In a three part conclusion to Aught Lang Syne, we at NPI turn our attention away from the past and towards the future. Josh presents what he’s looking forward to in the Teens. Tim and John S’s posts on the matter will follow this afternoon.
In the Teens, I am looking forward to…
…The Next Film that Charlie Kaufman Writes and Directs: Charlie Kaufman (who looks kind of like Malcolm Gladwell, doesn’t he?) wrote arguably the best film of the Aughts, despite what John S doesn’t have to say. Being John Malkovich, a great film too, just missed the Aughts, and he wrote the screenplay for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, one of the better films of the Aughts. And, Adaptation ain’t too shabby either. Wired has rightly pegged Kaufman as Hollywood’s brainiest screenwriter, and the themes and developments in his movies force you to consider and reconsider psychological and cognitive scientific assumptions. And, he seems to have a knack for generating excellent acting performances (see Sam Rockwell in Confessions, Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine, and Catherine Keener in Being John Malkovich, among others). Kaufman wrote one film this decade—Synecdoche, NY—which tried very hard to be groundbreaking and innovative but unfortunately bordered on incomprehensibility. But, Kaufman is too talented not to try again and it may just result in one of the best movies of the Teens.
…Whether Lacrosse Becomes a Major Sport: I’m finally reading The Tipping Point, which has gotten me thinking about what’s going to tip in a variety of domains. Of course, much of tipping is due to luck—though not arbitrary luck—which is why I’m so intrigued about whether lacrosse is going to become a major sport. Bill Simmons implies that it is going to tip soon, largely because it’s a safer sport than football. If it does, this would be the first time a sport—not initially major—has became a major sport in a VERY long time, arguably since basketball in the 1950s. Although, I sincerely hope it doesn’t come at the expense of football, which has become in recent years, unquestionably, my favorite sport to watch.
…The Miraculous and Completely Unpredicted Development of the lifeday as the birthday’s replacement: The lifeday could tip too; with a few connectors, mavens, salesman, and some stickiness, we’ve got ourselves a solid replacement for the birthday.
…The Future of the Supreme Court: I’m quite excited to see how the composition of the Supreme Court will change in the Teens. In 1990, the Supreme Court Justices were O’Connor, Stevens, Rehnquist, Powell, Scalia, Kennedy, Blackmun, Marshall, White and Brennan. By 2000, Marshall, Blackmun, White, and Brennan were replaced by Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Breyer. Four changes is pretty significant. There were three changes from 2000 to present, with O’Connor, Rehnquist, and Souter being replaced with Alito, Roberts, and Sotomayor. We will almost certainly have more changes in the Teens than we did in the Aughts and possibly even more than the ’90s, too. Stevens and Ginsburg definitely will be retiring in the next ten years, most likely by the end of President Obama’s first term. And, I wouldn’t be surprised if Scalia, Breyer, and Kennedy retire, as well. There is the off-chance that Thomas will retire, too, as he’ll be 72 by the end of the Teens. I’d guess that four of those six will retire, but especially if there is a Republican President elected in 2012 (very unlikely) or 2016 (possible), it’s very possible that all six will retire.
Ginsburg and Stevens will be replaced by two liberals, which may not seem like it means much, but it does. That would put two “young” liberals on the court to complement Sotomayor, the only young liberal currently serving as a Justice. Moreover, there is a shot at a liberal majority if a Democratic President gets elected in 2012 and 2016. Of course, not all liberals are the same. I sincerely hope and expect that Cass Sunstein will be one of the next two appointees to the Supreme Court. If he is appointed, he could be one of the most innovative justices in the history of the Supreme Court: His judicial minimalism combined with his thoughtful liberalism could provide a legitimate doctrinal counter to Scalia’s textualism, and we could shift the debate a little from the worn living/dead Constitution arguments. Oh, and I also win a bet with John S if he’s appointed in the next two openings.
…How Health Care Reform Pans Out: So, I’m not going to do a full analysis of health care reform because I lack expertise on the specifics. But, the Senate and the House are almost certainly going to agree in Joint Committee to a common health care reform bill that public choice theorists will be critiquing like crazy in the Teens. Far more important than the public choice critique, though, will be the effect health care reform has on the health of individuals, liberty, and our economy. The perceived success of health care reform will likely have a domino effect: If successful, it will give leverage to support more expansive government programs and, if not, well, the opposite. The consequences of health care reform will be, for me, the most intriguing political issue of the Teens.
…Kristen Wiig’s Career Trajectory: Kristen Wiig is the funniest female character actress. Will she go the way of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and create a funny and commercially successful sitcom? Or, will she be more of a movie type? Or, will she just fade into obscurity after SNL? I don’t know but whatever she does, assuming it’s not the latter, I’m so freaking excited for it.
…Tom Brady’s Retirement: This is explained by my Jets fandom.
…Larry King’s Retirement: This is explained by my fandom of reason.
…How the Structure of the Journalism Industry Changes: I’ve already posted about my intrigue on this matter. Is journalism going to be undersupplied? Are fair use laws going to be more stringent? Will journalism—a public good—be publicly subsidized? Or, will advertising models change? Will the distinction between mainstream journalism be completely blurred? As I said in my initial post, “It is by no means clear that the net amount of journalistic information will be less (or more) than it presently is or was during journalism’s heyday: There are just too many factors at work… In the end, we should approach this shift in the dynamics of the journalism industry with curiosity and not downright pessimism (unless of course, you are currently a professional journalist).” And, I remain curious.
…The mass population finally becoming acclimated to automation: See here.
…How Close Cars Come to Driving Themselves: Cars are already parking themselves. Check out this video for evidence. And, within the next 20 years or so, I wouldn’t be surprised if cars will be driving themselves as well, with significant developments happening throughout the Teens. The long-term consequences of this could be very interesting. On the one hand, it will make traffic far less annoying: people will be free to use their smartphones, read on their Nook, or just sit back and relax behind the wheel. Hey, if cars drive themselves, DUI may not even be an offense any longer. This could have disastrous consequences for traffic (and pollution), though, since the relative cost of driving will decrease and thus the supply of cars on the road will inevitably increase, increasing traffic. So, it’s not clear whether the net happiness of drivers would actually increase or decrease when we just look at the traffic variable. But, I digress: New automobile technology is certainly something that I look forward to seeing develop in the next decade.
…Baseball’s Next Statistical Revolution.
…How Twitter, Facebook, and Google Develop: Twitter, Facebook, and Google are all huge. Initially, when Facebook developed it’s applications platform, it seemed that they’d have a chance to seriously compete with Google. But, at least now, it appears that these applications are not going to be enough to compete with Google, whose Google Docs is dominating offices, Gmail dominating personal email, Google Reader dominating blog reading, GChat dominating instant messaging, and soon enough Google Wave dominating your life. All of these innovations have come into prominence is the last five years, so it is obviously exciting to imagine what Google will come up with in the next ten years.
Despite the fact that I don’t think it has any chance of supplanting Google, the way Facebook contributes to the altering of social interaction (along with texting) in the next decade should be interesting: We are already seeing Facebook extend to parents and grandparents and within ten years, the original Facebook generation will be the age of those young parents we laugh at for being members of Facebook now. There will be people who are non-sarcastically “widowed” on Facebook, babies’ births will be (and already are) mere status updates, and the poke will be a thing of the past. People will have a photo trail of their lives easily accessible and a wall trail of their trivial communications as well. Regarding Twiitter, As John S has written, Twitter is still in its interim stage and how it will develop in the Teens is also of great interest. And, if Twitter or Facebook ever releases an IPO, I’m buying.
…The stigma disappearing from September 11th jokes: Well, we may have to wait several more decades for this. But, I could always hope.