Marshall McLuhan Center Predictions
The "official" top ten
projections from the McLuhan Center For Media Sciences for 1996:
The Internet Follies
Projection: Business media will start to make fun of firms and individuals who have mis-read and mismanaged the Internet "phenomenon."
Reasoning: The Internet is very real and potent, but the media and public typically "over-expect" from new technologies by as much as two to four years. There is a lot of Darwinian stuff that the Internet has to go through before any of the capital investments expended in 95 will be justified. Many large firms, which should have known better, made fools of themselves.
Projection: The Millennium is coming. Look for a segmenting into two groups. The "scare-mongers" (who may be aided and abetted in 96 by a REALLY serious quake somewhere); and the "award-givers," who, ably assisted by mainstream media, will begin their "Best of the Millennium" award presentations.
Reasoning: Odds favor a bad quake SOMEWHERE; and, as for the "award-givers," the traditional media need a good hot story that has a multi-year life cycle.
Projection: Media (and sociologists) will notice that the generation gap is wider than at any point in recorded history.
Reasoning: As McLuhan said, when you move at the speed of light, a week is like a year. Teenagers today are older than their parents.
Doctor Against Doctor
Projection: The medical profession will break down, and internal wars will start.
Reasoning: Take the politics of HMOs, add the fact that the medical profession has not exactly surpassed itself in recent years (more cancer today than when the Cancer Society started!) and you have the ripe ingredients for conflict and dissent.
Projection: Gold will break into a new trading range.
Reasoning: The experts who say that the "New Economy" doesn't need a gold standard should cut back on their Melatonin. Look at the Swiss franc. Demand/supply imbalances have not been reflected in the market -- so far. Inflation is not dead -- and it is quite possible to have pockets of inflation within a larger disinflationary trend.
Projection: Groups with otherwise peaceful goals will seriously undertake to hurt people.
Reasoning: As McLuhan said, electronic technology scrubs off identity. These conceptual "holy-rollers" will not be able to enjoy their smugness unless someone else pays the price.
Projection: Asian tigers, including India, start to make hay while the sun shines.
Reasoning: The U.S. election year will give the Asian Tigers the stability they have long needed. Previous predictions about this group were 2-3 years too soon.
UFOs: The Plot Thickens
Projection: More data will be released from a wide variety of conflicting sources.
History Rewrites Itself
Projection: Archeological find which calls into question our entire concept of history.
Reasoning: Actually these have come up before, but never has there existed an information delivery mechanism to get the word out before the friendly museum curators of the world get a chance to sweep things under the rug..
Projection: 1996 -- a good year around the world.
Reasoning: Yes, Virginia, any resemblance to the Roaring Twenties is NOT coincidental.
The McLuhan Center For Media Sciences is a non-profit think-tank that continues the research and theoretical work of the late media guru.
Albion Monitor January 12, 1996 (http://www.monitor.net/monitor)
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