Dustin Ewers

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2019 Technology Predictions

January 08, 2019

Last year, I did a post outlining my predictions for the next few years. It’s time to see how I did with my predictions.

The reason I’m doing this is to improve my ability to predict the world around me. We all base our day to day actions on our mental models and predictions of the world around us. By making and evaluating those predictions, I hope to improve them.

I prefixed the predictions with year I made them. I didn’t include all my 2018 predictions here, just the ones I have an update on. I’ve also added a few new predictions.

Technology Over The Next 1-3 years

2018: We won’t see a major new JS framework this year. The market has stabilized around React, Angular, and Vue

This one has panned out as expected. Currently, React is the 800 pound gorilla of the space and I predict that will continue. Vue and Angular will represent viable, though distant, alternative front end frameworks.

2018: Web Components will move towards the mainstream

I’m mostly wrong on this one. While the Angular team has introduced Angular Elements, I don’t feel like Web Components have really picked up momentum.

Frameworks like Bootstrap and Angular Material are going to be supplanted by Web Component based frameworks like the new version of Ionic. While most web developers won’t be making their own web components, they will consume them through these libraries.

2018: XR (augmented and virtual reality) will continue to advance, but people won’t find the “killer app” for it yet

This one panned out as I expected. The real mover is going to be when we finally have an inexpensive AR headset with great apps.

Microsoft Mixed Reality got the cheap VR part down. But there’s no killer app yet, even though Beat Saber is fantastic. XR is going to become an important platform, but it still needs a few years. Microsoft is planning on releasing another Hololens this year. I’m looking forward to that.

2018: Analog technologies will grow in popularity.

My vinyl collection continues to grow :-)

We’re going to get better at integrating the digital and analog worlds until we have the best of both. The reality of a lot of the analog trends, like vinyl records, is that they are enabled by digital technologies. We’re going to get better at this integration over time.

2018: 3-4 Major cloud service providers will reach feature parity and crowd most of the other contestants out of the market.

I’m wrong on this one. I haven’t seen any consolidation.

2018: The Bitcoin / crypto bubble will burst, but prices will be higher than they were before the bubble.

Bitcoin is currently around 4k, which is about where it was in 2017. Pretty much nailed it on the head here. I predict further bitcoin volatility.

2019: We’re going to see some legitimate alternatives to Patreon.

Patreon has been accused of deplatforming people based on partisan bias. While there are some people who believe that this is a good thing, there are others who value free expression on the web. These people will eventually create an alternative to the platform.

One of the major barriers to creating such an alternative is the credit card companies themselves, who have been quick to pull payment processing based on mob requests from both the right and the left. More people are going learn about financial censorship and call for solutions to it.

2019: More people will be talking about developer ethics

One of the big narratives of 2018 is how the major tech companies are abusing their power and harming society. There’s been no shortage of digital ink spent criticizing Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Many people have called for regulation. While I don’t think we’re actually going to get anything done in that regard (thanks to congressional gridlock), the news media will continue to run stories that frame big tech as the bad guy.

As technologists, it’s important to think about the technology we create and take ethical concerns into account. We’re responsible for the things we build. Expect more people to talk about this as a counter to the “tech is evil” narrative.

2019: Platform neutrality is the new net neutrality.

The debate over net neutrality has devolved into partisan squabbling and fizzled. I expect zero progress on this front, other than a few states enacting mandates within their borders.

There has been a significant amount of criticism of social networks and payment processors about inconsistent enforcement of their Terms of Service. Various groups have accused those platforms of biased treatment and censorship. The focus on net neutrality is going to move towards platform neutrality.

The same arguments for net neutrality also apply to social and payment platforms, so it’ll be interesting to see who picks this up.

There might be a situation where net neutrality becomes a concern of the left while platform neutrality becomes a concern of the right. This would be stupid, but I expect nothing less of our main political tribes.

2019: Personalized Medicine is going to take off.

We’re going to see more applications and treatments based on personalized health data. Health tracking devices are commonly available. Companies like 23 and me are harvesting data. We’re going to get better at using these data streams.

2019: We’ll develop more refined social media norms and habits

Social media has been around for over a decade, but we’ve only recently begun to learn how damaging it can be. We’re going to see more norms developed to curb the negative effects of social media. Apple and Google have already begun to build tools to monitor phone usage and curb technology overuse.

2019: 5G will cause more people to cut their landlines, especially in cities where coverage is good.

As 5G begins to roll out this year, more people are going to ditch their cable internet for a single internet plan. This is especially true in cities where the coverage will roll out to first.

Technology 5-10 Years Out

2018: 1 trillion Dollar Tech Company

I thought it would be later, but several companies briefly hit the 1 trillion mark this year. We’re going to see companies consistently hit over a trillion in market capitalization over the next five years.

2018: The market capitalization of social media companies is going to tank

Facebook is down 35% from it’s 52 week high and 24% down from a year ago. Twitter is up for the year, but down from it’s previous high. Let’s see how this one pans out.

2019: People in the USA are going to get serious about nuclear power plants.

If we’re serious about addressing climate change, we need to be serious about nuclear power. Renewables are nice, but are not enough to address our power needs. More environmentalists are realizing this and advocating for nuclear power generation. Technologies like thorium molten salt reactors mitigate many of the disadvantages of older nuclear tech.

Conclusion

This was an interesting exercise. It was cool to see how things panned out over the past year. I’ll learn from my failures and see how it goes next year. What are your predictions?


Dustin Ewers

Written by Dustin Ewers who lives and works in Southern Wisconsin. GitHub | Twitter | LinkedIn