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Remember, you heard it here first…

1. Dogs will routinely learn to use electronic devices. Pet doors will come with a button similar to a garage door opener that the dog can operate by itself. Guard dogs will be able to accurately identify and respond to audio alerts (only detectible to canines) from surveillance cameras, and send out a digital “grrrr” to the home owner or property manager. Eventually, police patrol units will consist entirely of trained animals, who will summon each other to crimes-in-progress, bypassing distracted, fallible and prejudice-prone humans. Only after the criminal has been caught in the act and restrained will officers be called to the scene.

2. Letters will be added to the English alphabet. Once all physical keypads have been replaced by digital touch screens, the sky’s the limit. Several characters will be created along with new pronouns and other gendered words in order to encompass all variants of sexual identity and orientation while freeing up the overworked L, G, B, T, Q, I, etc. (not to mention poor M and F).

3. Mass Media will recede to the background in the way of an outmoded monarchy. Media outlets will still make obligatory broadcasts for high-profile events, and the public will pretend to pay attention out of sentimental fondness. Otherwise, like a royal family in decline, the networks and their shrinking staff of celebrities will comprise a closed circle of insiders who only relate to each other. The general population will leave them to natter on among themselves, while employing a variety of tools to gather, verify and organize information more thoroughly and objectively. (I know, this one’s rather unlikely, more a wish than a prediction.)

4. Accelerating extinction of species, combined with a surprising lowering of average human life expectancy due to pollution and man-made and natural disasters, will dramatically reduce the sum total of living creatures on Earth. (All but dogs.) This will lead mathematicians to definitively debunk the idea of reincarnation. The equation will be complex, but the conclusion decisive: “It simply doesn’t add up.”

Watch for more future trends… in the future…

And Happy New Year!