7 Products, Concepts, and Ideas That Won't Exist by 2025

I'm sort of ashamed to admit that Friday night's baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies is the inspiration for this article. As a sidebar to the actual game itself, the broadcasters noted that someone had built a replica DeLorean hovercraft and was riding it around McCovey Cove in San Francisco, Calif.

This got me thinking (yes, a replica hovercraft DeLorean inspired me; laugh all you want), what if we could travel into the past, or better yet, into the future to see what products, concepts, and ideas survived and which ones drifted away. Back to the Future II wasn't exactly the best predictor of what the future would be like. According to the movie, in three years we're supposed to have flying cars and a Pepsi is expected to cost close to $50. Neither of those predictions looks even remotely feasible, although I will give the movie credit for correctly predicting a baseball team in Miami.

So today, I'm going to give you my best Doc Brown and highlight seven products, concepts, and ideas that won't exist by the year 2025. I could well be wrong, but these seven things are a long way from hitting 88 MPH and sending themselves back to better times.

Products

  • Digital cameras: Come on, you knew there was going to be at least one no-brainer in here! Chances are that if you own a smartphone, the camera in your phone has a higher resolution than the digital camera you own. This is one reason Eastman Kodak bit the dust (one of a dozen may I add) and is another reason why it's crucial to pay attention to camera display sensor companies like OmniVision Technologies (Nasdaq: OVTI  ) that are driving camera innovation in devices from both Apple and Samsung. With new smartphones sporting 8MP cameras, and resolutions increasing yearly, why wouldn't digital cameras go extinct?
  • 3-D televisions: Personally, I'm surprised 3-D televisions still exist now, just two years after debuting on the market. Of the seven things listed here, this is the fad of all fads, and is one of the primary reasons why Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) , which bet big on 3-D TVs, has been in a downward spiral in recent months. There are plenty of reasons that 3-D TVs are staying out of people's homes, including high price points, the need for ridiculous glasses, and frankly, very little content is currently available in 3-D. Lower 3-D set prices could bring a short revival of sales in the future, but the likelihood of 3-D content expanding dramatically amid already tepid sales makes this technology's survival a long shot.
  • Energy drinks: I can almost see teenagers across America, as well as white-collar workers on Wall Street, foaming at the mouth because of this statement. I admit, I'm not an energy drink buyer, period, but I can understand their mass appeal now. What I feel will do them in will be the ever-broadening scope of the Food and Drug Administration. At the moment the FDA is working its way under the tobacco industries' skin and could find its way into regulating the certain aspects of energy drinks including safety, ingredients, and manufacturing, within the next decade. That could be a crushing blow for energy drink giant Monster Beverage (Nasdaq: MNST  ) , which generates more than 90% of its sales from its energy drinks.
  • Credit cards: Sure, there will be a die-hard few who live in caves and refuse to relinquish their platinum miles card from their wallet, but the trend over the coming decade will be a move from plastic to near-field communication inspired modes of payment using mobile devices. NFC payments are more secure, quicker, and more convenient for users. Two companies that could benefit in a big way from this movement are Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB  ) and NXP Semiconductors (Nasdaq: NXPI  ) . NXP makes the chips used in NFC-enabled mobile devices while Dolby Labs' subsidiary, Via Licensing, owns all NFC patents. This means big royalties anytime NFC technology is used in a mobile device. Keep your eye on these two names.

Concepts

  • United States Post Office: Blame email or blame smartphones, but one way or another the post office is on its way out. The USPS defaulted on a required $5.5 billion payment to the postal workers' pension for the first time in its history earlier this month, and for the third quarter, the USPS lost a staggering $5.2 billion, or $57 million per day. That's an unsustainable government loss that's only expected to widen over the coming years and will prompt whichever party finds itself in office over the next decade to give the USPS the ax. FedEx, UPS, and other shippers have a few years to figure out how to pick up the slack before the USPS tips over from a stiff breeze.
  • European Union: All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't solve the eurozone debt crisis if they threw everything they've got at it! After years of grossly mismanaging their budgets, Greece has accepted nearly $300 billion in aid from the EU to buoy its collapsing economy, Spain recently accepted $125 billion in aid for its banks, Ireland took $113 billion in aid, and Italy could be on the verge of needing assistance with its lending rates hovering around 6%. EU leaders can continue to sweep these problems further down the road, but at some point these problems are going to flush to the forefront all at once and the EU as we know it will not exist by 2025.

Ideas

  • The United States is the pre-eminent superpower: Though some disagree, the United States' days as the world's most important nation are numbered. That doesn't mean the U.S. won't hold its lead in innovation and manufacturing, but China is well on its way to dethroning the U.S. in countless other categories. China already lays claim to the world's leading manufacturing output, energy consumption, and steel usage, and should, based on its current trajectory, easily surpass the U.S. in total GDP, retails sales, and imports by 2025. Simply put, people will be looking toward China to dictate global growth in the future first, not the United States.

Foolish roundup
There you have it -- 1.21 gigawatts of products, concepts, and ideas that are destined for extinction by 2025. Let me and your fellow Fools know your take on the above ideas in the comments section below, as well as other products, concepts, and ideas that could fall by the wayside over the next decade.

In order to stay relevant and not wind up on this list itself, Apple is going to need to stay vigilant and adjust its designs to meet consumers' needs. In our latest premium research report, our analysts have dissected the tech giant from every angle, giving you the opportunities and pitfalls that Apple will face. For less than a week's worth of coffee you too can gain an investing edge. Click here to get this premium report on Apple.

Sean Williams has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Dolby Laboratories, Monster Beverage, and NXP Semiconductors . Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 3:58 PM, TMFBiggles wrote:

    You can have my energy drinks when you pry them from my overheated, uncontrollably twitching hands!

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 4:25 PM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    The U.S. may not give up its # 1 status as early as 2025 because of better innovation and successful implementation of ideas. For example, due to increased domestic natural gas and oil production over the last decade or so because of the innovative drilling technique known as fracking an increase in GDP growth of > 3% per year and creation of more jobs across the economy may be possible.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 4:51 PM, yonkmember wrote:

    Just for the record, you appreciate that the resolution of the detector is far from the only major contribution to the resolution of a picture right? Although the chips on cell phones might have more pixels, # of pixels does not necessarily equate to resolution. There are a lot of upstream optics that are just not sufficient for the resolution claimed. You can think of the number of detector pixels almost as resolving power in this case, a theoretical value not actually approached due to poor upstream optics.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 4:51 PM, Kirk42 wrote:

    Your comment about digital cameras ignores one basic fact about taking photos. What you can do with any camera is limited by how much light you can get through the lens, and cell phones will never be able to match a DSLR for image quality, no matter how good the sensors get. The lens matters way too much.

    Now, if you meant to say "small, portable, point and shoot digital cameras aimed at consumers who have a hard time not taking off mother's head in their photos", then maybe. As soon as someone figures out how to pack a decent optical zoom and a bigger lense into a cell phone, those cameras will go *poof* in the market.

    At the end of the day, Cannon, Nikon and so on will have a market for people who want better images than you can get with an itty bitty lens with limited focus and zoom.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 4:54 PM, ryanalexanderson wrote:

    Good fun article.

    I would still say that Digital SLR cameras will be around, as it takes more than megapixel counts to make a good camera. But cheap point-and-shoots - right, absolutely. It will be a much smaller industry.

    Regarding plastic vs NFC - why not both? Credit cards can just be tapped to purchase already. All the convenience, and segregation from my mobile phone. Once viruses start to show up on the ever-more-powerful mobile phones, it seems to make sense to physically keep the ability to hit my account and credit rating on a difference, tiny physical device.

    Agree with the rest of your ideas, though.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 4:55 PM, ryanalexanderson wrote:

    Ha - and you thought it was the energy drinkers who would come out screaming, not us DSLR people!

