Unlike Igor Panarin, who predicts that in 2010 the US will disintegrate into six separate pieces that will fall under the influence of or be aligned with China, Russia, Japan, Canada, Mexico and the EU, I don't have anything spectacular to predict. In fact, I don't actually have anything new to predict that I haven't previously predicted. My predictions for 2010 were made on the record in my 2004 article entitled "The Virtual World as a Company Town" that has since become somewhat of a widely-cited minor classic, being one of the first scholarly papers ever written on the subject of the laws of virtual worlds. My predictions for 2010 in my 2004 article were three-fold:
1. The war in Iraq will end. (President Obama announced in February of 2009 that this misguided war will officially end on August 31, 2010, and the US is on track to fulfilling this goal.)
2. Osama Bin Laden will be captured, tried and executed. (The Intrade Prediction markets peg the chances of his capture by June 30, 2010 as about 14%, so this still leaves time for a speedy trial and summary execution a la Saddam, especially if the proceedings are held in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. The diversion of US troops from Iraq to Afghanistan may assist in locating and finally capturing him.)
3. A three-dimensional virtual replica of the earth will end up being controlled by private corporations, which will attempt to treat virtual public spaces as corporate ones where freedom of speech is restricted, raising the company town issue in the article. (Microsoft and Google have already created these replicas for many of the major urban centres so the rest of the earth can't be far behind. Furthermore, I bet that it would be extremely difficult to take out an ad or otherwise express oneself in those spaces if the speech involved criticizing the applicable host company.)
Rather good for predictions made in 2004! I eagerly await to see what 2010 actually brings, especially concerning #2, because this will have key repercussions for the situation in Pakistan. As far as Panarin is concerned, much as the hidden nationalist zealot in me secretly wishes for Canada to become a nuclear superpower by assuming control of the Minutemen Silos in the Central US, I think that his predictions are basically fiction. In fact, he has already been proven wrong about one of them, i.e. that the US dollar would collapse in November, 2009.