Read Part 1

Thomas Sutcliffe hints at the comingsocial media revolution. He sees culture breaking down into micro-cultures,places of individual self-expression. He drools over the idea of owning a TiVobox (I bet he had shelves heaving with unwatched VHS cassettes, like the restof us). Perhaps his most prescient vision is one drawn from an observation of1999. An advert for GAP clothing reflects a changing view of the world. Threechildren represent a changing world, a connected, socially fluid world. Wordsare not present, words divide, and pictures are read by all of us.

Science pundits have an unfair advantage in theprediction game. They can look to what is in the early stages of developmentand then simply place a timeframe on events. So no surprises that Steve Connorlooks to the Human Genome Project for inspiration. It's the ongoing debate onhuman cloning and designer babies that concerns Connor. By 2005, he predicts,the UK government will approve 'therapeutic cloning' of human cells. In 2004,the UK's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority gave such permission.

Connor's vision of computing goes deeper than that ofhis fellow Indy journalists. He sees the end of the silicon chip by 2020,replaced by DNA to produce biological computers. By 2013 the three corecomponents of a bio computer have been developed (storage, method oftransmission and logic system). But progress is slow and bio computers arecurrently far less able than silicon based computers. But Connor may yet beproved right, let's check back in five years' time.

So on the morning of 01.01.2000 there was optimism.Mankind was going forward towards its true potential and destiny. New Labourwas a breath of fresh air. Osama Bin Laden was a fringe loon. We weren'tconcerned with the expenses of our politicians. We didn't have a clue as towhat a Credit Crunch was. Eastern Europe was that place we went on £5 flightsfrom EasyJet. Our military presence in the Middle East was minimal. BigBrother, the TV show, did not exist. Big Brother, the surveillance state wasstill small(ish). Yet somehow all these red flags were missed by those punditsfoolish enough to peer into the crystal ball.

Histories of the twentieth century often begin withthe death of Queen Victoria in 1901. The optimism of that first Independent ofthe twenty-first century lasted 619 days. Histories of the new millennium beginon Tuesday 11 September 2001. The only prediction that everybody got right, theone at the start of each article that day, is that second guessing the futureis a mug's game.

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