Dešimtmečio prognozės

Futurology is almost always wrong because it rarely takes into account behavioral changes. It turns out that predicting who we will be is harder than predicting what we will be able to do.

Daugumai patinka paspelioti kas bus ateityje. Žinoma, dauguma tokių spelionių būna visiškai pro šalį. Niekas negali nuspėti netikėtų politinių polinkių, stichinių nelaimių, madų ir socialinių normų. Tikimasi pastovaus technologinio progreso, pamirštant jog susiduriama su fiziniais ar teisiniais apribojimais. Dažnu atveju pasikeičia fokusas ir tai, kas šiai dienai atrodo itin svarbu, ateityje pasisuka į visiškai kitą kryptį. Pvz. žmonės stebėję space race galėjo būti pilnai įsitikinę, jog 2020-ieji pasitinkami bus ir mėnulyje esančioje bazėje. Būtent dėlto 68-ųjų Kosmoso Odisėjos veiksmas ir vyksta 2001-aisiais metais.

Tačiau nors ir turime tam tikras prognozes, su laiku mūsų lūkesčiai keičiasi ir užsimirštame ko gi tikėjomės anksčiau. Dėlto tas mintis yra naudinga išsisaugoti.

Hacker News man tapo viena iš interneto constantų. Daug servisų įgauna pagreitį, tampa hyper populiarūs ir vėliau staiga jų populiarumas nuslūgsta. Tuo tarpu HN turėjo savo stabilią bendruomenę, su pakankamai civilizuotomis ir plačiomis diskusijomis prieš 10 metų, taip lygiai tuo pačiu pasižymi ir dabar. Viena iš tų retesnių vietų internete, kur galima ramiai pasiskaitinėti išties įdomias diskusijas tarp technologijų specialistų. Žinoma, net ir ten dažnokai prašaunama pro šalį - vienas iš geriausių pavyzdžių, kai buvo pristatytas Dropbox ir bendra nuomonė buvo gan kritiška, didžioji dauguma neįžvelgė tokio serviso perspektyvų ir teigė, kad tokį patį rezultatą jau senai buvo galima pasiekti su jau turimais įrankiais.

Taigi, lygiai prieš 10 metų šioje sistemoje buvo sukurta tema, kurioje žmonės pateikinėjo savo dešimtmečio prognozes. Buvo išties labai įdomu pamatyti tokią laiko kapsulę ir žvilgtelti, kokius pokyčius žmonės tuomet įsivaizdavo.

2010-2020

Viena dažniausiai pasikartojančių nuomonių buvo tai, jog Microsoft nueis velniop ir praradusi savo rinkos pozicijas, susitrauks ir taps IBM stiliaus konsultacijų bendrove, kurios šlovės dienos jau tik tolimoje praeityje. Lygiai taip pat dauguma ir kitų spėlionių tapo visiškai pro šalį, o praktiškai niekas nė negalėjo numatyti tokių mūsų kasdienybe tapusių aspektų, kaip kad:

  • Microsoft laikysis geriau, nei bet kada

  • Bitcoin'as taps absoliučiai sėkmingiausia dešimtmečio investicine priemone

  • JAV prezidentas diktuos užsienio politiką per Twitter žinutes

  • Judėjimą mieste smarkiai transformuos elektrinės personalinės transporto priemonės, tapusios multi-milijardiniu verslu

  • Dalijimosi ekonomikos bumas (Uber, AirBnB)

  • Masinio vyriausybinio žmonių šnipinėjimo atskleidimas

  • Media industriją nuo piratavimo išgelbės subscription modelis

  • Streaming servisų sėkmė ir jų finansuojamų projektų kokybės šuolis iki prestižiškiausių kino apdovanojimų pelnymo

  • Sulėtėjęs žmonių gyvenimus keičiančių technologijų atsiradimas (90->00 - milžiniškas PC adoption ir visų gyvenimo sričių skaitmenizavimas, 00->10 - smartphone'ai ir social tinklai, 10->20 - tiesiog turimų technologijų iteracijos)

  • Facebook, Google ir Youtube išliks dominuojančios platformos

  • iOS ir Android taip ir liks dvi dominuojančios mobiliosios OS.

Tačiau nepaisant visų tų prašovimų, kyla šypsena radus ir tuos teiginius, su kuriais dabar tiesiog sunku nesutikti:

  • If there is a way to work Elon Musk in there somewhere that would be good, I have a feeling he's going to make some big waves in the next 10 years but I haven't a clue how

  • Network analysis and data mining will claim their first major political scalp. That'll be a watershed moment: the politics of information are going to start being the kind of core liberal issue that environmental issues currently are

  • Google will be the Microsoft of 1990-2000: scary, dominant, and increasingly hated (by nerds at least). It will experience change in management. From there, it will be downhill for them. Surprisingly enough, Apple will still stay relevant even though Steve Jobs will have to leave his position due to health problems or something else.

  • Facebook will not be displaced by another social network. It will IPO some time in the next two years

  • Twitter will become profitable, but not as much as some expect. It will be less profitable than Facebook, and may sell to another company.

  • Internet Explorer will shrink, but won't go away. IE6 will hang around for a few years, but may die very rapidly in workplaces when some killer enterprise web application stops supporting it. It will remain widespread in East Asia, at least as far as 2015. Now that Google is advertising Chrome on billboards here in the UK, all that can be safely predicted about the browser market is that it'll be extremely competitive.

  • Mobile phones won't replace computers, but increasing penetration amongst the poorest in developing countries, and increasingly capable handsets in developed countries (and developing countries) will make them a colossal juggernaut. Many of the really big changes, especially social changes, will be caused by mobiles.

  • Having said that, Moore's law will at least hiccup and may stop altogether in the middle of the decade, as semiconductor feature widths drop below 11nm. Since this will likely encourage investment in quantum computing and nanotechnology, by 2020 we might be seeing something faster than Moore's Law.

  • The next big thing will be something totally unknown and unpredictable now, as user-generated content and social networking were in 1999. However, when it does appear, various 'experts' on it will spring from nowhere to lecture us all about it. It will still be really cool, though (galima pritaikyti crypto ir AI sritims).

2020-2030

Taigi, ši tema pritraukė išties nemažai dėmesio, pamąstymų ir įkvėpė identišką naują diskusiją, šį kartą skirtą 20-iesiems. Paskaitinėjau ją ir nusprendžiau atrinkti į sąrašą prognozes, kuriomis labiausiai tikiu. Galėsiu žvilgtelėti po dešimtmečio ir įsitikinti kiek mano "analitinis" pulsas buvo iš tiesų teisus.

  • Self driving cars (L4) will be very narrowly available in robotaxis: 1-3 cities with good climate (like California). Fully autonomous vehicles L5 are still 'just around the corner'. Waymo will end up licensing the tech/partnering with car manufacturers to stay relevant.

  • Electric cars will go from niche for the rich to something for everyone. Share of new car sales will go above 50% for electric but majority of cars in the streets still remain ICE. Car ownership might start to change to subscription service model.

  • Digital is no longer the field where most of the interesting things will happen. No quantum computing on mass-market, heavy regulation of the Internet everywhere.

  • Machine learning continues to grow in usage and capability, but there will be no "revolution" or paradigm-shifting in AI. It will be used most successfully in the healthcare, where it will allow for decentralised expertise. The role and power of nurses will expand.

  • Apple will enter healthcare in a big way. Medical functionality will enter consumer electronics and continue to push data driven preventative heathcare foreward, like personal devices which detects most forms of cancer.

  • Genetic testing will start becoming standard practice.

  • Antibiotic resistance will be a huge problem. We will continue to see the return of illnesses we thought we would never see again.

