Remember Nostradamus? Arguably the planet's most renowned secular prophet, he penned convoluted verses known as "quatrains" to keep from being imprisoned by the 16th century French powers that be.
Because his revelations seem semantically elastic enough to stretch around any world event, Nostradamus subsequently attracted a popular following, especially on the History Channel. Yet, in 1999, when his end-of-the-world forecast failed to pass the reality test, he was dumped by academia.
Leading Nostradamus expert Dr. Edmond Fourier, however, was not dismayed. He managed to uncover, according to Weekly World News, hundreds of "lost" quatrains.
However, if you prefer a futurist who writes in English — albeit unmetered and unrhymed — allow me to prognosticate.
First, in 2013, you will live in "the clouds."
Jeff Dachis, Internet consulting legend and founder of Razorfish, once said, "Everything that can be digital, will be."
You may not realize it, but in all probability, you have already employed "the cloud," especially if you stored digital photographs online, signed up for an email account from Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or Gmail, or purchased a security storage service that remembers to back up your files for safekeeping and allows you to access your data from virtually anywhere.
The idea behind "the cloud" is that neither the data generated by an application nor the software itself clogs up your computer. With everything (software and data) stockpiled on "the cloud," it's also available on everything (smartphone, tablet or laptop).
This Christmas, my son, who is convinced MP3 players will go the way of eight-track tape decks, gifted me with a year's subscription to Spotify. Launched in 2008, the music service developed by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon allows subscribers to stream any song or orchestral piece from a catalog of 20 million titles.
Not only are the recordings from major and independent record labels, but you can also simultaneously alert your Facebook friends, minute-by-minute, to the unique and impressive selections on your playlist.
As of August 2012, Pew Research Center reported 69 percent of online adults use social networking sites. The number of Spotify users reached a staggering 20 million by December 2012. Undoubtedly, before year's end, audio CDs and DVDs will be taking up space at landfills.
Yet, so-called "cloud intelligence" is also constantly evolving — not just as a cyber-storeroom, but soon taking an active role in your life by providing analysis and contextual advice. For example, according to futurists Chris Carone and Kristin Nauth, "the cloud" will soon enable families to design weekly menus — based on individual health profiles, fitness goals and taste preferences.
Second, in 2013, unemployment is not the end of the world. Help is only a Yelp away.
If you lost your job during the recession, it's probably not coming back. You can sit around and curse automation, outsourcing or even software algorithms; yet, if you develop and hone, according to financial adviser James H. Lee, a needed skill set — you can work productively and, more importantly, continuously into the future. The self-employment rate, at 10.9 percent in 2009, will only keep trending upward.
All you have to do — and this is easier said than done — is to offer a product or service people desire at a price fair to both parties.
Your secret weapon, however, will be SoLoMo (integration of social media, location-aware technology, and mobile device usage). Linking search engine results to GPS on such mobile apps as Yelp, permits local mom-and-pop enterprises, according to Constant Contact's Gail Goodman, to compete "just like the big guys" in terms of "content, deals and offers that greatly increase the opportunity for engagement."
Third, in 2013, even if you're a big girl, supermarkets will make you cry.
Not only was July 2012 the hottest month on record, but the drought, the worst since the Depression era, also desiccated most of the Lower 48 states — distending the misery from California to Delaware.
With a prohibitively high price tag for feed, ranchers were forced to sell off their herds; the Mississippi River, which neared record-low depths, threatened to curtail commerce; and drought-fueled wildfires consumed tens of thousands of acres. Just ask Colorado Springs.
Coupling predicted extreme weather with $150 per barrel oil prices (don't forget, industrial agriculture is totally oil-dependent) will cause grocery bills to go through the roof. Even urban dwellers will consider growing their own — produce, that is.
Back to Nostradamus. While the Weekly World News is a fictional online tabloid that approaches news with a decidedly satirical bent, his alleged "lost" quatrains, however, did predict: the collapse of the world economy, the end of religion, requiring licenses for wannabe parents and "when there is no more room in hell, the buried dead shall come out of their graves."
Hey, the last one could actually come true. Zombie Apocalypse, anyone?