We live in a world of absolutes: Here’s what happened. Even when we look to the future, our predictions are couched in the world’s sometimes difficult realities. It can, to be honest, take all the fun out of guess work. So, once a year I allow myself to go beyond the likely, beyond the possible and deep into the world of the implausible. What follows are my most ridiculous and unlikely predictions. Most are just nuts, but one is, to be honest, all too scarily possible. See if you can guess which prediction I’m talking about.
1. Facebook Buys Digg
Facebook’s 2012 will look a lot like its 2011: More growth, more change. Still, it hasn’t quite broken through on the content curation and voting side of things. With all the frictionless sharing people will be doing, they may no longer think about accumulating “likes.”Digg started using Facebook’s OpenGraph in 2011, which makes it easy to share what you’re reading on Digg to Facebook. As I see it, this is simply the first step on the road to a much deeper relationship. When Facebook buys Digg next year, users will get the ability to “Digg” not only profile pages, but people. That’s right, you could really “Digg” someone on Facebook. It’s so 1976, but also so cool.
I foresee another side to the Facebook universe where people, places and things are Dugg on a more generalized basis, but those Diggs bubble up to individual profile pages and appear alongside Likes, Readings, Watching, etc. There is an 85% chance that all of Digg’s existing audience will walk away from the service if this acquisition happens, but I’m not sure most of them will stay with the content curation destination anyway.
2. Scientists and Hollywood Develop New Way to End Movies
3D has pretty much flopped, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to get movie-goers into theaters. Scientists will partner with Hollywood studios to unveil a new technology known as “Fresh Ends.” Using CGI, Hollywood script writers, voice and context recognition and logic algorithms, Fresh Ends technology will generate new endings for some of the world’s most popular films. These slightly rewritten movies will be re-released to theaters — just like the 3D rereleases — and are expected to add 15- to 20% additional box office returns to each film. For now, Fresh Ends only works with movies shot digitally
3. SOPA Becomes the Law of the landMyopic congressman and a distracted president take the Stop Online Piracy Act and pass it into law. Designed, at least according to the bill, “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes,” SOPA has an almost unprecedented chilling effect on the web. Thousands of U.S. sites shut down, other larger ones continue, but are now full of boring pap that could never be misconstrued as content piracy.
Content creators of all stripes are so unsure of what will be labeled piracy they struggle to create anything. By the end of 2012, however, an underground Internet (The UnderWebs) arises. It’s full of unfettered communication and content, and slowly but surely, millions of web surfers around the world begin using it instead of the government-policed Internet — a platform that dies a sad, quiet death in 2018.