Pontificating the future: 2009: The big ideas

theglobeandmail.com pontificates the bigideas of 2009. Below is a short list – read the rest at theglobeandmail.com

Do-it-yourself DNA

The cost of reading DNA is expected to drop as dramatically in 2009 as the stock market did last year. Technology has made it so fast and cheap to unravel the six billion chemical units of the human genome that the amount of DNA you can read for a dollar has been doubling every 12 months.

The 3-D revolution

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has declared 2009 the year of 3-D films. He announced recently that, starting this month, all movies produced in his studio will be made in 3-D. Not only that, he trumpeted the technology as the third cinematic revolution – behind sound and colour.

The age of avatars

Who do you want to be, digitally speaking?

Over the past year, avatars – online characters or personas standing in for real people – entered the public consciousness and grabbed real-world headlines all around the globe.

Avatars will enjoy greater mainstream acceptance in 2009, and although convergence is not likely to happen overnight, expect certain sites to begin thinking about partnering up to allow character crossovers the way social networks are trying to make profiles more portable.

Reality check for social networks

Facebook has been riding a tidal wave of momentum behind an exploding user base and increasing mainstream acceptance for more than a year, but financial realities are threatening to bring the social network and its peers back to Earth in 2009.

In 2007, the ascension of Facebook, MySpace and other social networks from digital hangouts for the under-30 crowd into mainstream staples of online communication was the story of the year. Micro-blogging site Twitter enjoyed a similar coming-out party in 2008.


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