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:11 PM, Mega wrote:

    My crazy prediction - Amazon.com will buy the US Postal Service.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:15 PM, eibe wrote:

    Digital cameras won't exist?

    Well, true the cheap 'happy click' junk will die. But really 4MP, 6MP or 8MP won't matter. All that matters if you can exchange the lens, put filters in front of it or not. And operate them mechanically instead of through some junk interface.

    I am happily using my 25 year old reflex camera getting way better photos that I could with a smartphone. The only inconvenience it, that I have to scan in the dias.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:15 PM, alouts wrote:

    Amusing article - congrats on finding a limb you're willing to perch on. Can't be all that comfortable out there.

    I'm not sure which of these will come true, but I absolutely would put money on the idea that you're probably more wrong than right. The reality is that 13 years is really just not that much when you're talking about the decline of nations, or even the decline of a technology.

    If I had to handicap these, I'd put even odds on your 3D TV prediction, maybe a little less on the Energy Drink one, and then dramatically lower odds on all the rest.

    If I were going to go out on my own limb, I'd probably say that by that point in time, Facebook and Twitter would both cease to exist. I see no reasonable institutional-scale end state for them, and Twitter in particular seems faddish and eminently replaceable in a decade-plus timeframe.

    I may also say that although it feels absurdly obvious, a decade is probably enough time to *finally* see the last nail in the coffin for news-oriented print media (I see a smaller but long/forever market for print as it relates to literature, some targeted magazines, etc.).

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:18 PM, robyrob wrote:

    I really like that prediction from MegaShort.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:25 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    8) physical school textbooks

    9) desktop-only computers

    I think the EU will still exist, as will the Euro currency. This is just a leetel game of economic chicken being played between Germany and the debtor nations. It's possible somebody leaves, but at the end of the day I think the EU will generally hold things together, and the ECB will monetize a lot of Spanish and Italian and maybe even French debt.

    alouts, I think anyone who believes Twitter won't be around in fifteen years is not a Twitter user. Twitter should be thought of as the greatest wire and news service of all time, where if you organize your feed correctly, all of the news and information you are most interested in is delivered to you daily without you having to make virtually any effort to collect it. One day Twitter will be valued more highly than Facebook, I think.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:32 PM, buckazoid wrote:

    "the EU as we know it will not exist by 2025"

    I can't help but find this ridiculous.

    Yes; there is a large-scale government bailout of some countries. The billions of dollars you list amount to ... a whopping $1000 (one thousand) per citizen of the European Union.

    A lot of political talk, for sure, but just to keep things in perspective, most people I know who live in the U.S. pay a similar amount of money for some "incidental" tax such as property tax, school tax, city wage tax, EVERY SINGLE YEAR! And no one seems to be making a drama of it.

    Correspondingly, in the Eureopean Union country where I live, not only is there no crisis, but I rather see this as a small price to pay for having a stable currency and a solid regional economy.

    Why again is the European Union going to end?

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:35 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    10) the concept of the national or international newspaper (also, the WaPo will be more highly regarded than the NYT by then)

    11) DVDs

    12) non a la carte cable channel bundling

    13) the idea that we will colonize Mars

    14) physical books (particularly novels) for anything other than collectible purposes, children's picture books, and people over the age of fifty

    15) high speed trading

    16) public sector unions

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:36 PM, ScottPletcher wrote:

    Gutsy article, for sure.

    But I think you're 1 out of 7 -- maybe. The EU may indeed go down. [Well, if Obama gets re-elected, then 1 more for sure, as the U.S. will no longer be a superpower; indeed, we'll be lucky to survive as a true republic after four more years of O.]

    I think your statement: "NFC payments are more secure" will be proven false. Tech-savvy crooks may have a field day with NFC in the next decade.

    3D TVs may eventually catch on, the marketing folks just tried it to push it too hard, too fast.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:37 PM, richie54 wrote:

    Sean,

    Get your research/facts correct here. The Post Office is going broke because a lame-duck session of Congress in 2006 passed a law that required the good old P.O. to pre-fund 75 years of future retiree benefits at a cost of $5.5 billion per year. No entity, be it public, private or government has to bare such a burden. Our great legislators at work!

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:37 PM, sroller wrote:

    The € might be gone by 2025, but I think the EU will be there. Don't mix up the Eurozone with the European Union.

    Do you really think Facebook will still be around? If - then it might sit on the bench next to MySpace.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:41 PM, wwu124 wrote:

    It is foolish to think cellphone camera will replace SLR. The most important part of photography is the lenses.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:43 PM, GeeBeeNC wrote:

    FedEX is quite dependent on the USPS for it's own profit. I.e. FedEX contracts to deliver much of the USPS overseas mail and also has recently added the service where they do the cross country and USPS does the terminal to door part.

    FedEX will bailout USPS or absorb it.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:45 PM, hbofbyu wrote:

    Personal Privacy and Rugged Individualism should be on this list.

    Each generation is becoming normalized to more intrusion of advertising, businesses and governments - justified by commerce and security.

    And already the feminization of America is substituting Hillary Clinton where John Wayne used to be. When Clint Eastwood dies the transition will be complete.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:52 PM, PeakOilBill wrote:

    Digital cameras will always exist because of the ability to change lenses. There will never be a smart phone substitute for a telephoto lens that can equal the image quality taken with one. It is like saying a smaller diameter telescope mirror can be made equal to a larger one. That can never happen. It is physics.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:55 PM, AndrewC wrote:

    Nothing continues on a straight line forever, and China's rise is the same. Hundreds of millions of people have risen out of abject poverty, and that is wonderful. However, the growth can't continue at this rate forever. Remember when the Japanese were going to run the world? China has a real demographic problem as a result of the one-child policy that will likely hit around 2020 and there are other problems too. I would predict that China grows a bit more in power, then levels off (maybe even falls back a bit for a while).

    At the same time, US borrowing can't continue forever, so a reconning is coming (soon I think, 1-2 years) and that will be very painful. But the innovative, market oriented economy will recover and the many exciting technologies under development "could" keep the US in the top spot for quite a while yet.

    Should I boldly predict something that won't exist in 2025? How about broadcast TV? Too timid? How about cable TV? All content will be delivered over the internet. (So cable companies will exist, but distribute on an internet platform, rather than the current platform.)

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 5:57 PM, Bsorge10 wrote:

    I cannot argue with your reasoning. The main exception is 3 D tv, but not for the 3 D use. I have a 60" that I find provides a multidimensional that you won't get on regular tv. I never watch real 3 D content, except an occasional football game.

    Let's see what the new OLED tv picture produces.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 6:11 PM, caravan70 wrote:

    Two quick points:

    1) There will always be a market for credit products. People may not be using credit cards in 2025, but they'll certainly be linking to credit accounts in some fashion. One thing that will never go away is the desire of some folks to have things that their current bank account balance can't cover.

    2) As long as China is a totalitarian nation, it won't get past the US in the vast majority of metrics. The US is the world capital of innovation. China can imitate, but it can't invent, for the most part. Unless there's a major technological shift in the next 13 years, I don't see any sort of supremacy (except, of course, in population) belonging to the Chinese. With 1.3 billion people, they couldn't even top the Olympic medal count.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking piece. And - no, I'm not buying a 3D TV anytime soon. :)

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 6:18 PM, sydisquid wrote:

    Predicting the future is a fools game -- and doesn't everyone love to do it?

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 6:36 PM, olddogfb wrote:

    As a barely post war baby, I would think the first crop of us will pretty much be dust in 2025.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 6:40 PM, ChasRIA wrote:

    Haven't you heard? Google is buying Ford, GM, Amazon, the USPS, and the Department of Defense? We will probably see some other unexpected changes in the next 10 years!

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 6:52 PM, smartmuffin wrote:

    Since when did government entites give a damn whether something is sustainable or not?

