It's 2007 and my flying car has yet to materialize. In fact, almost everything futurists promised would be here by now isn't, and everything that is here was never imagined in the first place.
An MP3 player the size of a postage stamp? I'd trade that for a Pan Am space plane ride to a big, spinning space station. Wireless broadband Internet? It's pretty cool, but no cooler than a fleet of robots doing my bidding.
Since everyone seems to predict the future wrong, I feel it's my duty as a columnist to present my own predictions for the year -- predictions I can easily explain away when it becomes clear I was way, way off. After all, what columnist worth his salt doesn't look forward to the New Year when thoughtful commentary can be replaced with wacky guesses about what the future has in store?
Therefore, prepare yourselves, as we rocket through time and space to arrive at the fantastically distant year 2007 and peer into the mysteries that await our future selves.
Prediction One: Public safety agencies nationwide will solve the interdepartmental communication and collaboration problem. Suddenly every law enforcement and emergency response organization will work together seamlessly -- only to realize that working as one giant pseudo-entity is actually less efficient than working as many small ones.
Prediction Two: 2007 will be the year of the acronym as new multiword organizations and projects are slapped with lengthy, pointless initials. The trend will become so popular, sentences will be reduced to incomprehensible collections of capital letters -- drastically diminishing readability of our magazine.
Prediction Three: Cities and counties countrywide will deploy large-scale municipal Wi-Fi systems. Hopes for increased productivity, tourism and revenue will be dashed, however, as millions of Americans previously unable to access broadband will become hooked on YouTube videos, resulting in massive unemployment and a crippling economic downturn.
Prediction Four: In 2007, everything will be mapped using GIS. Where are the Cheetos at the grocery store? Just go to Google Grocer. Can't find your car keys? Microsoft Virtual Keys can tell you. Has your dog run away? Yahoo! Pets will find him and give you alternate routes to go retrieve him!
Prediction Five: In late 2006, a number of pilots and other airline employees reportedly spotted a UFO over Chicago O'Hare. I predict 2007 will be the year the public is finally told the truth about extraterrestrials -- they're real and already among us. This revelation will lead to a giant headache for government IT workers who will be asked to modernize the legacy, paper-based alien registration system used since the 1950s. Look for an online alien-registration application rollout in early 2009 -- and a specialized mouse for their weird, three-fingered hands.
I've given you my five predictions, dear readers. Now it is up to you! Work under the assumption that each of these will come to pass. Then, as sure as the sun sets in the west, 2007 will be the greatest year the public sector has ever witnessed.
You can thank me later.