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
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
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.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week