    Don't expect the USPS or EU to go away just because it makes economic sense to get rid of them...

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 7:00 PM, 48ozhalfgallons wrote:

    I doubt 0% interest rates will be around.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 7:10 PM, stevenadkins wrote:

    You should also add physical media for content distribution. CDs, DVDs, and even BluRay discs are dinosaurs once every single media viewing device is connected continuously to the Internet. See major data center builds by Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. as where all media content you own, or wish to stream, will be stored. The rack of CDs in my house is looking as antique as the box of LPs from the 70s.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 7:16 PM, owup74 wrote:

    I think the author was referring to the cheap point and shoot cameras DLSR cameras wont be going anywhere for a very long time but even then look at records and VHS tapes. Some say right now it may be a fad but sometimes its fads that keeps things from going away completely so who knows

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 7:24 PM, owup74 wrote:

    Much as I hate to admit it but he may have a point with energy drinks unless the people tell the government enough is enough and votes the bums who passes these bills that treats our constitution like a walking door mat. That could also tie into us being a supper power to the only way to save the government is to vote the bums in congress to include the president out and start fresh. Get rid of things like the Patriot act, FACTA, FBAR and Obama care which is driving people with money and business out of the US and turning away would be investors and inventors off to coming to the US and opening shop. Another thing that could save the US is get rid of the leach pit known as the DHS which is a multimillion dollar money pit.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 7:24 PM, schmekel wrote:

    China is so vastly overrated as an economic powerhouse I cant even begin to descrie it. They are a castle built on sand - quicksand. I will publish a DETAILED abalysis on this but just to start - I'd like to know how 4 generations of a one child, no girls policy will support a workforce that is already undermanned and ready to retire with no hope in hell of finding a replacement force and nothing een resembling a social safety net, besides the very children who have been taken advantage of.

    I'd also like to know how China will continue to base its entirely export driven economy when its prices continue to lose compettiveness, its now cheaper to manufacturer clothing in Mexico with maquiladoras then import from the far corners of Asia where prices are not as competitive as they are even among other Asian economies (see Vietnam, cambodia , Bangladesh) and an economy that has the world's LOWEST internal consumer rate

    China is a one-trick pony and that trick is a lea that is evaporating among otyher insurmountable difficulties. China is, in essence - a less socially stable of Japan in the early 80's on steroids

    I'll post the rest of my thesis later.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 7:32 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    17) mainstream major-party opposition to gay marriage

    18) the Maine lobster industry (as we know it)

    19) U.S. ethanol subsidies

    20) the primary role of manned fighter jets

    21) aircraft carriers as a symbol of milatory supremacy; they'll increasingly be albatrosses

    22) American Idol

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 7:55 PM, hbofbyu wrote:

    Energy drinks? Are you kidding? Coca-Cola started out as an energy drink. If anything, there will be more energy drinks in the future and they will claim to do more for you (make you beautiful, thin and give you energy.) The FDA can be bought just like anything else in government (See legislation sponsored by Orrin Hatch regarding health supplements).

    The day you see an end to "energy drinks" is the day you see an end to diet fads, health foods and exercise equipment. It's not going to happen.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 7:58 PM, HarryCaraysGhost wrote:

    "Neither of those predictions looks even remotely feasible, although I will give the movie credit for correctly predicting a baseball team in Miami."

    You do recall the team that the Miami 9 squadren was playing in the World Series right?-

    Yup, none other than The Chicago Cubs.

    That movies prognocations are as good as Gold!

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 8:01 PM, BakanaHito29 wrote:

    I disagree with the notion that China will soon (or in the near future) dethrone America as a super power.

    America's power comes from her, superior values, strong political system, vast and diverse economy, inventive spirit , military superiority, leading educational institutions, ability to successfully assimilate peoples of all color, race and creed, culture of looking to the future with optimism rather than getting mired in the "greatness" of her past, and when the chips are down to simply (as the Brits say) "buck up". No other nation can boast of having this combination.

    If China wants to become a superpower it will have to re-invent itself. Otherwise it will be like the "superpower" USSR that simply disintegrated.

    Make note of a simple fact, China has now put limits (1000/month) on giving exit visas to its citizens who wish to leave China.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 8:19 PM, situpandflyright wrote:

    I think that 2025 is too generous. You have to factor in the crushing debt this country is facing.When interest rates rise, and they will again, we will be in a world of hurt. I think it might be the USA that will be

    unrecognizable in 2025. Am I a pessimist, maybe but maybe I am more of a realist. I hope I am wrong on all accounts.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 8:30 PM, HSHEnterprises wrote:

    I'm 100% sure that I don't care what will be here in 2025..I won't be...and at the rate we are going in this "I got mine to Hell with you" society..that's a good thing.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 9:10 PM, starspangledfool wrote:

    Wow! 7 predictions and you are actually wrong on all 7. 100% congrats. Everyone of these will be around in 13 years, and doing well. All will have morphed slightly to adapt to the marketplace, but will be recognizable for what they are. Hard to guess which you are the most wrong about... probably US standing in the world though....in fact if either of the 2 countries as we know them aren't around in 2025 it will be the PRC. Nice that you got paid for writing it though. Now go try and actually understand how the world works at more than a topical level.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 9:12 PM, Stagewalker wrote:

    I completely disagree on the high end DSLR camera, which professionals will continue to use until a better sensor and lens technology forces them to change. Does that mean that toy cameras in cell phones have no place? Certainly not. They will replace the low end digital camera. They are wonderful for posting cute videos of your babies or catching that bootleg recording of a concert. Some of them are even good enough that you can sit in a movie theater, record the movie and publish the result to your friends until someone finds out and throws you in jail.

    However, there are other products that are in danger we might wish to consider.

    Clean water

    Clean air

    Shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico

    Salmon from Alaska

    Boston Harbor and Tampa Bay were both so polluted that the fish caught there could not be eaten. With the reduced environmental regulations in Florida, how long before all the Gulf fisheries collapse?

    Ah, yes, we will pay less taxes in the interim.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 9:34 PM, whachagonnabet wrote:

    The PO has definitely been done a dirty but the Congress, being held to a higher pension ideal than anyone else on the planet. That said, I'd like to see any one replace the PO's services at even double the cost to the user. UPS and Fedex rely on the USPS to go the "last mile"; they can't do it and have the same customer base. They also can't deliver a handwritten piece of mail (antiquated as that sounds, it is a wonderful thing) for 90 cents, much less 45 cents. The PO also has, dollar for dollar, the best package delivery system. No one else gets an 8 oz letter package across the country for $5.95 in 2-3 days or for $18.95 overnight.

    The problem is that our Congress Critters seem to want to take it apart. And, I for one, say more fools they!

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 10:04 PM, dstb wrote:

    China is a mess and their command economy will eventually falter badly. For every stat you cite the U.S. has a leadership position in something else. In fact, the only reason the U.S. declines is because we, as a people, let it happen. Bad economic policy, overbearing government, a horrendous and ineffective tax code, and people's inability to get past class envy. We are our own worst enemies.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 10:15 PM, Capivara wrote:

    I don't undderstand the appeal of NFC payment. Instead of swiping a card I waive a phone? Doesn't seem like much of a difference so why bother switching?

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 10:21 PM, Prospero13 wrote:

    Considering that most mainstream energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull contain less caffeine than a cup of coffee, I doubt the FDA will have much of a case to abolish them unless they intend on banning coffee as well.

    http://www.energyfiend.com/the-caffeine-database

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 10:26 PM, danleehvac1 wrote:

    What do you mean digital cameras will be a thing of the past? Professional photographers are going to use their Ipones for telephotography?

    The US is going to lose their position of power in the world to ... China?!

    The European union might have some rough waters but it's going to dissolve despite powerful European bankers interest in keeping it together?

