February 25th, 2011
In the past I have written that as a futurist, it sometimes feels like I live in a state of déjà vu. I spend a lot of time researching and looking into the future to develop the forecasts and trends that I write and speak about. I experience them, see them, and have varying degrees of certainty when I publish or present them.
Since 2011 began, so many of the forecasts and trends I predicted over the last four years are coming true, I feel as if I’m in an almost constant state of déjà vu. Now, as I spend some 22 hours traveling from Chicago to Singapore, scanning stacks of periodicals from around the world, this feeling is amplified.
I will write a lot in the coming weeks and months about all these forecasts and trends. As a futurist, I should be judged in part on how accurate I am, so it is indeed gratifying that many of the events/trends I predicted have become reality in 2011. The purpose of all these upcoming columns is to be able to point to actual events as the manifestations of what I have been speaking and writing about since 2006, when this blog began, and 2007, when I wrote The Shift Age. This will help explain the truly transformative time we are now entering. In a few years, the world will look quite different from what it did in 2010. The early evidence is everywhere in 2011.
Here are some of the trends and forecasts …
Hydrogen has long been looked at as the ‘fuel of the future’. The general impression is that it will be a marketplace fuel in the future but not for a decade or more. Well, surprise, hydrogen is coming into the fuel marketplace today, albeit slowly.
Last week I attended the National Hydrogen Association annual convention in Columbia South Carolina. In addition to delivering a short keynote address and moderating a panel, I was there to learn as much as I could about this future fuel. I was fortunate to spend discussion time with, and listen to presentations by, some of the best and brightest from academia, corporations and governmental agencies on the subject of hydrogen.
There is no question that hydrogen is becoming and will be an integral part of our energy equation. Right now the problem confronting this source of energy is one of scale. Scale of production, scale of the infrastructure for distribution and scale of production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. It is the fuel cell car that has the highest profile in this new energy area and is also the product that consumers are most interested in, particularly due to the recent history of oil prices and the state of the automotive industry. There were several hydrogen fuel cell cars and even a bus that were available for rides at the convention, and I will write about the wonderful experience of driving three of the cars in my next column.
What I found interesting was how …
September 7th, 2008
Recently, people have been asking me a lot of questions about the fluctuating price of oil
“What is the price of oil going to be?” “Was the recent price spike of $147 a barrel an all-time high that we won’t see again?” And “Will the global economic slowdown drive the price of oil back down below $100?”
These are just some of the questions I have been asked in recent weeks. The reason of course, as long time regular readers of this blog know, is that I have been consistently accurate in my predictions about the price of oil. In 2006 I predicted $125 barrel oil in 2008 and $137 in 2009. In the past year I predicted that oil would have a near term trading range of $95 – 135 per barrel but that while there would be little downward pressure below $95, there are many scenarios that would provide upward pressure above $135. All of this price predictions flow from my view that we have entered the time …
July 23rd, 2008
There have been many cultural changes so far in 2008. Some of these changes are in response to the rapid increase in the price of oil and other commodities. Some of these changes have been due to technological innovations. In both cases new behavior patterns are being established that will, to some degree become permanent and will create new dynamics in certain industries. Today we take a look at some of the predictions made here last January.
The predicted shopping trends predicted were written with a long term view. What is interesting is that the high price of gasoline has accelerated the speed of implementation of some of the forecasts. On shopping, this column forecast:
“Shopping behavior will noticeably change……purchases will go down per capita. This will due to belt tightening but also due to the effect of the explosive growth that on-line sales will now have on off-line sales.”
This forecast was based both upon the long term up trend of on-line shopping but also upon the short term pessimism felt about the economy. When people feel uncertain about their economic future they cut back on major expenses. This explains the significant decline in auto sales this year and the bankruptcies of several retail chains. What has been interesting is the reality that much of the growth in on-line sales at the expense of off-line sales is due to $4. a gallon gasoline. When one can order on-line and have the merchandise delivered with low cost or free shipping, it is cheaper …
July 16th, 2008
Regular readers know that I have long predicted the current price of oil and that we are now moving through Peak Oil These subjects were included in my â€œForecast for 2008â€³
To quote from that January 9, 2008 column:
â€œIn 2008, gas will, for a period of time reach $4 on the national level. A year ago I predicted that oil would rise above $80. Three months ago I predicted that the price would rise to $100 and that the trading range for oil will be $80 – 125 a barrel for the next yearâ€¦but there could be several situations that could drive the price above $125.â€
Well sure I was right about the rapid run up in the price of oil and the price of a gallon of gas. At the time I was one of the few voices with this forecast. The interesting thing is that when I made the predictions they seemed outrageous to many people and yet they have turned out to be conservative. In a follow up column on April 27 titled â€œThe Short and Long Term Price of Oilâ€, I revised my price predictions upward:
â€œI now think that the core trading price range of oil for the next 18 months will be $95 – 135. I seriously doubt it will ever dip below the lower price, and if it does, it will be temporary. I do however think that that there are any number of scenarios that could provoke a rapid price run up …