Feb 21, 2008

Fantasy Sport: Soccer In The Year 2020

I don't know who or what The Future Laboratory is, nor do I know why a company like Orange would hire them to put together a report on the Future of Football. Because whoever these guys are, they don't seem to have a solid grip on reality, much less a legitimate grasp of the changes affecting professional sports in general and soccer/football in particular. According to these visionaries, 12 years from now kits will majestically heal injured players, linesmen will be replaced by robots, "stadiums will be equipped with dry ice rockets to set off any heavy rainfall well before the game" (yes that's a direct quote) and crowds will get energized by cocaine gas (or something to that effect) being pumped through stadium airducts. This is all supposed to take place not in some distant time and place (like, I don't know, a science fiction movie?) but by the year 2020. Twelve years from now. To put this in perspective, think back to 12 years ago and what professional sports were like then. Well, they were pretty close to what they are now, weren't they! Yes, one can now follow, watch and listen to games on the internet and some sports have made use of instant replay (though some were doing so 12 years ago too and that technology certainly isn't new) but by and large we're looking at very similar experiences. If somebody were to teleport you to a soccer match in 1996, you'd be allowed to smoke in the stands, there might actually be standing room, few people would have mobile phones and Brad Friedel would have an American accent. Other than that, I can't think of how it would be terribly different. Now I know about Moore's law and how technological advances are supposed to occur faster over time or something. But let's me serious now: this stuff isn't even science fiction. More like science fantasy. A bunch of school children could have come up with more realistic concepts than this. Granted, their presentation would not have been anywhere near as flashy.

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