    Meh I thought some of these would be good but really they are completely foolish.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 10:43 PM, lowmaple wrote:

    Dumbmoney Colinizing Mars won't fade as an idea. It MAY not be possible by then but technology is progressing fast enough that the energy and ways to build gravity and big bubble cities will happen. Also, the population will have to go somewhere unless we meet armeggedon before that.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 11:10 PM, ershler wrote:

    @TheDumbMonkey

    You are a little late on #19 since ethanol subsidies ended 1/1/2012.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 11:29 PM, troutfishin wrote:

    I have a prediction. I predict that as the team at the Large Hadron Collider tries to find the "God" particle, they inadverntly rupture the "Space / Time" Continuum which causes a small black hole to form that slowly rips apart the Earth and later the Heavens. Or, the U.S. ends up defaulting on its debts and asks the bondholders of the Social Security Trust Fund and the Medicare Trust Fund to take a 80% haircut. Then they ask China to take a 80% haircut. China gets mad, presses the red "Launch" button, which we see, so we do as well, which prompts Russia into the mix, and soon all debts are forgiven, so to speak.

    "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." - Albert Einstein

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 11:57 PM, TrackUltraLong wrote:

    To end the DSLR hatred... I love my DSLR camera and there is a small chance that it may not go the way of the dodo. But consider how rapidly resolutions have evolved in camera technology in phones in just a few years. In 13 years that could well be enough to cancel out the need for digital camreas completely. That's my thesis and I'm sticking to it.

    TMFUltraLong

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2012, at 11:59 PM, TrackUltraLong wrote:

    48ozhalfgallons,

    A wise observation.. I'm not certain why we're still at a 0% fed funds rate. At this point in time it's doing more harm than good and attempting to raise the rate in 2015 could spiral the economy back into a recession.

    TMFUltraLong

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 2:16 AM, Foolme2x wrote:

    TMFUL - surprising that you have a DSLR since it appears that you have no concept of how digital cameras work. As others have pointed out, megapixel rating is just one of many factors that determine the quality of the image produced by a digital camera. Consumer digital cameras have been around for about 20 years. Technology has evolved rapidly and comparing an early '90s digital camera to a current one is like comparing a pre-WWII automobile to a current one.

    Not sure when they started putting cameras in phones, but I got my first camera phone more than 10 years ago. While the one in my present smartphone is definitely better than that 1st one, either is a very poor substitute not only for a DSLR, but for a current shirt pocket sized digital camera, assuming the latter has a 5x or greater zoom lens with good optics.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 2:44 AM, Bekim77 wrote:

    Energy drink, those aren't going any where.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 4:30 AM, portefeuille wrote:

    Never reply to people in the U.S. trying to talk about Europe.

    Never reply to people in the U.S. trying to talk about Europe.

    Never reply to people in the U.S. trying to talk about Europe.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 4:34 AM, portefeuille wrote:

    Also never post links to wikipedia entries related to Europe. A fruitless endeavour ;)

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 7:24 AM, jonesericr wrote:

    As far as USPS goes I think it might hang on for a bit or get modified. Most of you folks in the US forget about us people stationed/posted etc... overseas that work for the military or are in the military. Right now anything we purchase goes from the seller to USPS somehow, sometimes by FEDEX/UPS but other times just dropped at the post office. After that it heads to a sort center on one of the costs and then into the military postal system where it could take days or months to get to us. Right now FEDEX and UPS don't/won't ship to us directly; however, the US GOV could come up with an alternative to USPS to get us our mail.

    As far as FEDEX/UPS/DHL taking up the slack for USPS I believe they already have a plan and are just waiting for the right time to deploy it. It's probably not cost effective right now with USPS still existing.

    As for China I think there political model will change over time to meet that marker of being the next economic dictator. Hopefully it won't be a violent change, since I live in Japan I don't think I want to see that country explode or implode into cahos. Don't think it will happen? Yeah no one thought the Soviet Union would go down either.

    ej

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 8:27 AM, Gregory63 wrote:

    I have to second an earlier comment about USPS.

    USPS would be if Congress hadn't meddled with it to set it up for failure.

    This is the standard MO with those in Congress who want to privatize every Government function: do something to cause a crisis, and then try to use that crisis to do what you wanted to do when you set up the crisis in the first place.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 9:02 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    I agree with the premise that the USPS will not exist in the future. FedEx and UPS can step up to fill the void.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 9:12 AM, Quiza23 wrote:

    I think that the USPS prediction is way off the mark. Its current difficulties are politically motivated and will be solved. Yes, e-mail has hit the service but there are lots of reasons to keep it around. Advertisers (and political campaigns) still rely on direct mail, though admittedly not like just a few years ago.

    It is far more likely that we will see FedEx and DHL merge in the future than that we will see the end of the USPS. Between UPS and FedEx lowering revenue projection due to the down turn in the economy and other short turn, short time deflections in privatization movements there should be, as the Constitution says, a postal service (that is semi-private) competing with fully private entities..

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 9:29 AM, gcp3rd wrote:

    The US Department of Labor lists the USPS as the employer/industry that will show the most job losses in the next decade (2010-2020).

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 10:04 AM, kirkydu wrote:

    Some smart billionaire will buy the USPS from the government, accept some minimum delivery rules to do it, and make billions more once Congress can't set the USPS rates.

    Little camera phones over cameras for sure, but a real camera for "artistic" stuff. So probably 80% of camera market switches to phone based.

    The U.S. might lose some absolute numbers to China, but by 2025 America will see another leg up in standard of living which is the most important economic number.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 10:25 AM, lctycoon wrote:

    Agree on the digital cameras one - anyone that knows anything about digital cameras knows that megapixels aren't that important and frankly, cell phones can't replace them due to inherent technical limitations.

    I agree that people who don't care a whole lot about picture quality (most consumers for example), but amateur photographers and professionals will definitely not shift.

    BTW - 8 mpx is pretty pathetic. Any good quality digital camera will do 12 to 13 already and there are cameras that will do 40 to 50 mpx.

    Disagree about the EU. I think it will go the other way and become more integrated. The EU debt crisis is just a media distraction anyway. The USA is the real problem - you're an analyst. Look at the numbers. Every single country in Europe is in better shape than the USA going forward.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 12:01 PM, UpFromDownunder wrote:

    I stand firmly in the "no way will digital cameras go away" camp. Cellphones may replace basic point-n-shoots for snapshot stuff, but any higher end photography will always be done with a dedicated camera.

    - Weight matters in a cellphone and good optics aren't light which makes them incompatible.

    - Replaceable lenses (macro, telephoto and super-telephoto, tilt-shift etc) require a substantial mount that will never be compatible with a cellphone form factor

    - Cellphones don't have hotshoes and I see no reason any manufacturer would ever put one on.

    - Cellphones don't have a tripod mount (granted, you _may_ be able to buy an adapter?), nor do they have long (think multiple second) exposures.

    Think of it this way - wedding photography is one of the most ubiquitous forms of professional photography. Do you really see a wedding photographer whipping out their .... cellphone??? to shoot the wedding?

    And this doesn't even begin to touch on brands that focus specifically on high end pro equipment (think Hasselblad, Mamiya etc medium format digital).

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 12:13 PM, Melaschasm wrote:

    I disagree with much of your predictions, but like your post for the thought provoking nature.

    Products

    •Digital cameras: Hobby photography and professionals will be slow to convert.

    •3-D televisions: There are many people who do not care for 3D, so it will not be dominate, but technology tends to plunge in price over time, making these TVs much more affordable for 3D fans.

    •Energy drinks: Extreme energy drinks might be taxed/regulated into cigarette status, or banned, but many will remain popular.

    •Credit cards: I personally do not want to lose my credit cards every time I misplace or lend out my phone, but you are probably right about this one.

    Concepts

    •United States Post Office: There are many easy fixes for the Post Office, including 3 day a week delivery. This might be privatized, but it will still exist.

