At the end of every year, many predictions are made about the following year. This applies especially to politics and the technological field. In this blog we are not interested in politics, so we’ll talk a little about technological predictions. What happened to those that were made for 2017 near the end of 2016? Have they been fulfilled?
This question is difficult to answer satisfactorily (with a yes or no), for those who make predictions usually do them on purpose in an ambiguous way, so the next year they’ll be able to say that they were right. For instance:
• Practical applications of augmented reality and virtual reality will increase a lot. In fact, this announcement is made almost every year. In this case, the question is what exactly a lot means. Is a lot a 10% growth in business? Or should one demand at least 100%? Predictions, when done in this way, are almost always fulfilled.
• Package delivery by means of drones will start. This prediction has clearly not been fulfilled. In 2017, no such thing happened.
• The end of passwords to access computers and web applications has been announced as imminent for several years. They are supposed to be replaced by a visual analysis of fingerprints, the iris, or the face. Attempts are being made in those directions, but they don’t seem to be working very well. For the time being, predictions like this should be considered failed.
• IoT (Internet of Things). This is another issue whose explosive increase is being announced as imminent every year. So far, there has been some increase, but it’s difficult to describe it as explosive. They usually say that the predictions have been successful, but the increase is slower than expected. There are, however, some voices that raise the question of whether it makes sense for all electrical appliances in a home to be connected to the Internet, not just because the cost may be higher than the benefits, but for the risk that our devices will be invaded by hackers, crackers, bots and so on. After all, we have been fighting against these attackers for three decades without making great progress, they are always one step ahead. Therefore, a few analysts think that the Internet of Things will end up being used a lot in the industry, but much less at home.
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• Telecommuting. Another field where large increases are being announced since decades ago. And yet, in recent years it seems that the trend has reversed. It is even possible that it has already touched its ceiling.
• The digital currency (bitcoin). Another permanent prediction that does not take off. In fact, almost all analysts currently warn investors against investing in this type of currency, because the bubble of its value, compared to traditional currencies, could be punctured at any time.
• The end of the personal computer. Another prediction usually announced every year, which never happens. First the PC was going to be supplanted by the laptop; then by notebooks, tablets, smartphones; this year by hybrid convertible laptops... But year after year the sale of classic PCs (desktop and portable) continues enduring. Yes, they are suffering a permanent decline, but it’s usually much less pronounced than anticipated. For 2017 it is calculated at just 2.1%.
The media overwhelm us with revolutionary predictions for the next five, ten or fifteen years. If we take into account their success, when they are made just for one year, we shouldn’t take them very seriously when they are made for the medium or the long term.