As 2017 quickly winds down, it’s time to reflect on the year that was and what 2018 holds for us. Are there any new, groundbreaking tech initiatives ready to go mainstream or will there be continued refinement of 2017 technology?
In no particular order, I believe that the biggest technology stories of the year were:
Major cybersecurity breaches at large institutions were rampant in 2017. The cream of the crop was the Equifax breach, resulting from improperly patched servers that went undetected for months. Just as equally troubling was the revelation that Uber paid hackers not to disclose hacked data in 2016 or disclose that that a breach occurred.
Net Neutrality protections were officially rolled back in a FCC vote on December 14th, 2017. These rules forced ISPs to treat all traffic equally. ISPs are now free to create slow and fast lanes, create different data packages, or charge online content creator tolls for faster access of their online services. This means that fees will be passed directly onto you, as the consumer. This was arguably the hottest topic online all year. Unfortunately, there was very little coverage by major cable television outlets until last week.
Artificial intelligence (A.I.) took major leaps this year. Facebook created an A.I. bot that created its own language that humans couldn’t decipher. A fear as A.I. becomes more powerful is will it take automation too far, which will result in eliminating jobs. Tech pioneer Elon Musk is on record that A.I. could be a threat. While we aren’t on the level of the Terminator or the Matrix, it is a possibility for the future.
Bitcoin, digital currency, I admit is the topic I know the least about, but was nonetheless a major newsmaker all year. Bitcoin’s rapid increase in prices lead to an “online goldrush” of investors hoping to become super rich, super-fast. It started the year priced at $986 and currently sits at a whopping $19,181, well over a 1,500% increase year to date.
What can we look forward to in 2018?
Out of the list above, A.I. will have the biggest impact on our daily lives when it comes to managing big data and driverless cars in 2018. There are so many data points on our online habits as individuals, more advanced A.I. will be implemented to analyze the “volumes” of data to fine tune our consumer habits and use it as a competition tool for businesses. It is expected that A.I. powered driverless vehicles will take a huge leap in 2018, particularly in long-haul trucking. Look for potential widespread use by 2020.
Cybersecurity, or lack thereof, will still be a thorn in our sides in 2018. Companies of all sizes are still slow to implement employee policies on handling data and avoiding phishing tactics. They still do not invest enough in protecting their systems and customer data. The amount of breaches last year has led to some changes including, Department of Defense federal contractors are being required to have a written cybersecurity security plan in place by the end of the year. It is recommended that companies of all sizes and shapes have a written security plan that includes a communication protocol in the event of a data leak. Fortunately, advances in A.I. and blockchain will help in the cybersecurity battle.
When it comes to digital currency, Bitcoin will continue to steal the headlines in 2018. Even if you don’t know what it is exactly, you’ve probably heard of it. In general conversation, I have repeatedly heard Ethereum as the next great headline grabbing digital currency. Ethereum already has a market cap of over $41 billion dollars. All of this is to say, if you aren’t up-to-date on digital currency, it’s time to learn!
The battle for Net Neutrality is just beginning. While the FCC did strike down the rules and the public was overwhelmingly against this move, legislators where late to the party. Members of Congress of both parties and Attorney Generals at the state level made their opposition voices heard, but at the last minute. Expect Net Neutrality to go thru the political process at this point. It’s tough to say when internet services providers will start making business model changes to our internet plans or online services, but the language some of them have used in their marketing campaigns have already started to change.
I think 2018 will largely be a continuation of what we have seen in 2017. Signs are pointing to much more widespread use of autonomous vehicles. There are always going to be new gadgets and with new features. But these 4 items will still be the attention getters. Crossing my fingers for the flying car still or a jet pack. Until next year.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!