    •European Union: The EU is more likely to increase the power of its central government, than it is to dissolve. The EU has many problems, but it remains the best way for Europe to wield power on the global stage.

    Ideas

    •The United States is the pre-eminent superpower: I believe we are headed towards a multipolar power structure. The US, EU, China, and India are likely to be the four superpowers of the future. However, the USA will still be the only global superpower in 13 years. The rest will have equal or greater power in their regions, but will need more time to develop the ability to project force across the globe.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 12:52 PM, phexac wrote:

    Everyone talks about SLR cameras, but regular small pocket cameras still have MUCH better optics and sensors than the little POS cameras in the phones. I really don't see any of the cameras going anywhere. Quality of pictures taken by phone cameras is very poor, and higher megapixels won't help, which is very apparent when you try to look at those pictures on anything other than the tiny camera screen.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 1:03 PM, vegaland wrote:

    It's hard to make accurate predictions, especially about the future.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 1:25 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    Ershler, I was speaking too loosely.

    The mandate for a certain amount of ethanol in gasoline remains in place, which is a subsidy of its own kind. The E-10 federal mandate remains in place, and until it does not, the industry is being subsidized. If there were no mandate to include ethanol in gasoline, it would instantly all be gone, because from a market perspective, it makes no sense. (It also makes no sense from an environmental perspective.) Again, 15 billion gallons are mandated for use by 2015, and 36 billion gallons by 2022. It's nonsense, and the federal mandate that still props up this industry needs be slowly phazed out, and my prediction is that it will be.

    DM

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 1:26 PM, BMFPitt wrote:

    Digital cameras - There won't be a need for low-end cameras, but even the best of phone cameras can't compete with a years-old mid-range camera. Optics just plain can't fit into that form factor without sacrificing quality.

    3-D televisions - They still make those?

    Energy drinks - I could see them going out of fashion, but even if the FDA cracked down there'd still be "maximum allowed by law" drinks.

    Credit cards - Eh, a change of form factor isn't quite the same as ceasing to exist.

    United States Post Office - As it exists today, probably not. But probably a 3-days-a-week serivce.

    European Union - The political union will be fine, the monetary union is soon to be dead.

    The United States is the pre-eminent superpower - Nobody else seems like a plausible replacement. China is not stable enough and probably won't be for some time.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 1:37 PM, JimmyZangwow wrote:

    When I started reading this, I thought, "Oh boy, here goes another list with baseball going obsolete by year XXXX". So I'm happy that you didn't predict that, because I need MLB.

    That being said, yes credit cards are becoming the new checkbook, and are on their way out. Soon you'll see old people in the line with their credit cards as those using radio transmitting chips hustle past them.

    Energy drinks? They'll taste even better if they are made illegal.

    EU? The Scandawegians and Germans will dissociate themselves financially from the rest. But the rest will still have far more sunny days throughout the year, except for the UK and Ireland.

    Dig cams - who knew they were near and dear to so many?

    USPS - a privatized parcel delivery service without good pensions.

    3DTV - meh. Form-fitting VR-supplemented gorilla glass with wireless connectivity, designed to shake hands with human cognitive processes. Or not.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 3:22 PM, ziq wrote:

    I have to add my voice about digital cameras. Silly prediction! There will always be serious photographers and they will always want dedicated cameras. Trying to miniaturize the quality optics we want into a smart phone would be a hideous and unnecessary expense. Contrary to your statement, my Nikon D700 beats the living crap out of my iPhone as an imaging device; most of my pocket point-and-shoots do a better job.

    I would venture to say, on the contrary, the dedicated digital camera (assuming there is not some game-changing technology to replace CCD's the way CCD's replaced film, which isn't that likely any time soon) is more likely to survive the smart phone. After all, look at the trajectory of photographic technology over the past two centuries versus communications technology. The former has pretty much always been a box with a lens system at one end and some kind of imaging technology on the other--first an artist's hand, then glass plates, then celluloid and finally CDD's. A ten-year-old child could well identify a Kodak Instamatic or a Nikon F1 as a camera but not have a clue what to make of a rotary dial phone. There's no reason to assume the cell phone as currently construed will be around that long. Maybe we'll have Dick Tracey two-way wrist TV's by 2025.

    The DSLR specifically, though, I'm not so sure. In the film days the only way to view the shot exactly as it would appear on the film was either the SLR or view camera. Today's point-and-shoot digitals give you an exact image on their LCD screens, it's just difficult to see and relatively low resolution. That could easily change in 13 years. Even now there are high quality mid-sized (by digital standards) cameras with interchangeable lenses. I see DSLR as a transitional technology. There is no reason the best quality cameras have to be SLR.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2012, at 10:52 PM, lovesdos wrote:

    someone who writes for moldey fool show know better. total production numbers are useless when there is a real difference in population and land area. my great grandaughter is celebrating her second birthday, not in her lifetime will china's per capta gdp surpass ours and cina will continue to copy our innovations

  • Report this Comment On August 16, 2012, at 8:05 PM, WildTing wrote:

    Digital cameras dead? Have you seen the thousand dollar monstrosity cameras that people are now hauling around?

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 11:17 AM, MKB711 wrote:

    You forgot the antiquated, Enronesque affair of the industrial wind boondoggle.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 11:38 AM, Morgana wrote:

    THE United States Post Office is required by a recent law to fund its retirement fund SEVENTY FIVE YEARS into the future!!! The United States Post Office receives NO!!!! federal funding. No other company is required to fund their retirement 75 years into the future (funding for people who have not even been born yet)! Why would Congress do this? To get rid of a powerful union and, in turn, support FED EX and United Parcel. Anyone who cites email etc. as the reason the US Post Office is a dinosaur is rather short cited. Email will not deliver my Amazon or Ebay buys. Email will not deliver my meds, my Christmas gifts. If you think mailing stuff is expensive now, wait till FeD Ex and UPS are the only game in town. They will determine their own prices and cut out deliveries to rural areas. The United States Post Office BEFORE the law requiring 75 years of retirement funding was quite solvent with profits from bigger cities offsetting the rural costs. AND, by the way, I do NOT work for the United States Post Office.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 11:46 AM, Ne1red1 wrote:

    Great article. By the way, Flying Cars are closer than we think too... check out Terrafugia's Transition Vehicle - simply land at the airport, fold up your wings and drive home. just like the Jetsons! www.terrafugia.com

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 12:07 PM, tkell31 wrote:

    Postal service is dead. 3D printing will accomplish what little the postal service is needed for.

    Digital cameras, either something better will come along or phones will replace them. Sure paid photographers might have them, but no one else will.

    3-D televisions...didnt even know they were still being sold.

    The scary reality is we are getting closer and closer to just plugging ourselves into our hi-tech equipment and completely changing how we

    By the time the US isnt the world's super power the need for a super power will be gone. Already archaic economic models are failing as supply far, far exceeds demand and technology limits the need for a labor force.

