Experts Offer Predictions for 2007
Two of the best known presidential hopefuls will drop out of the race in 2007, sales of hybrid and diesel fueled cars will increase as American car manufacturers make a dramatic comeback, and senior citizens will join the IM generation, according to the 26th edition of “Educated Guesses,” a series of annual predictions offered by University of Alabama faculty.
“By the end of 2007, two of the current ‘frontrunners’ for president – Clinton, Obama, Giuliani and McCain – will have dropped out of the race or decided against entering,” predicts Dr. David Lanoue, professor and chair of political science at UA. His prediction is one of 14 UA faculty predictions called “Educated Guesses 2007.”
“Sales of hybrids will continue to increase in 2007, even though diesel engines are the most fuel efficient on the open road,” says Dr. Clark Midkiff, professor of mechanical engineering and director of UA’s Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies. Technology expert Dr. Barrie Jo Price says the use of instant messaging will “go gray” in 2007. “The immediacy of communications like cell phones and IM will move into the ‘senior’ generation as more older Americans use communication devices that allow more mobile, immediate communications,” says Price, a professor of interactive technology.
Among other predictions:
• The United States will reduce the number of troops in Iraq, in part with the “help” of Iran. “Iran will play a major role in the draw down of U.S. troops in Iraq. Much of the insurgency seems to be driven by Iranian support, and it seems likely that the United States will have to reach some sort of power-sharing arrangement with Iran in order to remove troops from the region.” – Dr. Doug Gibler, assistant professor of political science.
• The price of oil will stay around $60 dollars a barrel, if there are no major upsets in the world. “Without major investments in offshore drilling and liquefied natural gas terminals, the long-term outlook for natural gas supplies is not good. This will be reflected in a steady increase in the price of natural gas over the next few years.” — Dr. Peter Clark, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering .
• A regime change in North Korea is much more likely in 2007. “While regime changes are incredibly difficult to predict, the recent testing of a nuclear device may be an indication of the relative weakness of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il. The pursuit of nuclear weapons may be a maneuver to reinforce the legitimacy of the Kim Jong-il regime internally.” – Dr. Doug Gibler, assistant professor of political science .
• Business and government will collect more personal data in 2007 – and people will continue to worry about their privacy as a result. “As computer storage capacity and speed continually increases, even more data will be collected and there will be even greater demands to effectively utilize these investments.” — Dr. Michael Hardin, professor of statistics and director of UA’s Business Intelligence Center.
• The U.S. Supreme Court’s first full term with Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito on board will yield few blockbuster decisions. Despite the presence of the two new Bush appointees, the Supreme Court will “seek to avoid sweeping constitutional change.” – Bryan Fair, professor of law.
• Hotel occupancy will increase as more baby boomers retire, and offers of plush bedding with increase. “Guests won’t be able to distinguish between one property’s plush bedding and another’s, so it will lose its effectiveness in drawing business.” – Dr. Kim Boyle, assistant professor of restaurant, hotel and meetings management.
• Congressional hearings and subsequent reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act will produce major changes in the act in 2007. — Dr. Stephen Katsinas, director of UA’s Education Policy Center.
• More of us will read our morning newspaper on a Web site before we read it on the printed page. “Publishers and editors know that they must find ways to continue to reach readers of the printed page as well as to attract readers who may read news only on the Internet. The editing process used to separate rumor from fact and to separate innuendo from an accurate charge provides newspapers their strongest asset.” — Dr. Bill Keller, assistant to the dean for journalism administration, College of Communication and Information Sciences.