2020 vision: What will tech look like in 10 years?

Will Google still dominate the Web? Will Microsoft even exist? Cringely gazes deep into his crystal ball and predicts what the tech world will look like a decade from now

It's kind of hard to believe the first decade of the third millennium is almost over. Seems like only yesterday we were pulling out our hair worrying about Y2K; now we worry about whether enough total strangers are following the minutiae of our lives on Twitter and Facebook.

The last 10 years have been dominated by the rise of Google and social networks, the surprising resurgence of Apple, and the gradual decline of Microsoft and Yahoo. What will the next 10 years hold? I have a few ideas.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it -- so check out the 10 dumbest tech moves of 2009 according to Cringely first | Stay up to date on Robert X. Cringely's musings and observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]

Here's how the world will look in the year 2020 (your reality may vary):

Spacebook. Having finally registered all 11.5 billion humans on the planet, Facebook will open up its social network to alien races. Also: Company co-founder Mark Zuckerberg will celebrate his 36th birthday by shaving for the very first time.

Third Lives. People will be born, raised, attend school, get married, get divorced, get fat, grow old, die, and never leave their keyboards, thanks to a new generation of realistic avatars living inside virtual worlds. And no one will think that's utterly pathetic.

Googleheads. The company's long-awaited gAmygdala implant, which links Android users' brains wirelessly to their portable devices, will finally be ready for consumer testing. Google's Brain Cloud service, however, will remain in beta for another 7 years.

Microbrains. Microsoft will release its gAmygdala competitor, Internet Explorer 17 With Live Bing Brain Implant 1.0. Two weeks later, it will release a firmware update to patch a bug that intermittently causes peoples' heads to explode.

Virtual movies. James Cameron's latest, "Avatar 6: Revenge of the Na'vi," will open in 3-D holographic theatres nationwide. However, it will be overtaken at the box office by "Porky's 11: Virtually Naked."

Crunchsuit. Michael Arrington will finally win his lawsuit against the makers of the JooJoo tablet, formerly known as the CrunchPad. By this time, however, paper-thin Web tablets with 6G broadband connections will be available for $4.99 at supermarket checkouts.

Y-holes. The merged Yahoo-AOL will announce yet another major reorganization, following the installation of its 37th CEO, Miley Cyrus. No one besides Billy Ray will notice.

Amazon. Having swallowed Netflix, Blockbuster, ABC/Disney, Comcast/NBC, and every independent movie studio still standing, Amazon will announce that it now controls every piece of media content that isn't already owned by the iTunes Store. And its video-on-demand selection will still be mostly crap.

Twitterverse. The world's most popular microblog will celebrate its 1 quintillionth tweet by sending the first 140-character messages to and from Uranus. They will, of course, be about astro-cats.

Apple iMortal. Near the end of the next decade Apple will announce iMortal, a new app for the iPhone 7GSS that allows users to store an entire lifetime's worth of thoughts and memories on the device so that they can be accessed by future generations. The first person to become iMortal, of course: Steve Jobs.

The United States of Google. In 2020, Sergey Brin and Larry Page will be elected the nation's first co-presidents. Their first official act will be to overhaul our educational system by requiring every elementary school student to install the gAmygdala chip. Their second act: changing the motto on U.S. currency from "E pluribus unum" to “I'm Feeling Lucky.”

And oh yeah: Happy New Year.

What are your predictions for the coming decade? Post your thoughts below or e-mail me: cringe@infoworld.com.

Take the InfoWorld year-end news quiz.

This story, "2020 vision: What will tech look like in 10 years?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com.

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