Tech Predictions: January, 2018

Following Colin’s lead, here’s my tech predictions as of January 2018. They may be wrong, and I may change my mind next week, but it’s what I’m thinking right now.

  1. The Voice Assistant Cylinder market will simultaneously become ubiquitous while not mattering as much as people think it does. Don’t get me wrong, I like our Google Home and the kids have Echo Dots for bedtime music and other queries, but when it comes to being a major computing platform I have a hard time picturing it. I suspect we’ll all have a cylinder or two, but as long as they remain so siloed in their makers’ platforms I believe most of us will default to the true current center of our computing lives, our smart phones. I’ve starting doing some smart home stuff and I’ve found that the thing I care about more is how well I can control different devices from my phone, from the house or while I’m away. If I can augment that with a smart cylinder, then fine, but it’s going to play second fiddle.
  2. Self driving cars will be a thing, but it will be a long time before most or people use them instead of human driven cars. Problems of infrastructure, distance, regulation, public opinion, and human nature will infuriate utopians who would like a Jetson’s future today, but these are real issues that will slow adoption in the real world. It’s coming, but current estimates seem optimistic.
  3. Macs will become more iOS-like in ways that people scream and hand-wring over, but ultimately embrace. There are things I need from my Mac that iOS currently doesn’t easily provide, but there’s room to simplify and push the platform forward.
  4. Design tools will continue to flourish. The last few years have seen an explosion of innovation in the tools we designers use to do our job. I anticipate some amazing features that will make designs more real and useful. I also think we’ll start to see some consolidation in the market. There are established players and lots of upstarts, so I’m anticipating acquisitions over the next few years.
  5. AI (machine learning, etc.) will lose some of its shine as a buzzword, while at the same time becoming a standard part of pretty much everything we do on computers. It won’t be seen as magic anymore, but that won’t make it less useful.
  6. Technology companies will become much more political than they have been in the last couple decades. The rise of nationalism worldwide will cause lots of uncomfortable situations for these companies that come from utopian roots, as they navigate business in the new climate.
  7. VR looks fun for games, I expect it to make its way down market a bit.
  8. AR will be a passing craze, while at the same time making certain niche use cases much better than they’ve ever been. I just hope those use cases are more useful than funny animated masks on social networks.
  9. Wireless peripherals will eventually become more ubiquitous for computers, but in the meantime if you want to plug in external hard drives, you’re going to have to take a trip to Dongletown.

This was fun. I can’t wait to see what I’m wrong about.

Technology Predictions