Forecasting the future is not an easy task. Countless people or analysis groups have gotten it horrendously wrong over the decades and with technology evolving faster and faster now it only makes the task harder.
However there’s different types of forecasts. There’s the ones that predict a certain company will do something, say “Tesla becoming bigger than VW”. There’s general tech predictions such as flying cars becoming the norm by 2015. This isn’t what the Technology Forecaster is for.
The Technology Forecaster is a new, publicly visible Google Spreadsheet I’m releasing to help everyone review our past and preview our amazing future.
Click on the link or image above and take a gander. It’s best viewed on as big a screen as you can possibly find (ie. probably don’t look at it on your phone).
- You can look at a specific row (industry) and see how it changes over time
- You can look at a specific column (year) and see the available technologies
- You can see what technologies are forecasted to be like in the future
- You can use the information to see how future technologies may converge
A Limited Forecaster
Where as most technology predictions are usually made with generalisations such as “this company will do X” or “we’ll have Y in 20 years time” I’ve tried to take a slightly more limited – but hopefully more accurate – path.
This path aims to take the proven, historical trends of specific technologies – for example desktop CPU power – and simply extrapolate it out at the previous historic rate.
This might sound rather simplistic, however it is remarkably accurate as Moore’s Law has proven over the decades.
Historical technology advances and how long they’ve taken inherently include all the issues that have slowed things down or even made them quicker. As such, it works very well to estimate the rate the field will progress in the future.
The fact that it is limited to only predicting specific technological things also greatly helps to avoid issues to do with companies, governments or just general social norms.
The spreadsheet doesn’t try to predict what company will be the next Twitter or Facebook, which YouTube video will be the next big viral hit, what the market will do or even what Trump will do next. That’s impossible.
Instead it simply states what the technology will be able to accomplish with it’s raw, underlying power by a certain rough date. From there we can extrapolate certain other things and consequences.
Knock on effects and consequences can be notoriously hard to predict too, however some are almost certain in their eventuality. One of the top ones is peoples motivation to do what is in their own economic best interests.
When digital music downloads made music cheaper to buy it wasn’t too surprising that the majority of people transitioned over to downloading or streaming services.
While it might have been impossible to predict that Spotify or iTunes would become so huge… the technology change was quite obvious itself.
It’s in a similar light that we can therefor make relatively accurate predictions about the coming autonomous car and Transport as a Service (TaaS) transition that will be taking place over the next 5-10 years. The raw technology is there and will continue to be developed, becoming cheaper and better than today’s existing technology.
As a result, people will switch because it’s cheaper and better.
I have been building and upgrading the Technology Forecaster spreadsheet for over 5 years now. Adding, expanding, refining it, but why?
I’ve found that even with my efficient analysis of technology it’s already becoming overwhelming to keep track of everything. There’s Self-Driving Cars, Drones, Nanotechnology, Smartphones, Computers, EV’s, Home Battery Storage, Solar and Wind Power, AI and more all evolving at breakneck speeds.
All these astonishing technologies also interact and further enable one another, creating even more exponential changes and possibilities. More efficient and smaller battery technology has accelerated the EV market. Faster and lower power computers has enabled the drone market to create huge waves across the world.
Trying to predict where these technologies will be in a few years isn’t enough, you need to view them all in unison and try and calculate what will interact and enable other new things that simply weren’t possible before.
This is where the Technology Forecaster spreadsheet truly shines.
It doesn’t just give one technology type prediction, it merges them all together and on the same time axis enabling you to jump to a future time period and scroll down, viewing all the concurrent raw technologies that should roughly be available during that time period.
This allows you to better estimate what that future time period might be like and more importantly, how you might benefit from it. Is there some business or technology that currently doesn’t work but will once you can buy a ~$700 USD Desktop GPU with 32,000 CUDA Cores and 50 GB of RAM in it? Then that should occur roughly in 2025.
Using this historic, raw technology forecasting the spreadsheet also attempts to estimate tipping points. These are points in time where a technology goes from being slow, expensive, not user-friendly and just generally disappointing to being instead amazing.
An example of this might be something like email. Originally it was slow, extremely complicated and only really used by highly technical people or universities. Eventually the interface become so good and so smooth that everyday people that didn’t really know much about the underlying technology were happily able to use it and have it do what they expected.
With this general adoption email passed its tipping point and with it, gained even more abilities as email becomes far more useful once everyone has email.
These tipping point predictions are obviously a fair bit more uncertain but none the less good to have in there as they help to mark points where the world in general will undergo a very significant shift in how it does something.
Give It A Try!
So I hope you enjoy this new resource, like the Mortgage Planning Spreadsheet it is a considerable gift of effort from me to the world. A big part of this website is to not only demonstrate how bright and amazing all our futures are, but also help you prepare and thrive in it.
Go give it a try, read the very brief instructions, click on the Forecasting tab at the bottom, scroll around and then let me know in the comments what you’re most surprised and excited about for our future.
If creating this has taught me anything, it’s that the next 5-10 years are going to be truly astonishing!
The benefits include: 1) How to get those silky smooth videos that everyone loves to watch, even if you're new 2) How to fly your drone, from taking off to the most advanced flight modes 3) Clear outlines of how to fly with step-by-step instructional demonstrations and more 4) Why flying indoors often results in new pilots crashing their drone 5) What other great 3rd party apps are out there to get the most out of your drone 6) A huge mistake many pilots make when storing their drone in the car and how to avoid it 7) How to do all of these things whilst flying safely and within your countries laws.