Reblog: the newspaper extinction timeline

This infograph about the expected extinction of print newspapers has been circling the web for some time now, but I figured it’s worth a reblog here too. In case you haven’t seen it: the Future Exploration Network‘s graph takes into account local and global technological, economic and social factors; and predicts that paper-based newspapers will become insignificant first in the US in 2017, then in the UK and Iceland in 2019, Canda and Norway in 2020, and so on.

I myself made a prediction two years ago, concerning e-book readers: I suspected that this (2010’s) Christmas season is going to be the one where the top gift is going to be e-book readers. I didn’t foresee the “game change” of tablet PCs, but if we consider tablets e-book readers, I don’t think I’ll end up being too far off the mark. ^^

In fact I’m thinking of getting an e-book reader / tablet myself, but one on which it is possible to read and annotate pdf documents. I’m reading loads of journal articles; and “reading” in this case means scribbling notes all over them in pencil and highlighter and pen and whatever happens to lay around on the table. It would be great to do away with those mountains of paper without losing the ability to take notes.

And just a side note on futurology. Nowadays I’m reading a collection of science fiction stories by Isaac Asimov, and enjoying them tremendously. The stories are tied together with a series of autobiographical notes and commentary, and in one of these Asimov tells about his short story called “Everest.”

(In case you want to read it, stop reading now because I’m about to tell you what it’s about.)

In this story, written in 1953, it turns out that Martians are living atop the Mount Everest, and it is thanks to their efforts that man has not been able to conquer that highest of peaks. (They are monitoring us, and they wouldn’t want us to get too close to their only base on Earth.) Unfortunately for Asimov, a couple of weeks after he wrote the story, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did scale the mountain. This didn’t stop the publisher from going ahead; and so “Everest” did came out in December 1953.

And thus one of the best known futurologists had predicted that man would never climb the Mount Everest five months after man did actually climb it.

Which is a good reminder that predictions are best enjoyed with a pinch of salt.

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