Millennial Forecast: Continued Ignorance
At this auspicious time, we are all required by local statute and industry injunction to pontificate about the future. So, permit me to make my year-end, century-end and millennium-end forecasts.
1. Except for scattered Y2K problems (a stalled escalator in the Podunk Nordstroms, a gerbil infestation in a fashionable West Side apartment, ATMs suddenly talking with Swiss accents), nothing will change because the year has three zeroes in it. World events just can't get it through their heads that occurring in a round-number year bestows a distinct competitive advantage. The alternative is to try to brand the year around the event, and while this has occasionally succeeded--1776, 1492, 1066 and all that-- that's the exception, not the rule. But will History listen? No, Marketing has been forced to exist in its own silo, cut off from History. For years has Marketing has been calling out over the cubicle walls: Round numbers mean eyeballs! Think stickiness! But, alas, History, like Engineering, has thought that Marketing is just an afterthought instead of the reason that we have history in the first place.
2. For a full 12 months, we will be forced to listen to the cackle of people laughing at us because the millennium doesn't "really" begin until 2001. For one whole year they will think they're super cool, like Trekkies who think the rest of us are morons because we don't grok Vulcan wisdom, when in fact the point is that *we* can get dates.
3. Speaking of Trekkies, the Starship Enterprise will not have a knowledge management system on board. There will be no Chief Knowledge Officer because if there were, she would be required to say things like "Good God, Jim, I'm a CKO, not a mind-reader!" and "Good God, Jim, how do you expect Ensign Bowman to know that when you've kept it tacit all these years!"
4. We will seal off the past thousand years with a solid-steel excuse for not having to consider the history, literature and thought of anything older than yesterday. St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, will become not merely "medieval" but positively "2nd millennial." These old guys will officially now be total losers not worth sneezing at. We will thus be free to probe ever deeper into the mysteries of the early John Hughes.
5. The Web will be very important ... so important that predictions only serve to hinder our imaginations. So, I will shut up.
David Weinberger is publisher of the Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization (JOHO) newsletter and a frequent contributor to KMWorld Magazine