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Paul Burri: Predicting the Future, Part II

Bottled air? Like bottled water, it will never catch on

Continuing with Yogi Berra’s remark that, “Predictions are hard; especially about the future.” To that I add my own: “Predictions are easy as long as nobody you know will live long enough to check them out.”

Paul Burri
Paul Burri

I predict that someday in the not-too-distant future it will be possible to have a microchip embedded in your head that will contain all the collected encyclopedic knowledge of mankind. Once implanted, the person will be able to retrieve this information merely by pressing a switch in the side of his head. Eventually, people will learn to access this information by using a “thinking” switch — a switch that can be turned on or off merely by one’s thoughts.

The next step will be instant communication between individuals via “mental e-mails.” No more noisy cell phones in church or at the movies — just people silently “Twittering” to each other during the sermon.

And then, not too long after that, those same scientists will discover the secrets of the human brain. It has long been a mystery how or why some people have the extraordinary talents of being able to instantaneously multiply two enormously large numbers in their head, tell you what day of the week it was on April 17, 1537* or others who can play complex musical pieces after hearing it only once. These are usually the same people who are unable to button their own clothes or use a zipper or remember their own name. Someday we will discover the secret to that mysterious brain power and we will all be able to become musical or mathematical prodigies if we wish.

I predict that one day soon, we will be able to buy bottled air in the grocery store and that people will be paying $100+ for a one day’s supply of clean, fresh “mountain air.” Don’t laugh; what would you have said if I had told you back in 1955 that some day people would be paying more for “mountain spring” water in a plastic bottle (that comes from ordinary municipal water sources, by the way) than they do for gasoline? Or that the gasoline you were paying 15 cents a gallon for would be costing about $3.99 a gallon?

I predict that by 2040, anti-gravity will be discovered/invented, leading to the renaissance of heavy industry and a huge demand for lead balloons. About that time the secret to dark energy will also be discovered. That will lead to the invention of “un-candles” that give off light when you blow them out. At about that time someone will invent something called “un-truth” where the more you say, the truer it becomes — unlike the current situation in Congress and other governments around the world.

My last prediction is based on some of today’s so-called miracle drugs that cure things like erectile dysfunction but whose side effects include the risk of hair loss, heart failure, total paralysis or death. I predict that someday we will have an over-the-counter, nonprescription capsule that will cure the common cold. (Unfortunately, the possible side effects will be coughing and sneezing, headache, runny nose, scratchy throat, hair loss, heart failure, paralysis or death.)

*It was a Saturday and it was raining in Krakow. Check it out if you don’t believe me.

— Paul Burri is an entrepreneur, inventor, columnist, engineer and iconoclast. He is not in the advertising business, but he is a small-business counselor with the Santa Barbara chapter of Counselors to America’s Small Business-SCORE. The opinions and comments in this column are his alone and do not represent the opinions or policies of any outside organization. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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