I get most of my ideas about what lies ahead by asking creative multimedia students at LIT-Clonmel what they think lies ahead of them in the workplace. Ireland of 2012 is much different than most of them imagined when they started their first year of college in 2007. I believe the Irish workplace has shifted dramatically to where employers know more about their incoming staff than ever before. That's because frictionless social networking has made it impossible to keep things secret.
The workplace of 2012 is a frictionless environment--unless you turn off notification and communications systems, colleagues know if you're at work by the presence of green dots or by the inputs you make in shared spaces. You can be working in a satellite office and it's often the same as working down the hall from someone.
Ireland in 2012 has become a Facebook Nation full of blathering tweeple. The hipsters use photo-sharing services like Instagram and Picplz. Around a third of them check into places with Foursquare, Google, or Facebook. And many of these check-ins percolate across different social networks for the world to see.
Information about people are leaking across networks by design. If you have a special application for residency in the Republic, it's part of a package the immigration officers see in Heathrow. If you have late payments for car insurance or motor tax, the garda traffic corps vehicle approaching from the opposite direction knows because of number recognition technology in the car. If you travel on Irish motorways, a database has recorded your movements for analysis. Without much notice, Irish society has acquired a layer of data forensics.
When American delegations visited Ireland several times in 2011, I heard from a few of my twice-retired CI mates who now have building passes to the Old Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. They have a vision of the future where transparency has evolved into a magnifying glass. This means that in the year 2012, anyone with rudimentary skills can discern your first degree of separation, the geodetic reference for your home, the financing remaining on your car, and the last time your pet was immunised. This is 2012. We have made it that way.