The Future Wasn’t What We Will Think It Is

Oh, all right: I’m only sidling up to the matter of predicting the technology/internet future, a venture that would have foxed even the greatest classical soothsayers, surely. The current augur of the moment is Google Vice President of Global Ad Operations, John Herlihy, who, according to, told a conference recently that “In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant. In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs.”

As of 9.30 GMT this morning, this was the top Twitter trending topic in the UK, according to The Independent. (Fortunately or not, it’s since been replaced by #everydayiwakeup.)

Far be it from me to doubt the wisdom of a Google exec about such things. Yet, if he means that laptops and netbooks will also be swept aside in favour of thumbing things, I’ll lodge a small demurrer now. Why, we haven’t even had the iPad wave yet.

As for me, it’s possible, I suppose, that having learned to think with nine digits instead of with a wrist and a right hand gripping a pen, I could learn to think with the two fat fingers as I search, research, and compose — but I’ll likely decline if it comes to that. At least that’s how I see my small part of the future. You?


  1. such predictions assume that baby boomers aren’t doing research – since our eyes can’t read serious text on those tiny screens. Does ‘search’ = ‘research’? or are the searches on mobile devices for the nearest bar or the time of the next movie?