Sometimes it’s difficult to know what happened yesterday and predicting the future is anyone’s guess. Here are some long range guesses mostly related to arts and entertainment.
1) National styles will disappear and styles with no link to geography will emerge. Renaissance festivals, reenactments, candle making, South Pacific dance, and Geishas will be preserved in museum-like settings supported by some passionate individuals and subsidies. What does it means anymore to be a “French” or “Cuban” style painter? With global access to ideas (and materials) we no longer learn only from our neighbors. Traditions in food will be the last to fuse. Common experiences and practices will become more global but also more fractured. You may find more in common with people scattered across the globe who shares the same hobbies and musical tastes, than with the other people at your bus stop.
2) Aging population in western nations will create more of a demand of entertainment and have more of an influence on what is produced. Today, older people buy more music than teens. The key word is “buy” and the smart marketers will cater to the paying customers.
3) China will be an emerging force in the entertainment world. As the Chinese gain wealth and leisure time, they will increasingly consume entertainment. Today, much of their entertainment is an import. As a country with a rich history, they have their own stories to tell. Expect the Chinese to start exporting their values by telling their own stories.
4) E-readers will give traditional newspapers and magazines a run for their money, but paper books will endure and we will continue reading for enjoyment. However, ebooks offer the opportunity to transform the media. They will begin to be designed with color, interactive features, hyperlinks to footnotes, 3D rotatable diagrams, audio and videos etc.
Books and movies may start to merge allowing the user to pause the action and to read more about a character or a situation. Imagine having the chance to affect a story by choosing a local restaurant where the characters will have their fight scene. While you watch you can check the Zagat rating, look at the menu and order your dinner, or see what else happening down the street, and overhearing what is happening nearby by scrolling to another table. Of course all this takes a lot of effort to create and will have to be paid for somehow. Will you tolerate an ad for soft drinks while in the midst of a page turner? Will the phrase page turner lose it meaning? What will we put on our book cases?
5) Creating movies will be a new form of literacy. We all know how to watch, but do you know how to make and edit a video? Youtube type of sharing is here to stay, so much of the information we gather is through short sound bites. Making a video is more than pointing a camera and pushing the red button – refining our ideas to a few words is more important than ever when using a format that can spread. Now anyone who has a computer and can type can make an animation with Extranormal software, but currently all the characters that you can choose have sarcastic sounding voices.
6) Cloud computing have a chance of storms. Cloud computing allows data and software to reside on remote servers instead of your own pc. It has many benefits but may cause some problems especially related to automatic and unannounced upgrading. Its like every time you go to cut your lawn, you find a different lawnmower in the shed. Sometimes gas, sometimes electric, sometimes self propelled, sometimes your catcher fits, sometimes not. Dynamic changes to software means you find a different tool each time you logon? Will it be compatible, will the learning curve constantly throw curves?
7) The spot light will continue to shrink and so will the message. News organizations don’t have the resources to cover more than the most entertaining newsmakers, increasing competition for attention. How do we get accurate and useful information that’s relevant to us with so many sources? This lifts the elevator speech to a higher floor. The shorter we can refine our message, the more effective it can be – as evident by all the attention paid to those 140 character tweets.
8) When the economy recovers, sadly not every boat will rise with the tide. Some people will be left behind if they do not develop and maintain the skills to be competitive. Creativity is needed more than ever.
9) What are your predictions?