Monday, June 24, 2013

Three Predictions

Snowcrash I've been in a fair amount of trouble over the years for pointing out that Second Life is pants, so it's always a pleasure to point out that I was right and the boosters were wrong. The latest evidence of my sagacity is illustrated by a BBC report, Whatever happened to Second Life? Watch it with MOOCs in mind.

In fact, my position on Second Life was misrepresented by those who had heavily over-invested in it. I have never been against virtual reality (VR) systems. I only believed that Second Life was a too-early and unusably poor implementation of VR. With such prodigious ability to predict the future, it is clearly my civic duty to make further technological predictions, so here they are:

1. Wearable technologies will provide the eventual route to usable and widely adopted VR. This will happen through the development of augmented reality (AR) tools. Google Glass and the Pebble watch are currently the clunky and unusable AR equivalents of Second Life. That will eventually change as future generations of wearable tech appear. iPhone 1 looks pretty clunky compared with the capacities of iPhone 5, and that's only one implementation by one company. Voice control interfaces will speed this process as tools such as Siri and Google Now develop.

2. The situation we have seen with the hysteria around MOOCs will play out similarly to the Second Life story, i.e. a gradual realization that current technology has been hugely over-hyped, followed by a slow development of appropriate uses as technology continues to develop. For VR, the bridge to sanity is wearable tech then AR. For MOOCs, it will be the development of artificial intelligence/semantic technologies and expert automated tutoring systems - a return to the Socratic method.

3. I will continue to have approximately 50:50 success in predicting future technological developments. It might even increase to 51:49 if I can refrain from putting timescales on any predictions, as I have done in this post.


  1. Take your 50:50 success for a moment. Which of options 1 and 2 above would you rather have predicted correctly?

    Then we'll see what we can do. ;)

  2. I could have made more money out of (1), but (2) is more interesting.