    One thing is certain change is happening at an accelerating pace lead by the US and the rest of the world is trying to keep up.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 12:12 PM, nancydog wrote:

    Sean is 100% correct. It was a lame duck Congress, probably bought by UPS, and other Corporate Persons, who shifted the pension payments from the Fed budget to the USPS and preloaded the payments at 5 1/2 billion per year. I wonder if that money exists in a dedicated lockup, or whether the House considers it fungible. I love the USPS despite the garbage mail. It's still one of the best mail bargains in the world, but I tend to agree with Sean, that we will witness it's death by asphyxiation in the future. O termpore. O mores! Alas, poor postal deliverers, I knew them, Sean. Sprightly, and cheerful, despite the supervisors. Many are the times they sipped at my lemonade, and regaled me with tales of their travels and travails. Such as them are rare creatures and their disappearance shall be a major societal loss. Weep, Weep, people, for there is no comfort in loss. Mourn for those who braved the elements, so that we could seek out the vegetable bargains, the steak specials, the pictures of chicks in bras and men in jockey shorts. Oh for the tears off the demand from creditors, and the pleasure of the US Treasury refund check. All, all to disappear in the Cloud. What! Shall I save my postage stamps for posterity, to declare to future generations the idyll which once was---the joy of paper and pen, the folding, the licking of envelope flaps. The hesitation in choosing the proper return address sticker, whether it have a flower emblem, an animal, or a slogan---which one should accompany the contents. Vanished in history. Postal Service, we salute you, who are about to die! Sic transit gloria mundi.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 12:22 PM, msterw wrote:

    Sean Williams didn't say camera phones were better, he said digital phones wouldn't be around. Beta was, or so I was told, better than VHS, but "most" people used VHS, it was cheaper so Beta went away. Most teens carry around cell phones. Instagram is all about cell phones. Facebook is all about cell phones. Social media is all about cell phones. High end video cameras, some with removable lenses, now let you capture still frames. I am about to plop a large sum of cash on a top end DSLR, but I also have four lenses that I can hang off my iPhone. How naive you all are to assume you can be so certain of what the masses will continue to force into existence 13 years from now. While working at a photo lab in high school I would not have predicted the end of 35mm film, yet here we are. Audiophiles will tell you that the quality of music we listen to has degraded over time from the record to cassette to CD and now the mp4 by our constantly trying to shrink the size of our files so that we can carry more in a smaller space. Yet, that is what the masses have asked for, so it is what we accept. The dollars of the masses will answer this question, not the pennies of the few professionals and wannabes like myself. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Move on people.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 12:32 PM, spenserdog wrote:

    China - demographic cliff - old before they are rich. Periphery will pull away from the center- the cycle of Chinese history.

    US - look at a globe - notice the position of the US- geopolitically isolated, easy access to Atlantic AND Pacific. US has MANY safe harbors - cf. Athens and Britain- who controls the seas controls the known world. It would take China 100 years to develop the naval culture required to seriously challenge US control of the oceans.

    The fact that the US is about to become the Saudi Arabia of the 21st century is but icing on the geopolitical cake.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 12:32 PM, apprenticeDRL wrote:

    Im English and looked at a lot of the comments about the EU with interest. I personally think that the Euro will become a 2 tier currency for Northern and Southern Europe. The quickest way to solve the Euro crisis would be for Germany to leave

    The real question for the US is will they survive the fiscal cliff? Secondly by 2025 will they still be the worlds reserve currency? There is currently a lot of discussion about this in light of the US playing politics with non US financial institutions.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 12:47 PM, weldongee wrote:

    My only beef with this is the comment on digital cameras. It seems he has fallen for the marketing crap that says that 8Mb on a small sensor is the same as 8Mpix on a larger sensor. Well, since most consumers fall for it as well, he will likely still be right. We will end up with worse photographs. Which is already the case. Because, I see the average consumer photograph from 10+ years ago on film is FAR BETTER than the average photograph a consumer gives today

    But in short. More megapixels does not mean the camera is better or worse. In fact, placing more pixels on a very small sensor with a crappy small lens likely makes it WORSE than having less.

    Now will we have all in one devices with better lenses built in. I expect so.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 1:04 PM, LDSGJA wrote:

    Better hope my phone never runs out of batteries or I won't be able to pay for anything.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 1:05 PM, citservices wrote:

    You are wrong about digital cameras. You can put as many megapixels as you want into a smart phone, but you still have a small lens and that will be the main limiting factor. A hand held 4 megapixel camera will take a better picture than a 16 megapixel smart phone. And if the phone has a fingerprint smear or dust on the lens a 50 year old 35MM camera will do better.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 1:12 PM, notraitor wrote:

    I find it highly interesting how people like the ones at the motley fool nonchalantly say the US will no longer be the leader of the free world. It is you people who sent the jobs to china, a communist country. If things continue as they are, within 50 years there will be generalized rebellion in the United States against traitors like you. Maybe if you "world economy" types paid your fair share and read the constitution things would be different. Any country that hides a child from her mother's illness so they can win a gold medal is certainly not a world leader. You people will get yours in the end. You statement is traitorous.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 1:35 PM, Ojoajoman wrote:

    OK, I'll bite. How about

    23. The U.S. Tax Code, as we know it. Or, at least, a reduction from its current complexity to just a 1500 page single volume.

    24. Citizens United?

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 1:48 PM, PebbledShore wrote:

    "China already lays claim to the world's leading manufacturing output ..."

    Sorry, that's simply wrong.

    http://business.time.com/2011/03/10/can-china-compete-with-a...

    The United States is still the world’s largest manufacturer with more manufacturing output than China, India, and Brazil combined, while the U.S. has just 11% the population of those three countries.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 1:59 PM, ershler wrote:

    TheDumbMonkey,

    You still need to tighten up your verbiage since ethanol will still need to be used as a oxygenate for gasoline unless you think we are going back to MBTE no matter what happens to the mandate.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 2:15 PM, auntm wrote:

    Why doesnt DBL's annual report even mention that they own such a wonderful patent?

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 3:09 PM, GRSG wrote:

    DSLR will still be here, no questions.

    Cell phone replacing credit cards??? Try getting a US cell phone to work anywhere else but in the US, I just don't see this working unless we all go back to cash? Right!

    European Union? Euro maybe, EU? Silly.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 3:55 PM, mcrable1 wrote:

    These predictions have certainly spawned some of the most lively discussion that I've seen in a while.

    I'm betting on the following by 2025:

    - a decent electric car;

    - a revised tax code (not necessarily better, but

    new);

    - a woman as president of the USA before then;

    - Bill Gates new toilets getting installed in new

    homes. ;-)

    - both the Euro and the European Union still

    being in existence (no one likes to admit

    failure).

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 5:22 PM, gamblegold wrote:

    another worthless article . . . i'm now off to terminate my relationship with mf. this is just getting to be an endless and pointless media churn . . .

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 5:31 PM, steverawlinson wrote:

    I remember when Japan was going to outdo us, and now it's supposed to be China. But China has a lot of problems. A corrupt government sustained by lack of freedom for the people being governed is not going to overtake us and sustain that. If China overtakes us, it will only be after a regime change ushers in freedom for the Chinese people. I agree with BakanaHito29 and andrewC.

    As for the EU, the question for me is whether the EU collapses before or after California.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 7:42 PM, GinLit wrote:

    Smartphone cameras.

    Thought that smartphone could obsolete real cameras was in the air for a long time.

    People who express this idea have very distant understanding in photography.

    Definetly not a camera takes a good photo, but a person. This is known to any photographer. But I never seen any good picture printed from smart phone.

    Many people before me already sad, that pixels do not matter. Basic camera with 3Megapixel sensor would make better picture than smartphone with any amount of Pixels.

    Lens quality in the smart phone - it is a joke.

    With latest advance in sensors and development of Back Side ILLuminated sensors or availability of CMOS sensors for entry level cameras this cameras getting quality close to traditional low price SLR.

    Lenses in Entry level are much better than Smart phone. Problem with quality actually when small camera fitted with 10 and greater times zoom. It is a marketing gimic.

    SLR. For entry level market more popular become Mirrowless cameras. They smaller and lighter. design is much less expenciveto manufacture, less complex then traditional SLR and thus more reliable. No moving parts, no expencive optical viewfinder. But they still too expencive.What is more interesting, lens for those cameras less expensive to manufacture due to size of the glass, but they stillcost a lot more than traditional lenses.

    Afrer all. Yes Smart phone camera are very popular among people who do not want to carry real camera but still want to take a picture. But to say that SmartPhone will kill real camera? This comes from person who never interested of taking a real picture himself.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 8:25 PM, BroncoBucky wrote:

    You left one item off your obsolescence list: The Motley Fool.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 8:35 PM, Scottc2012 wrote:

    Disclosure: in print industry for 31 yrs

    13 years ago Ipods and Iphones didn't exist.

