‘2019 will be about people not tech’
Wonderful, 2018 is over and what a year it has been. One can hardly accuse it of being boring. Unless you’re sat in Gatwick waiting for the drones to clear. One of the ‘problems’ of 2018, and quite probably every year from now on, is that there’s so much happening, so much serious stuff going on, it raises the bar for what actually qualifies as important. And with it comes the response of ‘there’s nothing I can do so forget about it all.’ So let’s do that, and have some fun predicting what tech will offer us in the coming year. OK, here are my five predictions for 2019.
Prediction One: It rather depends what happens with Brexit. Whatever happens, life will continue and everyone will just work round it. Business is pragmatic, we just crack on and find the way to move forward. So my first prediction is that ‘Brexit’ however that happens or doesn’t happen will be an anti-climax.
Prediction Two: I’m going to predict that NO new tech will happen in 2019. What will happen is the ramping up of existing tech. AI is on an ever increasing trajectory, China aims to create ‘city computers’ that will automate and control everything. AI is going to create strange feedback loops, it learns from us, and teaches us, and learns from our response, it’s actually a huge experiment ON people, rather than by us. So we are on the edge of an era whereby computers use humans to work out problems. A role reversal. Once AI systems become embedded in bureaucracy we are subject to them
indefinitely. I predict this starts to happen next year.
Prediction Three: Facebook is going to do something unexpected. I don’t know what. It will continue to have a terrible time with data leaks, trust issues, bots and fake accounts and fake news and political manipulations and all its usual daily grind. But I think it has something up its sleeve, a new product or service. Facebook is good at keeping secrets. Its own secrets that is. There’s rumour of them launching a new cryptocurrency, but I think it’s too soon for that.
Prediction Four: Existing crypto currencies will fluctuate but no one will care anymore.
Prediction Five: Political unrest. Environmental crisis. Wild climate conditions. I predict we are coming out of a period of relative calm into a relative storm. It’s not going to be about tech in 2019, it’s going to be about people. I also predict young people will start leading the way, maybe that’s more of a hope than a prediction. But from a tech perspective, we have what we need. Mobile phones are smart enough, the internet’s fast enough, everyone is connected enough, so now what? I think we may start seeing the limits of the usefulness of tech. Tech isn’t going to solve homelessness and rough sleeping. Tech isn’t going to heal the environment. Tech isn’t going to bring unity to political divides. Tech isn’t going to solve the plastic crisis. Or climate change. Technology has only ever been a tool. We are still humans, living beings on a living planet. I predict we will need to be reminded of this. It’s not tech that needs to upgrade and improve. It’s