Well, here we are, dear friends. A new decade. "Another year over/ And a new one just begun," said boomer bard John Lennon.
Recently I watched "Paris 1919: Six Month That Changed the World" based on Margaret MacMillan's book, made by the NFB but I saw it on the History Channel (or was it PBS?). Anyway, well done, I thought, great reminder of how events shape the future for generations, and they way the allies carved up the world in those six months, hammering out the Treaty of Versailles, well, it gets you thinking.
So New Year's Eve, icy roads, brrrr outside, and I'm watching some of the ubiquitous "Best and Worst" bits on cable, thinking about the changes over the course of the last decade--the big picture (kinda predictable, really) and the narrow view (little me, less predictable, but that's because I've never planned on getting older)--and I'm thinking (maybe for the first time) O-kay, what's the next big thing?
I'm not much of a futurist. I have an ongoing romance with history, which probably explains a lot. (I tend to drag my feet from one innovation to the next. ) But I am the eternal optimist. Learn from the past, let come what comes, people are really good at heart, we'll do better next time, and like that. So I'm looking at the Best and the Worst of the first decade of the 21st century, taking in a couple of movies, watching a couple of History Channel documentaries, and I'm ready to play the Sesame Street game: What Comes Next? Come on, Riders play along. What's the next Big Thing?
Technology How much more stuff can they cram into a cell phone? Can you think of something else you want your cell phone to do? Your computer? What's the next gadget?
For my part, I continue to hang back until everyone else has the Kindle or the Blackberry or the Bly-Ray. I do love the GPS thingie. It was a gift from someone who knows me and my sense of direction well. I haven't made a Facebook page yet, don't text much, and I don't see myself Twittering. I'm basically pretty shy, and I don't see that changing at this point.
Transportation When you think about it, we're due for some changes in that area--in this country, particularly. Some of our planes are almost as old as I am. Cars haven't changed that much, and our trains are pathetic compared to what they have in Europe. What do you see changing in the next 10 years?
Entertainment Rock and Roll was the last big innovation in music. "A flash in the pan," said Daddy. Is it time for something dramatically, spectacularly new to come along? How about movies? The money's all going into special effects. The quality of sound and picture has certainly improved, but I don't think there's big anything really really new since sound and color came along. What's next? Some sort of interactive thing? And what about TV? The stuff that's really well written is getting drowned out by the flood of cheap reality stuff. I'm going out on a limb here, predicting the demise of reality TV by 2020. Betcha five bucks. Any takers?
Books Okay, e-readers are here to stay, but paper books aren't going to disappear in my lifetime. What say you? I just read about "Vooks," and I can't see that working for a novel any better than footnotes do. Apparently you get to click on a visual or a little video, a link to more info, something like that. Readers don't want to be pulled out of the story for a side show, and they want to create their own mental pictures. Otherwise, they'll go see the movie. As far as the next big thing in genre fiction, you tell me. Historicals are coming back. What else?
Education What changes can we hope for in the next decade? Attention must be paid in this department, folks. We have to do better. What do you foresee?
Economy Invest in retirement home stock, kids. The Boomers are coming.
So let's have some fun. What's coming down the pike in the next decade? What's the Next Big Thing?
Or, we could make resolutions. But for me that would pretty much be: Ditto last year.