In 2020 we might just regain some of the humanity that was lost in 2010, argues John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

“The software industry is poised to embrace its craft heritage. By 2020 software will return to a cottage industry, with bespoke applications made by many, rather than today’s industrialized, Microsoft-esque mass-production and distribution model. It will be part of a larger world movement to make things by hand, infused with emotion and integrity. This phenomenon is already becoming visible in the rise of the “apps” market for mobile phones. With few dominant players and close-to-zero distribution costs, practically anyone can “ship” an app on the iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. These apps are often built with care and attention to the design that big companies’ offerings lack. Look at the exquisite quality made by game companies like Iconfactory; or the many iPhone apps like ToonPaint that focus on letting users make “hand-crafted” creative content on their phones.

Rather than be content to accept corporate anonymity, we will rediscover the value of authorship. In 2020 technology will continue to enable individual makers to operate in the same way that once only large corporations could do.”

Too optimistic?