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Sci-Fi

BT's Predictions for the Future 492

Saluton_Mondo writes "BT describes the future as looking "ever more exciting each year"... you won't be surprised if you read their white paper on a timeline of technological development in various aspects of human culture, running up to about 2100. It's a bit out of date, but still pretty funny. Some are reasonable predictions, like the introduction of ID cards in the UK by 2010, or the rise of an American dictator in 2000. Others are just funny, like an orgasm via e-mail in 2010, or a security Barbie which searches for lost offspring. I'll not even mention the emergence of the Borg in 2040... see what you think."
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BT's Predictions for the Future

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  • *Yawn* (Score:2, Funny)

    by Genghis9 ( 575560 ) *
    Predictions of the future are so passe
    • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:20AM (#7608068) Journal
      You're just bitter because I won't give you a lift in my flying car after you drunk too much synthi-hol and puked up your food pills all over the back seat.
    • Re:*Yawn* (Score:5, Funny)

      by Decaffeinated Jedi ( 648571 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:39AM (#7608166) Homepage Journal
      For a bit of future-gazing satire, I would highly recommend Scott Adams' The Dilbert Future. I guess it's about five years old now, but it's a great book of what amount to short essays predicting future trends with Dilbert comics interspersed throughout. Predictions include:
      • Life in the future will not be like Star Trek.
      • On average, Induhviduals (sic) who are alive today will experience 80 years of complaint-free living. Unfortunately, they'll live to 160.
      • In the future, Internet capacity will increase indefinitely to keep up with the egos of the people using it. Cost will not be an issue.
      • In the future, filty, perverted hobos will refer to themselves as telecommuters, until someone points out that they aren't being paid.
      • In the future, kids won't have access to online pornography, because X-rated Internet sites will be clogged by horny adults who have more patience.
      • In the future, computer-using men will be the sexiest males.
      Okay, so maybe that last one is a bit far-fetched. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It always seems these sort of lists are exaggerations. It isn't inevitable that all this technology will be created.
    • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:31AM (#7608124) Journal
      Or also exagurate the usefulness of the items predicted - not this list specifically, but in general. Take flying cars, for example. The first person - or the first few early adoptors - to get a flying car would have fun for a while, then they'd end up being regulated, traffic lanes would be created, and it'd be like The Fifth Element.
      • by jacem ( 665870 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @01:40PM (#7610199)
        Is that after you have an accident, stalls or run out of gas the vehicle still has to land on something. It will bring a whole new meaning to the phrase multi car pile up. Air travel is very restrictive about where one can and cannot fly for a reason.
        The early adopters would fall under the FAA immediately because safety concerns are so great that flying cars would simply be regulated as private planes.


        JACEM
  • obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by mOoZik ( 698544 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:07AM (#7607991) Homepage
    Looks like they didn't predict it would be a good idea to upgrade their servers.

  • hello? (Score:5, Funny)

    by _UnderTow_ ( 86073 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:08AM (#7607994)
    "I'll not even mention the emergence of the Borg in 2040."

    Isn't that what you just did?
    • It's called irony. Have some coffee.
    • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:24AM (#7608089) Journal
      .. crash of the Borg's OS after applying the latest MS patch, crippling the collective. The borg themselves are quickly 'rescued' by the Weyland-McDonalds corporation and put to worth behind fast food counters across the solar system. Meanwhile, the Borg Queen, deprived of her power base, becomes a cam-whore, running her own pay-per-view website.. slogan.. 'Come and watch me assimilate barely legal teens.'
  • by The One KEA ( 707661 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:09AM (#7607997) Journal
    You can read about them here [privacyinternational.org], at the Privacy International Web Site.
    • Question (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pubjames ( 468013 )

      Question: Why is it that many people in the UK are get so upset about the idea of national ID cards, when nobody seems to mind (or notice) other even more "big brother" things that go on in the UK, such as the national grid of video cameras on every street corner and road?

      • Re:Question (Score:4, Informative)

        by The One KEA ( 707661 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:24AM (#7608083) Journal
        Disclaimer: I am not a U.K. citizen.

        As for their complaining, I think that network you describe has been successfully explained away as a method to protect people from crime. I.D. cards on the other hand can't be explained away so easily, which is way people are complaining about them.

        The link I gave talks about it in greater detail.
      • Re:Question (Score:3, Interesting)

        CCTV is going to be more like 'Little Sister' compared to the proposed ID card system. In 15 years time we'll all be forced to carry ID cards containing biometric information linked to a centralised database. And have to pay 40 (70USD) for the priviledge.

        And yet no-one can answer the question: what form of ID will I need in order to get an ID card? eg Will a forged Turkish passport do?

      • Or more curiously (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Channard ( 693317 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:39AM (#7608161) Journal
        Question: Why is it that many people in the UK are get so upset about the idea of national ID cards, when nobody seems to mind (or notice) other even more "big brother" things that go on in the UK, such as the national grid of video cameras on every street corner and road?

        Or more curiously, why did none of the national press seize upon the fact that the London Council's webcams were mysteriously out of action wherever a war protest was taking place, either when the president visted recently or when the whole Iraq war thing started? And no, I'm not wearing a foil hat - check out http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/34062.html or http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/29883 .html

        • That's Transport for London, not the "London Council" (I think you mean Greater London Authority). The mayor of London was involved in the protests, so I don't see any conspiracy here.
      • Re:Question (Score:2, Insightful)

        by azzy ( 86427 )
        Because when we've been filmed all day long, and then we get stopped in the street, the police still can't work out who we are because we have no ID.

        Actually I think the entire ID argument is a little more complicated. We /do/ have ID. We have birth certificates, natinal insurance cards/numbers, passports, drivers licenses (without photos til recently), death certificates even. But what we don't have is a law telling us to carry them. It is not a crime to not have ID on your person. It is not a crime to no
      • You should perhaps make it clear to non-UK readers that there aren't cameras on literally every corner, and nor are they really connected together in a national grid.
  • by mattjb0010 ( 724744 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:10AM (#7608006) Homepage
    So anyone wanna build 802.11 into this [bbc.co.uk] ?? [bbc.co.uk]
    • Cool, now I can spend all night playing savage [s2games.com] and still satisfy the woman I love.

      Although 802.11 doesn't sound like a very good idea, she uses the headache excuse way too much already.

  • http://216.239.57.104/search?q=cache:OuHNJeCwdWUJ: www.btexact.com/docimages/42270/42270.pdf+&hl=en&i e=UTF-8

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • by unfortunateson ( 527551 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:12AM (#7608022) Journal
    BTExact website Slashdotted in early December, 2003
  • by lydon ( 26705 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:12AM (#7608023) Homepage


    In case of (already occured) slashdotting look here [google.com] (try the 'View as HTML' link).


  • They say 2010 and the UK government is going for 2013. To close for comfort for my liking

    Rus
    • They also say a global electronic currency in 2005; I would count if lucky if the UK switched to the EU by 2015.
      • I would count if lucky if the UK switched to the EU by 2015.

        And hand over control of our monetary policy an d interest rates the unaccountable, undemocratic ECB?

        • Who cares about that??
          My only concern is as a tourist and having to deal will all the different currencies.
          A single Europian currency is far better. :)
  • power? food? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:13AM (#7608038) Journal
    Do they say how we're going to power all this new technology when the oil and gas runs out in fifty years or so? Or how we're going to feed the billions and billions of people on this planet?

    I'm hoping for cheap, clean fusion as a solution to the power problem, and soylent green as a solution to the food problem. Ah no. Not genetic engineering either. Population control? Maybe.

    Server slashdotted so no, I haven't read the article..
    • Re:power? food? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kinnell ( 607819 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:29AM (#7608112)
      Or how we're going to feed the billions and billions of people on this planet?

      They're won't be billions and billions of people on the planet if there's not enough food to feed them all.

    • coal
    • Re:power? food? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      >Do they say how we're going to power all this new technology when the oil and gas runs out in fifty years or so?

      When I was a kid I remember people telling me that oil and coal would run out in 50 years. 20 years on, I still hear this 50 year figure being bandied about. Do you think my grandchildren will be told that oil and coal will only last another 50 years too?

      We definitely need some form of population control otherwise it will be done for us.
      • Re:power? food? (Score:3, Interesting)

        It's not always 50 years - A couple of years ago we were doing some work from a text book from the 70s or 80s, and it said words to the effect of "If we keep using fossil fuels at the rate we are now, the supply will be depleted by the year 2000" - see, that one was at maximum 20-30 years!
    • Re:power? food? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AllUsernamesAreGone ( 688381 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:48AM (#7608208)
      "Or how we're going to feed the billions and billions of people on this planet?"

      That question is based on out of date predictions of the population - in most countries the birth rate has declined significantly since the overcrowded earth scenarios became popular. The US is just about replacing its population, in Europe the native populations are decining (the worst case being Italy, where the birth rate has dropped well below replacement levels). Africa and the Middle East have expanding populations, but even there the rate has generally slowed. The last predictions I saw estimated that world population would peak around the middle of the century and then decline.
      • "Or how we're going to feed the billions and billions of people on this planet?"

        That question is based on out of date predictions of the population - in most countries the birth rate has declined significantly since the overcrowded earth scenarios became popular.

        It's not a "prediction." There are "billions and billions" of people on the planet right now -- six billion -- and there will be through the rest of the century, barring total catastrophe. And asking how we're going to feed them all is a pe

        • Re:power? food? (Score:3, Informative)

          by Alomex ( 148003 )
          given that a signficant fraction of the population (including a disquietingly large number of American children) are malnourished.

          Actually we are making great progress on that regard:

          The number of severely malnourished people has dropped from 1970 to today. In 1970, 1.7 billion people were struggling to survive on under 2100 calories a day. Today, that number has been cut to 411 million. The total percentage of the Earth's population that is underfed has dropped to 20 per cent from 35 per cent over the

  • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) * <slashdot@uberm0[ ]et ['0.n' in gap]> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:13AM (#7608039) Homepage Journal
    Whole generation unable to effectively read, write, think, and work ... 2050

    Y do u h8 me?
    • |-|o\/\/ d0 `/u0 +|-|i|\|| |=0L|5 |i|3 /\/\3 |=33L?
      • by Discopete ( 316823 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:45AM (#7608198) Homepage
        Congrats to the both of you for being part of the problem and not of the solution.

        leet and the various "hacker-speak" dialects are doing nothing but pushing our ability to communicate with each other closer and closer to extinction.

        Perhaps instead of making a joke of the current state of affairs, you'd be better off mentoring a child that has problems reading and writing, such as a dyslexic.

        • Congrats to the both of you for being part of the problem and not of the solution.

          If you've read any of the other, non-humour remarks I usually post here (and elsewhere), I rarely write in l33tspeak of any type. It's really up to the person posting whether they want to post in complete english sentences or not, and usually I get the feeling that anyone who *seriously* posts something in l33tspeak is probably making up for the fact that what they're posting proably has little substance to it. That sai
      • It took me about 10 minutes to figure that out because the slashdot HTM filter didn't print the "<"s.

        It sez: "How do you think folks like me feel?", and you need the "<"s to make the "K"s.
    • by ender81b ( 520454 ) <billd AT inebraska DOT com> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:50AM (#7608223) Homepage Journal
      One could argue, and I will, that internet speak is just like shorthand. Shorthand was used long ago (well think 1800-1900's) in letters to abbreviate things to make letter writing easier and quicker for people. Nowadays we have what you described which is really no different.

      After all, despite you writing it like that any native english speaker would have little trouble understnading what you wrote, even if they had never seen internet shorthand before. People are still able to write effectively, for the most part, otherwise they just use shorthand when on the internet talking socially. Or, outside america, for text messaging. I cannot believe how many people here in europe text each other instead of calling and the dialect if you will that has grown out of this.

      Personally I can't stand it but I understand why it is done and don't begrudge a person just because they do it. Well unless they do the whole I p0wnz0r j00 fagg0rtz!111 crap . :)
      • Shorthand is decidedly different from the quick writing (as you've described). Shorthand was not really used to shorten written conversation but as a stopgap measure to accurately take dictation. There are several variants on both, as briefly covered here [geocities.com].

        In brief, though, most shorthand systems do not look anything like longhand. They're phonetically based and each stroke generally represents a consonant sound. The consonants are then embellished with vowel digraphs because most words can be constructed w
  • Predictions? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JegaPrime ( 728849 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:15AM (#7608046)
    I wonder is people create these lists to try and guide the future course of technology. By trying to predict what will technologies will be created, those that actually create tend to think along these same lines and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    • Re:Predictions? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Derkec ( 463377 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:45AM (#7608197)
      I don't think these people have a huge impact. Very popular science fiction authors, on the other hand, have a huge impact. Their imagined toys move deeper into the geek conciousness and are more likely to be realized.
    • After scanning through the list I think it went like this:

      Manager: We need a list of future predictions. Everyone go to your desk and list 10 of them. I will then combine the lists and categorize them.
      Most of them have no though to them, and others look like them came out of sci-fi movie plots.
  • by pesc ( 147035 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:17AM (#7608050)
    BT describes the future as looking "ever more exciting each year"

    In other news, scientists have discovered that the future is nearer now than ever before.
  • by inc01 ( 628920 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:20AM (#7608066)
    Highest earning celebrity is synthetic ... 2010

    The way I see it, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Britney Spears are synthetic already.
    • Michael Jackson and Britney Spears I can see, but Madonna how so? Sure she changes image every couple albums, but it only means she's smart enough to stay ahead of the game. They say Britney is the new Madonna, but the difference is that the industry uses Britney to make money -- Madonna uses the industry to make money.

      Besides, up to American Life she was making pretty good music, but that's a matter of opinion.
  • by marvin2k ( 685952 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:25AM (#7608094)
    like an orgasm via e-mail in 2010

    Right, and when the spammers get this the productivity of the internet-connected world will drop to zero.

    Boss: Any important emails today?
    Employee: (checks) AHH! MMH! OOHH! YESSS! ... nope, just spam.

    • Employee: (checks) AHH! MMH! OOHH! YESSS! ... nope, just spam.

      Scene 2: Employee sitting smoking cigarette... 'Well, that certainly put inches on me.. now, what's this email from a Reverend Obogdu of Nigeria all about?'

  • by g_attrill ( 203506 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:25AM (#7608095)

    2004: Slashdot posts 100,000th dupe [slashdot.org]

  • hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:27AM (#7608107)
    AI chatbots indistinguishable from people by 95 % of population by 2005.....

    Is that a statement on the development of AI or a statement about 95% of the population?
    • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vidarh ( 309115 ) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @10:13AM (#7608344) Homepage Journal
      I'm pretty sure it's a statement about 95% of the population. A few years ago I was discussing writing a dating chatterbot for irc with a guy I knew. We were both heavy irc'ers at the time, and used irc primarily to meet women (the shocking this is it worked very well) and we were struck by how easy and predictable it was - if what you were after were getting girls contact details what worked best was sticking to a few successful patterns, and just moving on if you didn't get anywhere (it's not as if I at the time was looking for a lasting relationship ;) )

      So at some point I set up a few _really_ simple bots.

      The first one only responded with the same line over and over again whenever it was msg'd. At least on person kept on messaging it regularly over a period of half an hour, getting more and more upset that it kept on saying the same thing, and after a while getting pissed off that it kept answering even when he asked it to shut up :)

      The second one just cycled through 4-5 canned responses and started over. People kept talking to it, and pointing out that it had said the same things before, and started giving details about themselves.

      The third one looked for a trigger word in the message it got, and chose a sequence of messages based on that, and then cycled through the sequence. If no trigger word was present, it would choose a random sequence. If a trigger word for a different sequence occured while cycling through a sequence, it would switch sequences.

      All in all it had a grand total of 20-25 messages.

      The record conversation (based on a run of a couple of days) was one and a half hours... At that point I became disillusioned and dropped the whole thing. I still think that a few weeks of work and I'd easily have a chatterbot capable of picking up real women and getting their phone numbers in droves...

      Now, imagine how long people will speak to Eliza or a chatterbot that someone actually make an effort on.

      The reason bots fail the Turing test is because the judges know there's a chance they are talking to a machine. In chat rooms, most users are clueless that a bot could be capable of actually engaging them in something that seems like a conversation, and most people make so many mistakes, evade questions, give weird answers, have problems with the language etc., that people are VERY forgiving of the answers they get.

