Guest article by Rohit Talwar – CEO and Katharine Barnett – Concept Editor, Fast Future Publishing
2016 was an extraordinary year. What could 2017 hold in store for us? Here are some predictions of what could emerge.
- Brexit Brouhaha – Despite invoking Article 50 in the spring, the UK government is hampered by legal challenges. Negotiation priorities are increasingly split between securing an economically sensible agreement and ‘protecting’ the political face of the EU. Divisive hyperbole was increasingly used on both sides in the several national debates.Exasperated by Brexit roadblocks and under pressure from within her own party, Prime Minister Theresa May announces an October general election to let the public decide on her Brexit plan. The result: a hung parliament, UKIP the biggest single party and Nigel Farage leading the next government.
- Artificial Intelligence – Following the hype phase of 2016, real applications started to emerge in the form of intelligent assistants on our smart phones to medical decision support tools. Cash-strapped governments turned to AI for the automation of a range of functions from processing student loan applications to handling divorce adjudications.
- Masters of the Universe – Major technology players like Google, Baidu and Amazon will pull further from the pack with ever-smarter technology. Super intelligent ‘brain in the cloud’ solutions will extract insight from ‘data oceans’ created by the Internet of Things, smart assistants will manage our daily lives and instantaneous translators will cover 50+ languages.
- Digital Dementia – Many corporations and governments will remain cautious over the use of disruptive technologies like Blockchain and AI. Many of those pursuing expensive digital transformation projects will find their initiatives are eliminating the distinguishing human element and commodifying themselves. Stock markets will write down valuations on firms lost in this digital maze.
- Parallel Worlds – A parallel universe of new ‘digital mindset’ firms will proliferate – trading with each other using Blockchain contract systems, transacting in digital currencies, deploying AI for core activities, and creating entirely digital ‘zero employee’.
- The New Professionals – Major legal, accounting and consulting firms will launch several AI client advisor applications – automating professionals’ tasks and driving headcount reduction.
- Technological Unemployment – The use of new smart technologies, coupled with increasing automation and the termination of ‘non-viable’ activities by large businesses, sees unemployment rising across a range of sectors in countries around the world.
- The Crumbling Middle – Stalling growth, technological unemployment, The Trump effect, Brexit uncertainty, and general cost cutting bites hardest in the educated middle classes in professional and managerial roles across the developed world. The impact is felt in areas as diverse as theatre attendance and private school enrolments through to the purchase of new cars and holidays.
- Robo-Retail – The Amazon Go concept store roll out will challenge traditional retail. Shoppers simply select their desired items and leave. Smart phone technology, item tracking and mobile payment automatically log purchases and debit customer accounts. Customers will spend more than normal and traditional competitors will be forced into near-permanent ‘black Friday’ continuous discounting.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS Fast Future Publishing develops our books using an exponential publishing model, and we have completed the successful launch of our first two books – The Future of Business (top five per cent of all business books in its first year), and Technology vs. Humanity (Amazon bestseller within one week of launch). Katharine works on creating, developing and editing a variety of content for Fast Future Publishing. She has a broad range of futurist interests including future societal and behavioural norms, digital and information ethics, future biomedical ethics, future genomics and pharmacology, and the future economies of the developing world. See: ww.fastfuturepublishing.com