    The folks defending digital cameras now are using the same arguments used to defend film cameras when digital appeared. We are lazy and busy and camera phones are too convenient for the majority. When digicams are no longer profitable to make, they will become too expensive and disappear. By then the phonecam quality will be acceptible, since most mediums will be digital.

    The USPS or (someone else) will create community postal zones with a local commercial tie-in (Costco, Target) with a PO Box (sponsored by said store) where we will pickup what little mail is still being sent. Why are they still delivering daily to each individual home in the country?

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2012, at 9:02 PM, phillman5 wrote:

    I don't believe I see this one, but I believe fax machines will be completely gone by 2025. Presently they are still hanging in there, like most business cards still list a fax number, but this too will go away.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2012, at 4:01 AM, BBLBBD wrote:

    I agree, more or less, with much of this list. However, what bugs me is the conclusion.

    Let's assume China becomes the dominant economy. Will the rest of the ilst be true if that is so ?

    Globalization is not a joke. Ask the Mayans, the American Natives, Africans, the Qing Dynasty...before that, ask the Portugese, the Spaniards, the Dutch....Globalization is not a new thing, and it does not seem to end well for those not prepared for it.

    If America is gone, what will replace us ? It won't be the transition from English Empire and Common Law/Tradition to the American Constitution and Dream. It will be that tradition to something completely different. And that different does not necessarily meet our ideas and lifestyle. It is not, in fact, a tradtion of liberalism or freedom.

    Therefore, will the ideas listed first on the list even survive the last ?

    That last prediction is the threshold. If it comes true, the rest won't.

    A Chinese thugocracy is not a rule of law and individual. It is a rule of a ruling class over peasants. (Before you libs get your panties in a wad, I've lived in China and lived as Chinese, so drop your PC platitudes and start thinking.)

    Will you get rich ? Only until someone decides to take it from you.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2012, at 10:43 AM, Roidiot wrote:

    I too really like that prediction from MegaShort. Very sensable and good outlook there MegaShort.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2012, at 12:19 PM, gopher103 wrote:

    most construction of houses will be done by 3D printers. there will betherefore, few construction workers. Farms will be in hydro[ponic skyscrapers. Medicine will be based on DNA sequencing

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2012, at 2:40 PM, Kloris wrote:

    As far as the EU is concerned it should have never existed in the first place. Often one feels that every moron, idiot and loser has been thrown into Brussels with the task of trying to govern Europe while ignoring both common sense and facts,

    The sooner the EU ends, the better. The predecessor, the EEG, was good. After ending the EU what should be done next is have all those working for it kicked out only to never be let into politics or civil servant jobs again. It is time to start over, but this time with people who respect democracy, the difference between the countries and have good bookkeeping and auditing skilss and some common sense.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2012, at 4:10 PM, oldsniper wrote:

    No, no, no. Not the EU (it will be bailed out by the Obama administration on Nov 5). I would add

    (23) The DVD re-winder.

  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2012, at 11:15 PM, TaichungCanuck wrote:

    Here's my Foolish prediction:

    By 2025 the West's love-in with China will no long exist, and the idea of China as the next super power will have gone down the tube with it.

    They say an indicator of how well a country's economy is doing is in its housing market. If so, consider this:

    China has millions of housing units sitting empty and more are being built every day; and yet the price of housing in China continues to rise. How long do you think that bubble will last?

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2012, at 10:53 AM, donodonuts wrote:

    13 years is not sufficient time to figure out a way for 3-D TV not to require the stupid glasses? By that time we should have walk-in 3-D TV.

    I agree with the commenters who said Facebook, but I guess you are saving that for a future article "7 Products, Concepts, and Ideas That Won't Exist by 2017."

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2012, at 10:59 AM, donodonuts wrote:

    As alluded to by another commenter, 2025 is pretty close to Social Security's Ground Zero date as well.

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2012, at 12:25 PM, kgrahamprinter wrote:

    Regards postal service - think 3rd world economy. We have a furture retirement house in Mexico where bills are hand delivered out of the mail loop for things like bank statements, and even utilities - yes the Mexican municipalities don't trust its postal service. On the other hand we recently ordered a GE Skype phone expecting courier delivery and to our surprise it came via Mexican postal system with signature required from China though it did take a month. Maybe Mexico has moved up to 2nd world?

    Aside from the pension requirement mentioned earlier think efficiency - is 6 day delivery required - probably not if the US postal service is still doing it. maybe they could save money there although some things simply run better by running non stop. Incidently isn't China 6 day a week mail delivery.

    In Canada they build super mail boxes for new housing developments or use post office with boxes instead of mail delivery, the superboxes give up security of delivery even though mail theft comes with a large sentence. This begets the question is it more efficient for a country to have everyone drive to their mail box or for mail to be delivered by postal persons....?

    The answer is obvious - in the name of Green environment is it worth subsidizing of just not doing and charging a cent or 2 more a letter. I vote a cent or 2 more a letter personally, subsidy 2nd and never to go to supermail boxes.

    I think its fair to say if you build a 1st rate corruption free postal system with reasonable salaries and benefits a 1st world economy will follow, give it up and you are a 3rd world economy.

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2012, at 1:04 PM, hemifan426 wrote:

    Digital cameras will definitely be here and flourishing. Phone cams are truly great and I love mine, but when I need real photography, there is no replacvement for my Canon and the lens the i use to capture moments.

    I can see the USPS going away as well as the EU.

    China is only who they are because America and Europe keep sending them jobs. The US is hurting and with the current administration getting worse, but when Europe and the US realize what's happening (and they will) and start bringing the jobs back home, china will sink back into the role or rogue communist country. America is hurt, but not dead.

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2012, at 1:18 PM, Smokey3214 wrote:

    The Post Office is NOT losing money. When will that lie stop? Because of the 2006 lame duck Republican Congress the USPS is required to fund retirement and health care 75 YEARS INTO THE FUTURE and THEY HAVE ONLY TEN YEARS TO.ACCOMPLISH IT.

    It was a poison pill to destroy the USPS. Take that ridiculous provision out and the USPS is very profitable.

    Come on. You should know better than to write an outright lie like that.

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2012, at 1:19 PM, Smokey3214 wrote:

    Also, I would never take an important picture with a crappy phone cam. The very best ones are still terrible.

  • Report this Comment On August 20, 2012, at 4:48 AM, BBLBBD wrote:

    It seems that folks here got their panties in wad over postal service. They must be mailmen.

    Let's take a look at that: communication has changed today. Email (fading fast as it has too much junk- sound familiar post office ?); txt message; voice mail; easy and free long distance calls. Conclusion: sorry mailman, there is just not much left for you today. Oh, I forgot..who pays bills by mail anymore ? What will you deliver ?

    Second: let's get real about mail. Nobody likes it anymore. It's mostly junk, and if not it's then a bill. So much fun ! Chico's catalogue (old fat women,) insurance solicitations; cable or dish ads, stupid joke products ads (which we can order online)....it never ends.

    Who wants to get that stuff ? If you had a choice, would you get mail everyday or just once or twice a week ? My guess is that most people would just take it once or twice a week. It sucks.

    Yes, grocery store fliers and coupons and such are great, but those businesses and the newspaper can deliver those to the door without mail service and without the pension, health and life insurance costs of the USPS.

    The US government pays for cellphones for purportedly poor people. For some reasons, instead of a Magic Jack, we taxpayers give smartphones to poor people. Those smart phones are smarter than the USPS. If you are a mailman, blame the welfare system... your job is done.

    Sorry blacksmith, chimney sweep, milkman, telephone operator, typist, telegraph boy...your days are done. Leave us taxpayers alone and move on.

