In 2005 two guys at Poynter Institute updated a video project that they had produced the year before. Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson’s Epic 2014 was a hit in late 2004 before being updated in January 2005 as Epic 2015. The short video (technically a Flash animation) was widely distributed online and became a flashpoint for issues that were just beginning to gain the attention of media analysts and journalists.
The events mentioned in Epic 2015 begin in 1984 and continue through 2004. Events from 2005 through 2015 are presented as factual but are actually predictions made at the close of 2004. But as many have reminded us, making predictions is hazardous, especially when they involve the future!
Now that 2015 has come and gone, it is easy to see which predictions came to pass, and which ones didn’t. What is striking is how many of the events described from 2005 through 2015 have taken place in one form or another. Amazon and Google have not merged, but their use of algorithms to track users’ behavior is obviously on target. And while the NYTimes is still available in both print and online formats, so many of the other observations about the future of print journalism have come to pass. Filter bubbles and customized news, aka the “custom content package” described as EPIC, fits the description as, “a collection of trivia, much of it untrue…all of it narrow, shallow, and sensational.”
Too bad they didn’t make a new version in 2015 called EPIC 2025. Those of us who are “the elite and the elderly” want to know what’s next!