Klossner: The next 20 years of IT? How predictable

FCW cartoonist John Klossner predicts that by 2015, Second Life avatars have better health insurance coverage, with dental, than real-life counterparts. And that's not the worst of it.

 

I was looking at the future of technology hardware while thinking about the Fed 100 awards. One thing noted in this year's 20th anniversary of the awards was the growth/change in projects over 20 years. For example, in 1991, a project was awarded for running an electronic bulletin board on air quality information using a 386 PC with 700M of data. This year, someone won a Fed 100 award for making hurricane and weather data available in Second Life.

Could anyone have imagined, 20 years ago, that in the future you would be able to go to another "world" and get the weather?

(As an aside, does this mean weather data for the real world? Or weather data in this virtual world? I wonder if anyone dressed for the wrong world. And if, as I imagine, it is for the real world, does that mean viewers go to a virtual world to get information on the real world? Oh, my head hurts. I'm going to go curl up with my rotary phone.)

When I was a kid, it it seemed like we were focused on the future. The first moon landing had just taken place, "The Jetsons" was a popular TV show, and imagery and fantasies about the future seemed to be everywhere.  What would it be like? Where and how would we live? For some reason, a picture of the Osmond family gathered around a large television viewing screen drinking Tang sticks in my head, and that particular image of the future seems as outdated as the actual world of that time does to us now.

With such a large change in projects over the 20 years -- in sophistication of systems, amount of data used, the devices we access the information from -- it would be almost foolish to predict what kinds of projects get awarded 20 years from now. And it would almost certainly seem that when that time rolled around the predictions would look as outdated as my Tang-drinking-family-gathered-around-the-giant-TV memories.

With that in mind, here's a stab at highlights from the next 20 years.

  • * 2011: All federal employees are required to participate in a social network. The most popular social network now consists of federal employees complaining about being required to participate in a social network.
  • * 2013: The Office of Luddite Affairs is established as a federal agency. Formerly known as the Labor Department (just kidding, guys).
  • * 2014: Thriving underground market causes agencies to allow employees to create virtual management legally.
  • * 2015: Second Life avatars have better health insurance coverage, with dental, than real-life counterparts.
  • * 2017: Software is developed allowing personnel to hold two or more full-time positions at one time.  Software is also developed allowing agencies to identify and pay multiple position personnel one salary.
  • *2020: All virtual employees receive pay upgrades. They will be paid in currency with image of current technology czar Larry Ellison on it.
  • * 2022: Entire agency can be recreated on a chip, which will be required to be implanted in employees. Legislation is passed requiring employees to pay for agency chips implanted in bodies.
  • * 2025: The virtual DOD Christmas party is better than the actual DOD Christmas party.
  • * 2027: Chips implanted in bodies of employees now let them know what the special of the day is in agency cafeterias.
  • * 2029: Web 35.0 technologies now gain favor in federal circles. All employees at G-9 and above are allowed to disapparate. They refer to Web 34.0 technologies as "so old school."

Since predicting the future is a no-lose situation, please feel free to submit a few of your own.

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