Paul Ferris: Pundit for a Day, 2005

Posted by PaulFerris on Jan 2, 2005 3:56 AM EDT
LXer; By Paul (FeriCyde) Ferris
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It's that time of year, folks. Industry pundits are out shooting off predictions like so many mortars and who knows where they will land? Paul Ferris can predict with the best of them, but here's some advice: Keep hands and Feet away...

FeriCyde Chat
It's here again -- January Fools day. Time to make predictions about the coming year. These techno-forecasting articles have fallen off a bit lately I've noticed. I figure it's time someone took up the slack and that someone should be FeriCyde. Not because I really know what's coming -- heck, I don't have any magical crystal ball. I figure I should be the one to do it because my sarcastic tendencies fill the bill and it will be somewhat more entertaining than the predictions you'll get elsewhere.

This is, after all, more fun than real work.

FeriCyde's Top 10 Predictions for 2005

Prediction 0: Larry Wall Gives Up On Perl.
Larry Wall will end the development of Perl altogether and switch to python. Thousands of Perl developers will yell obscenities in disgust and the outrage will cause a river of spam-like madness terminating in Wall's in-box. Larry will hold a press conference and explain that while it was all good while it lasted, he was "just tired of listing rubbish".

The crowd will then haul him off for a public execution. Fortunately, even though the police will have arrived three hours later, they will still manage to save Wall. When the police arrive, the angry mob will still be arguing about the method of execution. "The phrase 'There's more than one way to do it!' saved my life!" Wall will say.

Prediction 1: True Artificial Intelligence Finally Arrives.
Wall will spend several months answering email from incensed Java, TCL, php and awk developers. Eventually in a fit of disgust, he will build an auto-responder (using python of course) that real people can't tell from actual correspondence with him.

It's so good, in fact, that it becomes the first actual artificial intelligence. Wall's auto-responder, the Wall-o-Matic, is great at catching spam with a 100% hit rate, trades for him on the stock market and does all of his on-line banking, even shutting down phishing sites in the blink of an eye.

Prediction 2: The Perl Code Base Forks.
Unfortunately, the AI develops an affinity for Perl once it becomes sentient. It's so good at it that it develops a forked version, and Perl developers assume that it's Larry back at work. Whole new versions being to appear every day. They come so fast that by mid-year, Perl is up to version 150.002.

Prediction 3: GNU/Linux Gets Ported To A Surprising New Architecture.
The AI gets bored and begins experimenting with lisp and emacs, becoming the first entity to port the Linux kernel to another language, and adding yet another platform at the same time. Albeit, a strange one. Linux takes quite a while to boot under GNU/Emacs, but once it's up and running, it's surprisingly snappy.

Prediction 4: Richard Stallman Confuses Reporters.
Kernel developers and media pundits alike are baffled when Richard Stallman writes an angry tirade "Why you shouldn't use GNU/Linux under GNU/Emacs." The article incenses everyone, including Wall-a-Matic, who, for spite, rewrites GNU/Emacs in Perl and starts a competing movement to GNU. The PIG movement (Pig Isn't GNU -or- Perl Isn't GNU -- there's more than one way to name it!) enrages an enormous quantity of GNU Free Software people. Complicating matters is the new license for the text-editor based kernel called the PPL, which replaces the Artistic License. The variations for the PPL license name alone (Pig|Perl Private|Public Larry|License) add even more fuel to an already raging fire.

Prediction 5: Internet News As We Know It Crumbles!
The ensuing flame-war takes a dangerous turn, when Wall-a-Matic releases it's own source code. Soon, AI-generated flame starts to appear, filling message boards by the gigabyte. Slashdot goes down for the first time in history from a lack of storage space. Rob Malda is quoted as saying "The bandwidth charges were exponential, some pages were over a terabyte in length from just the scoring alone, but frankly, I'm just tired of GNU/Linux crashing my GNU/Emacs sessions. I'm going to rent umbrellas on the beach. See ya!"

Unfortunately, no geeks get to read this, as they're unable to read any news sites by that time. It gets posted in a local Detroit newspaper in the tech section, where it is unaccessible as a geek medium for the most part.

Prediction 6: The Power Grid In The U.S. Will Fail,
The flame-battling AIs consume so much excess energy that they bring down the power-grid in the entire U.S. The infrastructure of the Internet crumbles virtually overnight. People resort to sending snail-mail and talking to one another for communication.

Prediction 7: And No One Cares...
A lot of people discover that things like live music, nature, parties and face to face meetings are more fun than answering AIM chat messages and email. It's a bit awkward at first, but after a short time, a small geeky section of the populace comes around. The phrase, "Just what the heck is wrong with Free Beer?" becomes extremely popular. When the power grid comes back on, no one notices or cares much about the Internet. It's unusable for the most part anyway thanks to the battling AIs.

Prediction 8: The "Mega Depression" Era Dawns.
The new-found euphoria is replaced by a desperate need for employment, as a depression sinks in that makes the "Great Depression" look kind of quaint. The new depression, dubbed "The Mega Depression" is so bad that Wal-Mart is forced out of business. Once that happens, civilization as we know it, ends.

Prediction 9: Bill Gates Restores Order (And Civilization).
There's only one entity left with pockets big enough to rescue Wal-Mart. The U.S. government is bankrupt, the Swiss aren't sharing and the rest of the world is in a fog for lack of being able to check their email. Fortunately, Bill Gates has enough cash and philanthropic urge to save the day. He purchases Wal-Mart, and creates a regulatory agency for the AIs called the Redmond Registry. One of the first laws enacted by the Redmond Registry puts a cap on their network usage. This restores balance to the Internet. Suddenly, people are back to only getting a few hundred spam messages a day. Slashdot comes back on-line (Malda's fair skin didn't work out at the beach anyway). Spy-ware, viruses and Trojan horses are rampant. A lot of people continue to use Windows -- not because it's good, but because they owe it all to Bill.

There you have it. I know it may seem like a long shot, but what are industry pundits for, if not to stretch the boundaries of comprehension? I'm sure I've touched on a few points that will make some of you sore. Feel free to flame me at the email address below. Of course, don't be surprised if I have a new auto-responder in place that can handle it all ...

Paul (FeriCyde) Ferris is not an Industry pundit, he just plays one from time to time on LXer. He hopes to one day innovate "something like Ethernet", just like that Bob MetCalfe guy. He is a husband, father, Linux geek, and more. FeriCyde Chat is an feature.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
You stole my scoop! sbergman27 7 3,539 Jan 3, 2005 5:14 AM
I was thinking that... schwach 1 3,451 Jan 3, 2005 4:31 AM

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