  • Report this Comment On August 20, 2012, at 12:52 PM, JimmyZangwow wrote:

    Smokey3214 - could you tell us more?

    I don't want to see only FedEx and UPS delivering parcels. Consumers could use a third option. But I sense that USPS has more problems than just a piece of legislation. There's a communication paradigm shift at work here too (email, IM, SMS, all Internet-based comm options).

  • Report this Comment On August 20, 2012, at 12:53 PM, ziq wrote:

    Addendum:

    The article did not say what the masses use to take pictures, it said the digital camera, as a concept, would be dead. If the criterion is what most people use to take pictures, we're probably already there. I myself take a lot of pictures with my smart phone, because "the best camera is the one you have". If I see a photo moment, I am more likely to have my phone with me than a real camera. So if you say a majority of pictures will be taken with smart phones (or whatever replaces them) I will buy it, But kill the camera? Ridiculous!

    The optics of a quality camera consist of multiple pieces of glass, ground to precise dimensions and coated to prevent lens flare. The multiple elements help compensate for things like the fact that the index of refraction isn't exactly the same for all wavelengths (chromatic aberration) and geometric errors. It's not quite fundamentally impossible to miniaturize this--you would still be way above the size where diffraction limits resolution, and technological ingenuity is capable of a lot of things--but it would be prohibitively expensive, for no good purpose unless you're in the espionage business (where I'm sure they have tiny cameras capable of taking high resolution copies of documents).

    USPS: I'm probably less sympathetic to kneejerk privatization of everything than most Fools, but I can think of no good reason why there has to be a government subsidized postal service, political poison pill notwithstanding. The days where it served a national security role are long gone. Why not transfer it to private hands, as I believe Germany did? Sell it in an auction. Give Fedex, UPS, etc. the right to compete, assuming one of them isn't the buyer.. There is still a need to carry physical written messages and documents, and probably will be for a long time.

    They didn't legislate it so that any future owner has to fund 75 years of pensions, did they? Privatization is what they want, I would think.

    European Union: probably not. But the Euro as a common currency, I'm afraid so. Afraid because of the economic shockwave it's going to create.

  • Report this Comment On August 20, 2012, at 4:33 PM, kidkaos53 wrote:

    3-D televisions. I don't think they will go away. Sure they are looked at as a fad today, with the expensive glasses and lack of media, but TV companies are beginning to make built-in 3D systems without the need for glasses. Give it another 5 years and the technology will be ready and available on almost every television.

    US Post Office. Will NOT happen. The government will never allow 570,000 workers to lose their jobs. How will that look to the rest of the world that the US now has no postal system? It can use some serious overhaul and cost control but never eliminate.

    US will still be a superpower. China is growing, but their economy heavily depends on US consumption, so if we suffer economically so do they. A country that uses the most energy and steel does not make it a powerful country, just one that makes a lot of products and uses a lot of resources.

  • Report this Comment On August 24, 2012, at 2:12 PM, TonyFavero wrote:

    I disagree with the M. Fool analysis that the US will be dethroned by China in 2025.

    First of all, China at this point is becoming increasing unstable due to a variety of reasons. One is that the Communist Party is rapidly losing respect and legitimacy among the populace as the Bo Shi Li trial progresses. Second, China basically is wholly deficient in maintaining a reputable rule-of-law in the land, this will ultimately do China in, as the corruption escalates. It was not long ago that the Chinese Comm. Party summarily altered their constitution to decree that all land under pheasants home to be the property of the government….formerly all such land was owned by the pheasants….for centuries! Riots in villages, towns, cities will and are escalating as people can no longer tolerate the level of corruption of officials selling their land and destroying their homes all for the person benefit and profit of such officials.

    Even the Motely Fool recognizes the power of 3D printing technology over cheap labor in China that will prevail in the next few decades. Such technology did not arise in China, but in a free market with rule-of-law!

    A caution: Much of the US preeminence will only be sustained if Obama is allowed to depart from the White House in 2012. Should he be reelected for another 4 years, then all bets are off as the USA progresses to a Euro styled welfare state that will eviscerate the free market and shatter our military. Currently we are approaching a welfare state now. Even Vladimir Putin warned Obama that “…..socialism does not work” back in 2008, why would he state such a thing to Obama? Perhaps he is aware of far more than the American populace who follow the major media?

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2012, at 11:48 PM, speedemon5552001 wrote:

    Financial advisors and investors tend to look at the economic trends through business eyes and business sence. Whereas places like the Stansberry group look at the whole earth for their advice and forcast.

    Science has always taken a backseat to the latest trends in Government and wall street, but whether you like it or not the proverbial poo is about to hit the fan. Here are just a few bits of information that are already past the point of no return. According to Julio Friedman and Jane Long the CO2 levels will continue to rise to deadly levels even if we shut down all coal burning power plants, and all gas and diesel burning vehicles today. The reason is that the 3rd largest producer of CO2 is air breathing mamals, inaddition the thawing artic is releasing methane gas in record amounts (mathane is 20 times worse than CO2). Woods Hole and Scripts oceanographic institutes say that all the ice in the northern hemisphere will be gone by 2026, and that when that cold ice water stops flowing into the ocean it will only take another 4 years before things start heating up to the point that food production comes to a near stop.

    I think we should all be more concerned about how we are going to survive instead of where we are going to invest. By then money will be worthless anyway.

    Sincerely,

    Don Agler

  • Report this Comment On August 27, 2012, at 3:22 PM, hbofbyu wrote:

    Not much to add after that. I'll go home and cry in my pillow now.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2012, at 7:51 PM, thidmark wrote:

    "Every single country in Europe is in better shape than the USA going forward."

    They are closer to a painful resolution. I'm not sure that puts them in better shape. The only winners on either side of the pond will be the super-wealthy.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2012, at 10:36 PM, thidmark wrote:

    "formerly all such land was owned by the pheasants"

    God bless the Motley Fool community.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2012, at 12:02 PM, radarthreat wrote:

    I second the addition of the Motley Fool itself to this list. Sad how far from its noble roots it has moved.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2012, at 6:52 PM, easyavenue wrote:

    I am amazed at the hostile nature of many of these comments. Also, it seems as if the degree of hostility is directly proportional to the number of spelling errors.

    The reason the European Union will fail is because none of the members gave up the ability to create / implement their own fiscal policies or their abilities to tax and spend from/for their own people. So even though they all had one currency they all went their own directions when calling the shots in their own countries. Would YOU give up the power of the purse in your country? No way. Not if you wanted to live until morning. It's the essential power of sovereignty. Might as well just serve up your co-jonesies on a silver platter. But unless one central entity holds that power from each of the members, then the members will be free to tax and spend as they wish. And you will always end up with a crisis a la Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and... Siam, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. [For those of you old enough to remember THAT one.]

    IMHO, this is the way I understand it to be. I'm sure one of you will let me know (if) I am wrong.

    I also don't see how anything Mr. Williams has written here can in any logical way be construed as to make him a traitor. IMHO. Although he is definitely Foolish.

    As you were.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2012, at 3:58 PM, TrackUltraLong wrote:

    Wow... I might be 1 for 7 MUCH quicker than I thought....

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-12/monster-falls-as-se...

    TMFUltraLong

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 11:37 AM, Carioca58 wrote:

    Only Anglophones believe that the European Union will fail.

    The failure of the the EU (and is predecessors) have been predicted by The Economist and the Financial Times ever since its creation. Basically, the failure of the EU is a British myth, and we in the US get all our European news from the Brits.

    Try reading European news written in a different language and the assessment you get is quite different. Alternatively, try http://www.spiegel.de/international/.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 11:40 AM, Carioca58 wrote:

    If you only use UPS and FedEx, you are paying too much.

    USPS problems will be greatly reduced the day they are free to choose the price of their services.

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