the USA will be slightly lower, but in developing countries it will be close to 20% of consumer PC’s.
17. QNX will be released under an open source lisence, probably the GPL v3.0.
18. Stock picks: Steris (40%), Johnson & Johnson (40%), Novell (20%)
Late Additions (13 November 2006)
19. A major new zoonotic infectious disease will be discovered (happened almost every year since 1980, so I can’t go wrong here) In related developments, pigs will still be unable to fly, and the use of DRM will still fail to stop widespread copyright infringement.
20. A snippet of genetically engineered DNA will be discovered in an organism that is not its intended target. This example of horizontal DNA transfer will cause many to reconsider the need for regulation of GMO’s, and DNA sequencing technology.
Added List of Related Posts (3 December 2006, updated 26 December 2006):
1. A Post that uses the 1936 movie Things to Come to develope some principles about making predictions:
Journey to the End of the Night (H.G. Wells edition) Plus: a super bonus is a link to a downloadable movie, Things to Come, now in the Public Domain.
2. Follow up on Prediction #12, which (kind of) already came true: Prediction #12 Comes True (kind of
3. The connections I see between different processes influence my predictions, and I see some important parallels between the Sustainability Imperative and War processes. Posts that explore the many parallels between Sustainability and War Processes are: