Skip to main content

Crystal Ball Gazing

If you want living proof that forecasting the future is best left to the experts, such as Nostradamus, then read my predictions for the Britain of 2010 in The Observer newspaper in January of 2001.

Gazing deeply into my 400mhz crystal ball, I rather lavishly forecast "This country is poised for a wealthy new era as the Venice of the information age" but never counted on the presence of Gordon Brown or the arrival of the worst global recession since the 1930's either.

As I was working with the Office of the e-Envoy at the time and if memory serves, had just returned from a mission to a bitterly cold South Korea the previous week, you can almost smell the optimism that still surrounded the arrival of the internet, that particular bubble still having a year to run before it burst!

One thing though hasn't changed and it's as true here in the outlying villages of Thanet as it was in 2001:

"Bandwidth is, he believes, a critical issue: 'We need to ensure that people have the opportunity to take advantage of the bandwidth. If there is a key point, it is that the country needs to have in place all the infrastructure that allows those who wish to join in the information economy to do so."

I suspect that Michael Child may have an original copy of Nostradamus' predictions in his Ramsgate bookshop alongside other classics such as "Quantitive Easing, Fiscal Prudence and Golden Rules' by Gordon Brown' and Mark McCormack's 'What they Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School', the book that heavily influenced my own start in business twenty-something years ago!

Nine years on, one prediction involving the internet does seem to have come to pass:

'Moores’ Law of Digital Governance” (London School of Economics - June 2000)

- One to Many Represents a Political Opportunity
- Many to One Represents a Political Challenge
- Many to Many is Evidence of Subversive Behavior

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…