Question 151 of 365: How do we predict the future?

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Everyone is trying to devine the next big thing. Reading the tea leaves on Twitter or letting the alerts drift in to the inbox of your choice. We are all looking to get in on the ground floor of the next version of the web (3.0, 3d, etc.). We are looking for what could be, in every cute logo or interesting color scheme.

I keep thinking that I will know it when I see it, too. I look back on what was the next big thing, and I knew it then, right? I saw Google way before they were Google. I was searching with them back in high school. I should have just invested in them when they went public. I didn’t, though, and so many other people are in the same boat. And that is why we keep looking for the next Google.

That’s not the only reason, though. We keep looking because we want to know the future. We are looking for reasons enough to invest our time or effort, if not our money. But we keep looking in the same places. We are looking toward app stores and startups with vowels missing.

Predicting the future requires a little bit of crazy. It isn’t going to be the same companies, although they will be major players. It will be someone that sees something completely different from the same set of rules and situations.

While I know this isn’t going to be it exactly, here is something that the future might be:

There are a special glasses for making things appear to be in 3d, but I believe that there are new glasses coming. I believe that there are glasses that block out every other frame of a movie. The reason they do this is because there are two movies playing, interlaced so that the glasses will display only one and block out the other. The sound will match for the one you are watching. You will be able to sit in the same theatre or in front of the same screen and watch two separate films.

This is crazy talk. It doesn’t exist, nor will it. There are two many unanswered questions. There are too many things that don’t make sense about something like this, but this is the future. The future of ridiculous technology that seemingly is more intrusive and convenient at the same time. These glasses are impractical. They are the unfortunate offspring of wanting to be completely immersed by the media you are consuming and wanting to be with others who are interested in being with you but not in consuming the same media that you are.

The future is in sharing the same space but not the same experience. The future is in finding connections without having to know all of the same people or the same facts. Differentiation is the future, whether that is with glasses or with a single online profile that knows more than it lets on.

The next Google is going to be the first company to let people be who they are with one another. They will present technologies to get people together. People have been trying this for years, but it is the one thing that is still severely lacking. The physical devices have presented screens to separate our learning and understanding. The ones that are coming are ones that bring it all together.

The ones that have already had their shot at this rather elusive prize probably won’t get it quite right. Google, Apple and Microsoft pay lip service to the future, but they really are trying to shore up the markets that have made them profitable. They won’t see someone coming up on the outside with a crazy gadget such as those glasses. They will see it as something that can’t possibly catch on, and then once it does, they will try and copy it or buy them out. But it won’t work this time. This time, the future will be too interested in creating itself anew. And it will.

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