Not long ago, predicting the future used to be a well respected and widely followed ‘science’. Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave was, possibly, the most followed work predicting what was to come since Nostradamus’s oracular utterings. Futurologists were invited by governments, companies and other gullible audiences to share their ‘visions’. Divining by other means such as crystal gazing and horoscope reading were, and will be, always with us. All of it feeds one of mankind’s most urgent desires: to know the future.
Without being wide-eyed believers, we can still predict what’s coming in 2011 on a subject or two — or 11. Most of them are products that will try to claim a greater share of every Indian’s purse and waking hours — hot wheels, new gizmos, and old-fashioned or new-fangled entertainments. Some others will affect us collectively — expected landmarks in science, medicine and the judicial system. The eleventh is about an ‘unknown unknown’, to borrow a phrase from former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who’s also on this page. It’s as close as it gets to a mash of crystal gazing and futurology.