Network: The future? You read about it here first

To be sure, the future is a really big deal here in Silicon Valley

"PREDICTION IS very difficult, especially about the future" is a saying attributed to Niels Bohr, the famous theorist who is called "the guiding spirit" of quantum theory by the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Niels was quite obviously a very smart guy. He improved upon work by another gifted fellow, name of Einstein.

So why is http://www. neilsbohr.com not among the top 20 Web sites?

To be sure the future, and predictions about the same, is a really big deal here in Silicon Valley. In a town where things change, I mean Seriously Change, over intervals as short as lunch, or coffee break or while tying your shoes, a little sure knowledge about the future is a big deal.

Because here in Silicon Valley, the real gold is information: information about the next hot startup, the next hot stock flotation, the Next Big Thing, the next chance to slip your business plan to a bucks-up venture capitalist lounging at the Cafe Verona or Buck's.

Even the products are information: the Netscape Browser is just ones and zeros arranged just so in a downloadable disk file. So is iMac's internal stuff, Windows 98, Java and all the flavours of Unix. Trillions of dollars, much of the net worth of the United States and a few other economies, comes down to patterns in a computer file, bugs and all.

It is pure information, and it is pure gold. No wonder the stock market can zoom up - and down - over press releases.

The only thing that could possibly be better than possessing the right info at the right time is having the same info ahead of everybody else.

Imagine knowing which anaemic startup is just about to be acquired for $300m, say, an hour before the market does, while its stock is still at $2.

Imagine introducing a Web browser program a few weeks ahead of Netscape, or cutting a deal with IBM to supply the operating system for an odd new kind of small computer a day ahead of some dropout college kid named Gates.

So, it seems to me, the way I can best serve my readers is to predict - accurately - the future of technology. Thus armed, it will be a trivial matter for you all to prosper, and, hopefully you will send large contributions my way - cheques and large blocks of negotiable securities gladly accepted (but we do not do e-commerce yet).

So here goes - and take the following to the bank:

To avoid any, ahem, difficulties of a regulatory nature, we will now switch to a language favoured by analysts, newsletters and stock tipsters. (Full disclosure: I have an even better business model: and this - attention, venture capitalists - is my latest startup. We will initially give the future away for free to build market share, and then charge for upgrades. Future 2.0 single-seat licenses will soon be available for $99.95 to readers of this column.

We will also offer competitive upgrades - just $49.95 to owners of Microsoft Future 1.x. The Web site is not up yet, but we are planning the flotation for Wednesday.)

1: The world is going to get more complex. Get used to it - as the global network grows, there are more ways to interact with more people, more nations, more cultures, more ideas, more pathways through life. There will be more ways to the same end, and more ends from ever-proliferating paths.

Executive summary: The world will not end in a bang, or a whimper - we will not be able to find the end, or the beginning, or the middle, for that matter. When God types "the end of the world" (as I just did) into a search engine, it will reply "23,756,020 pages match the term 'the end of the world' ". Even She will not have the patience to dig through them all, and we will be off the hook. You read it here, first.

2: The surest way to prosper: claim to have "the answer" and set up a consultancy. People see value in, and will pay well for, genuinely experienced and caring people to help them to avoid the dumbest mistakes and biggest pitfalls of technology adoption. Provided, of course, the cost thereof is some small fraction of the cost of making the mistakes oneself.

Executive summary: Consultants are either the purest form of genius, or the logical heirs to snake oil salesmen, carnival hucksters and purveyors of shares in South Sea Bubble Plc. This is a business for the nimble, modern, virtual corporation. That is to say, keep a cool-sounding e-mail address and be prepared for a long, quiet vacation if your clients' lawyers come looking for you. Always spot the lawyers before they spot you. Favour accounts in banks in the Cayman Islands and Brunei, even if the interest rates are not competitive.

3: Beware megalithic technocracies. Beware technology as an end unto itself. Foster relationships with focused individuals who concentrate on results, like profitability or other meaningful, easily measured goals.

Executive summary: This is heresy among a large, and growing, group of technocrats, aka "gurus", aka "high priests". Beware those offering free Techno-Kool-Aid, Systems That Solve All Your Problems, and low-cost opportunities to own bridges and other monumental properties, including large, possibly submerged tracts of land in Florida. Best to avoid associates who go by names like "DarK FoRcE" or "Guido".

4: Absolutely beware of people who say they can predict the future.

Executive summary: Bodes poorly for sites like http://www.urigeller.com.

cg@gulker.com

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee