What does 2019 have in store?

What does 2019 have in store?

We've made it to 2019. There are a lot of buzzwords being touted for this year; top of the list are artificial intelligence, Blockchain and, once again, the internet of things (IoT). Yes, it's that time of year where I don my pointy hat of stars and guess what the year ahead might bring.

The most interesting area for me this year is what will be occurring in the realm of social media and commentary, and more specifically in the area of freedom of expression. I'm predicting a further rift that splits the landscape into two groups, loosely defined as "activists" and "freedom lovers". There have been some recent attacks on alternative services like Gab and a switch in policies from those like Patreon, which has now begun to block those not on the activist side. This is driving the creation of even more alternatives that will drastically reduce the all-in-one approach social-media platforms are supposed to represent. Watch for an alternative set of services to be set up this year that will cater to those no longer welcome on the more traditional platforms.

The driving force behind the alternative platforms will be the intellectual dark web, whose members include Sam Harris, Dave Rubin, Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro and others. Grab the popcorn because it is going to be an interesting ride.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a term that, as it is currently being used, really just refers to machine learning. The term no longer directly means an approximation of natural human intelligence. Instead, it has morphed into a marketing term, which we can all expect to be inundated with even more in 2019. I do expect to see more automation-based support tools developed in organisations this year, with the aim of reducing reliance on a help desk. This will be particularly true with the whole Chatbot field. Expect some kickback from employees.

Blockchain is another favourite term that will rise in prominence. I predict, however, that the problems with blockchain, often ignored, will be highlighted more clearly this year. IoT devices will continue to be released but the security issues and different protocols will remain, so the IoT will continue to be talked about but not really make any ground. The desire to implement any simplification or standardisation of the IoT will have to wait until a later date.

We will also see some growth in the area of so-called big data and data lakes. Some organisations, both private and government, have been convinced that Hadoop technologies will handle all their data needs. For unstructured data and business intelligence questions, theses are excellent, but it will be interesting to see how many organisations figure out that in the area of business transaction applications, they don't work all that well. The technologies won't yet be able to meet all of their business needs.

We will see some regulation introduced in a more coordinated manner for cryptocurrencies of all kinds. With an unregulated market, it is very difficult to raise business equity for investment, but if the market is regulated, then digital-currency-based start-ups become a more attractive option. The traditional financial instruments will fight against the platform but eventually end up adopting it themselves for part of the portfolio. There may even be a country or two to adopt cryptocurrency as an alternative to the regular option.

Cloud computing will continue to make some ground but not as much as the platforms might hope. People will still be clinging to their business-centric models for a while yet. Automated, driverless cars will not appear this year, as they still have too many issues when it comes to the unexpected. Cybersecurity has no chance of beating all the hackers. Digital marketing will continue to grow and more information will be collected on all your digital-footprint habits to provide a more targeted experience, whether you want it or not. Virtual reality still won't quite be there yet this year, either in technology or in consumer pricing. There will be some improvements in the mobile-phone space but not yet in the higher-end products.

In the more mundane space, the 12TB hard drive will move to the sweet spot in price per baht this year. As usual, printers and monitors will not change at all in any appreciable way. Graphics cards will get more powerful and more models will come with no monitor ports, to be used for cryptocurrency mining.

Still too far away for this year are brain-to-machine interfaces and, as much as I hope otherwise, revolutionary new battery-storage technology.

Have a great 2019.

James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at jclhein@gmail.com.

James Hein

IT professional

An IT professional of over 30 years’ standing. He has a column in Bangkok Post tech pages and has been writing without skipping a beat every week all these years.

Email : jclhein@gmail.com

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