This year, Naseem Nicholas Taleb made a big deal out of his “black swan” theory that basically says many important events cannot be predicted. To this I say, balderdash. Balderdash, I say! All it takes to predict the future accurately is a talent for [stating the obvious]. The real challenge is in predicting the unlikely event — in other words, looking at a pile of eggs and knowing which one will hatch a black swan. In this spirit of adventure, I offer my predictions for 2008…
The World of Technology
Google will finally do something it should have done years ago – buy a controlling interest in Apple. In one fell swoop, they will eliminate the threat from Microsoft by consolidating their software and cloud computing strategies on the growing base of Apple hardware. The company will be named “Goople”, first coined by a clever blogosphere pundit. That clever blogosphere pundit will be me. Immediately upon closing the deal Goople will make all their computers, iPhones and iPods free – generating revenue from ads that are served up subliminally while listening to music and during phone conversations. For example, while talking to a friend on your iPhone about seeing your favorite band White Stripes, a mechanical voice will whisper into your ear, “More cowbell”. Sales of cowbells will skyrocket.
One week after the creation of Goople, Microsoft will release a series of Peer to Peer client applications called Microsoft Skynet that turns their installed base of windows desktops into a 300 million node super humongous cloud computer hosting mail, rich media and social networks that makes Goople’s cloud look like [this]. There will be two immediate effects of this development: 1) Goople’s stock price will crater allowing Steve Jobs to buy back the company by taking out a loan against his 401K; he will rename the company AppleGoo. 2) As part of the takeover, Jobs will inherit Eric Schmidt’s mistress in an event broadcast live around the world on Microsoft Skynet, during which she will ceremoniously don a black lace turtleneck. Fanboys all over the world will succumb to erectile overload.
John McCain will win the Presidency, becoming the oldest president in history, largely due to overwhelming voter support from other old farts like himself. His surprise victory will usher in an era of geriatric executive leadership for the foreseeable future that remakes the political landscape in subtle ways. Pundits will no longer try to trip up candidates on their liberal and conservative credentials but rather on what they had for breakfast that day. The electoral outcome will have been completely missed by pollsters due to serious undercounting of elderly voters’ intentions in phone surveys that often transpired like this:
Pollster: Who do you intend to vote for?
Voter: How’s that?
Pollster: [louder] Who do you intend to vote for?
Voter: Well, young man, if you would just stop mumbling I might be able to understand you.
Pollster: WHO DO YOU INTEND TO VOTE FOR?!
Voter: Come again, now?
Sensing the coming sea change in political fortunes, Hillary Clinton will try valiantly to remain viable by refraining from dying her hair, kicking up her heels at campaign appearances to show how “spry” she is and changing her campaign slogan to “This bird is well seasoned!” – however, these efforts will only succeed in making people hate her more.
The Global Economy
The greenback will fall to 30 cents against the Canadian dollar. As a result, Toronto will become the new center of world finance. Due to their newfound influence, Canadian culture will begin to spread around the globe [insert Canadian culture joke here]. The English language will undergo changes: house will now be pronounced “hoose” and mouse will be pronounced “moose” – causing consternation and anxiety for pest control services called upon to deal with household infestations. Concerns about Canadian hegemony will rise following a riot breaking out at a Rwandan ice hockey rink over the relative merits of Labatt’s vs. Molson.
In a stunning reversal of past trends, Hollywood will renounce its obsession with trashy celebrity and demand the return of thoughtful dramas that elevate artistic and social values. The tabloid press will jump on the ethical bandwagon and devote thousands of thoughtful copy pages to the rehabilitation of former train wrecked stars – most notably Britney Spears, who will find religion after seeing an image of St. Ignatius of Loyola in her Taco Bell chalupa. The leading Oscar contenders of the year will be a sweet comedy starring Steve Martin and Meg Ryan about a pair of crotchety senior citizens finding love in the autumn of life and a tender drama about a callow youth (Tobey Maguire) learning the ropes at the Department of Motor Vehicles from a wise older mentor (Morgan Freeman).
Then Hollywood will wake up in a sweat, sit bolt upright in bed and realize it was all just a dream.