shift happens

I’m a fan of futurology, and a sucker for statistics. I recently came across this video, which is really just a stream of facts and stats (also available with pictures and narration).

It’s about globalization, technological advance and stuff. You’ve probably heard much of this before. If you don’t have time to watch the video, here are the key sobering points for us:

  • the top 10 jobs that will be in demand in 2010 didn’t exist in 2004
  • we are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t yet been invented, in order to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet
  • if MySpace were a country, it would be the 11th largest in the world (between Japan and Mexico)
  • more than 3,000 new books are published daily
  • a week’s worth of New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th Century
  • 1.5 exabytes of information (1.5 x 1018) of unique new information will be generated worldwide this year. That’s more than in the previous 5,000 years.
  • the amount of new technical information is doubling every two years. By 2010 it will double every 72 hours.
  • half of what college students currently learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year
  • e-paper will be cheaper than real paper.

It may be encouraging that 3,000 new books are published every day. But I wonder how many of those are really commercially viable? And is the book really the best mechanism for delivering educational content when, in three years, we’re expecting the volume of information available to students to double every 72 hours..? 2010 isn’t far away. That textbook you’re commissioning right now? That’s when it publishes.

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Jon Reed

Jon Reed is a content writer, author, screenwriter, lecturer, blogger - and the founder of Publishing Talk. He was previously a publisher for 10 years. Publishing Talk aims to help new and emerging authors write, publish and sell books. Advice is available via the blog and our masterclasses and membership programme. More...

One thought on “shift happens

  • 3rd August 2007 at 8:55 am

    Scary, apocalyptic visions aside (I’m thinking Skynet-type scenarios from Terminator) all these stats and facts are quite intimidating. They are meant to be.
    That YouTube video could have been put together to advertise any number of things: a more aggressive US foreign policy; new technologies from telecoms companies; the economics undergrad programme at a major university… you name it.
    It’s a heavy handed way of making a point. Do people feel technology can liberate and not dictate to them? Does it turn them off completely so they refuse to engage at all? What amazes me is that many are already engaging and they don’t really perceive it to be that way. Think of SMS, picture sharing on Picasa and on demand cable TV: things your granny might do. Brave new world indeed.

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