Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Prognostications

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you had as good a holiday as I did. I got to see family and friends, friends that are family, and had a spa experience to boot. The only fly in the ointment is the post-holiday blahs, looking at the long stretch of cold, dark, grey winter ahead. But it's only bad when I think  of it that way. Before I know it, it will be late winter, which is tolerable, at least. And, on the bright side of things, the short day is behind us, and the days are getting longer.

Forgive if this essay is disjointed or incomplete. I've a limited time window for typing, and this is all worst than first draft stuff here. Don't even get a chance to think.

In any case, I'm thinking about what's in store for 2013. I pride myself on being hip, but as it turns out, that's a false conceit. I haven't been hip since at least 1977, if then, and probably for about two weeks. (I was also beautiful then, which was good). But I do try to follow trends, or predict them, but the thing I am interested in is not the obvious trends, but the game changers, the things coming out of left field. My record is about as good as a coin flip.

There are a number of things piling up in the left field bleachers that should spill out and, I guessing maybe this year.

Various people are predicting this as the year of 3D Printing. I've noticed it for about five years. It really popped into my consciousness just this past year, what with Makerbot, and the Thingiverse, and Shapeways on the acceleration curve. Which means, since I am not hip, that 2012 was teh year of the 3D printer. Now, I don't think these things will end up on desktops. I do think you will start to see franchises like copycenters opening up. I still don't understand why there is not a 3D printer facility at the UPS and Fedex hubs in Louisville and Memphis. But I'm betting this year there will be, because...

Logistics, logistics, logistics! This is the year of all things logistic. You are going to be tired of that word when the giant comet arrives next this December. Because things are picking up, and things and materiel gotta be moved around.

I am predicting the World Go Boom. Economically speaking. A two pronged boom has been occuring and will accelerate. You got the developing world boom, and it is quite something. The beauty and problem with that is that you get only a one-time boom when a coutnry goes through development. So, the problem is doing it right the first time out. It's not going to happen in most places. (Not that there aren't still plenty of places to go boom. Myanmar is looking promising, but then what? I don't know). The second prong is the convergence of cheap robots (Rodney Brook's Baxter looks like a winner), Internet coordinations (by what Bruce Sterling calls "the Stacks", but there is hope open-source still can blossom), and finally we get to use all that fiber optics that have been laid down. So the second boom is developed world automation - again.

But don't count out leveraged booms. I'm guessing cheap solar continues to get cheaper, and the logical place for that is the developed world. So once again, I call ou attention to Africa. Maybe this is the year wher saying "It's Africa, stupid" comes true.

So, believe it or not, despite all the horseshit, I don't see how things can't improve economy-wise.

(The coin came up tails, by the way).


  1. I hope you are right. But we need to get a whole new set of talking heads and newcasters. Even when they are reporting something good, they have to put a negative spin on it. let's just get rid of the fear factor.

    1. It's a mystery why so many journalist are dumb. Strike that. Make that TV newscasters. Not all journalists are dumb, but pretty much all TV anchors are. I guess you don't have to be smart if you are pretty. In any case, I left out an important part of the developing world's leveraged boom: the shock of the old. A lot of the devices to be used are technological chimerae, hybrids of technologies ranging from 21st Cen. to, hell, mesolithic times. Take the gravity light, a LED run on grandfather clock weights as just one example. This isn't dandification at work. (Dandification is the market luxury repurposing of a product or technology on the downside of its saturation curve, like LPS and and record players, or buggie whips, or flint-knapping kits for stone handaxes). This is smart, cheap, fast exploitation of all the cool gadgets that ever existed bumping along the lower edge of optimization, and I want to see lots, lots more of this.