      From watching one of the girls I met on IRC years ago chatting, I first realized why that is so: The typical "normal" user often follow conversations very superficially. They switch a lot between different conversations, but often seem not to put any effort in keeping track of the overall flow of a specific conversation. So if your bot get into trouble, it can get itself right out of trouble by simply ignoring "difficult" messages and answering something completely unrelated and randomly changing subjects and a large part of the people it talks to won't react at all, because they do the same thing themselves all the time.

  • by mdemeny ( 35326 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:33AM (#7608131) Homepage
    I thought this was a joke by the moderator, but if you look at the Addendum they republish 'Wildcards' based on an original idea by John Petersen, The Arlington Institute [arlingtoninstitute.org]. This includes Rise of an American Dictator in 2000 (where 2000 is the earliest possible occurence).
    • Yeah, and when the BBC performs its next periodic update of the timeline they will update this to read either "2004" or "2008" depending on which side of the upcoming US Presidential elections they update.

      Assuming they didn't get it right the first time and that there actually is a 2004 Presidential election of course.

    • No, it's just the continued beating of a political dead horse. Why don't they just say that he "assumed" power since he "wasn't legally elected anyway".

      Personally, this place would better be called \. since it tilts clearly to the left.
  • ... BT's claim that they invented the hyperlink will be backed by a court ruling.
  • by n1ywb ( 555767 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @10:03AM (#7608286) Homepage Journal
    May you live in interesting times.
  • Who, why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by leandrod ( 17766 )
    So who's BT and why should I pay attention to them?
  • I'd rather get my excitement from non-technological pursuits such as rock-climbing and motorcycling. High-tech merely substitutes stress for stimulation.

    Whatever happened to technology as a tool rather than an end-until-itself? Do you notice how most of the items in BT's list offer little or no "added-value" - they are merely demonstrations of our technological prowess.

    [No, I'm not a luddite. I love my toys and have been programming professionally for a quarter of a century now.]
  • I wasn't even aware that British Telecom had a humor department. It must be next to Silly Walks.
  • Some are reasonable predictions, like the introduction of ID cards in the UK by 2010, or the rise of an American dictator in 2000.

    Sigh ... repeating something often enough still does not make it true.

    You lost. Just deal with it. It was close, but you lost.

  • Of all the wacky things in that list, the one that I think is least likely to come to pass is AI priests receiving confession. Well... maybe the predictions of 3D broadcast standards in the next 20 years is just as far out -- certainly the networks and electronics manufacturers are just as, well, catholic as the catholics.

    But Priest-bots? C'mon. Even as an atheist with Jewish upbringing, I can recognize that the Pope would never allow something not human to represent the intermediary between the flock a
  • AIDS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cybercuzco ( 100904 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:48AM (#7609024) Homepage Journal
    AIDS deaths peak at 1.7 million -2006


    Um no. Aids deaths this year were 3 million people. Why is this not front page news every day in every country? When SARS killed like 200 people it was front page news for months. 3 frickin million people died last year from AIDS. There is no excuse that this should not be the single most important item on anyones agenda. If terrorists killed 3 million people last year what would the media do? Theyd be apoplectic. Tom Brokaw would have a seizure on screen. People need to get their priorities straight.

    • Re:AIDS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:10PM (#7609236) Homepage Journal
      Mostly because you can get SARS, and then die from it, simply from having been in the same room as someone who's infected. (Or at least can be transmitted through nothing more than casual contact; the popular image is that it takes practically nothing to hop from one person to another.) With AIDS, on the other hand, you have to actually share certain bodily fluids with someone who's infected. In other words, you can remain celibate and lead an otherwise normal life, and modulo infected blood or needles, you have no chance of contracting AIDS. And, of course, since the most AIDS cases happen because of consensual sex or drugs, lots of people have the attitude that it's their own damned fault.

      SARS spread quickly and easily and killed a large proportion of its victims within weeks, which is a formula for rapid disaster. AIDS spreads slowly and difficultly and its victims continue living for years, which results in a much slower, calmer disaster. People don't worry about bad things if they take that long to happen.

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