Are tech trend spotting and predictions accurate?

It would seem the future is still very hard to predict, unevenly distributed, and generally arrives late.

Every year we see new, bold and brash predictions of what tech is ”on the rise” and what parts of our society will be affected or even disappear as a result. But how useful are these predictions? Do the tech dreams come true and do they really change our way of living in profound ways?

Off course, there can be no doubt about the fact that digital technology impacts society in a multitude of ways, from businesses to science to public service and the very fundamentals of modern democracy. And yet, there are many more things that stay the same, or simply change from one to another, than there are things that actually disappear.

Going back some 25 years Wired magazine has reviewed it’s own predictions, made by the experts of the day, which shine a light on some very entertaining and interesting patterns. It seems societies, cultures and the human psyche have a strategy based on assimilation and gradual transfer rather than dramatic revolution and extinction.

From the end of music (because of Napster and The Pirate Bay) to the end of advertising (because of google and youtube), to the end of finance (because of crowdfunding, blockchain etc.) the predictions of extinction almost never reflect reality, and the future has a stubborn tendency not to arrive as expected.