  • Advances in astronomy, physical chemistry, biotech, and computational physics driven by better data processing software, but no big advances in any theoretical field.

  • Solar and wind are big but not dominant, hidden costs become visible. There will be no nuclear renaissance. No breakthrough in fusion. Energy becomes hard again, focus shifts from generation and storage to transmission. Solar/wind/hydro electricity generation will become much more commonplace on personal properties.

  • Amazon will get robotic picking working, and their warehouse employment will start to drop. And we will see articles from the same tech journalists currently complaining about terrible working conditions in Amazon warehouses, complaining about Amazon firing warehouse staff.

  • Facebook still exists but ages along with it's current user base. Facebook.com / main app usage goes down considerably (at least by half) but the company is still going strong: it will monopolize any social media sphere that looks like it's going to 'explode' and be the next thing through acquisitions until they get a monopoly ruling by the gov't and get split up.

  • But a small yet growing culture of "offliners" becomes mainstream. Being offline is the new "Yoga" and allows bragging rights. It will be considered stylish and/or a power move to not own a cell phone.

  • A significant minority skewing intelligent leave facestagram and twitter for decentralized platforms.

  • Majority of people still don't care about privacy.

  • Advances in ML/text bots will mean that the random chatter on social sites like Reddit becomes a wasteland of pretty-good bots trying to steer conversations in a sponsored direction.

  • VR/AR will take off big time. Apple introduces devices in this market.

  • Steady progress in space technology but no sci-fi level achievements. New flights around Luna and Mars. Expect at least another moon landing by NASA or SpaceX and I do think Starship will fly, though maybe only to LEO. A human-trip to Mars will be scheduled in the 30's.

  • Multiple companies will provide internet via low orbit satellites, some of which will have a low enough latency that some phones will use them as a sort of "global phone" or will be their dedicated ISP.

  • Intel will continue its downfall, and a new Chinese SOC company will rise to prominence. Somebody will build a 3nm fab but may it be the last conventional node. Moore's law stays dead. Having a lightweight laptop that does nothing more than provide a portal to more powerful machines enters the consumer field (Stadia already exists, but other uses will appear).

  • Gaming consoles are essentially coming to an end. Die-hard gamers still buy dedicated systems but for the most part gaming will massively shift to the streaming.

  • Not much change in top tech companies - FAANG still around, maybe another company joins. Could be Disney or it will be bought by Apple like DuckDuckGo.

  • Microsoft and Amazon doubles in MarketCap. AMD will be at-least 4 times what it is now. Tesla will be 5 times by the end of the decade. FB stays about the same. The previous idea that there are limits to growth that have already been reached... don't apply anymore. Not because they're any smarter than anyone else, but they're able to continuing buying and absorbing any and all competitive threats. And that the "moat" of initial costs to compete with them in existing areas is too high. (E.g. try building your own search engine.) We will see atleast one big tech company reach 2T USD in market cap.

  • Microsoft will make Windows free or open source.

  • Apple will build more macOS like features into iPad so you can do more with it (such as develop software directly on it).

  • Deepfakes are ubiquitous; Audio/Video evidence is no longer accepted

  • Drones will become highly regulated, require licenses to fly or must be purchased with a permit in most countries.

  • BTC continues it's booms and busts but never becomes anything serious. Officially backed (large company/government) cryptocurrencies that aren't fully decentralized are made but most money is still transferred around as digital fiat currency.

  • Cannabis will be legalised federally in the US and UK. Most medical benefits will prove to be hype. Psychedelics will again enter the public sphere but will not be legalised yet.

  • Plant/fungus based food will continue to expand while meat consumption drops in the developed world. Artificial meat takes off in a big way, especially in China.

  • Canadian economy will start flourishing. Toronto/Montreal will become the Silicon valley of Canada, as skilled immigrants move to the Canada knowing they will never get greencards in the US.

  • The EU will lose at-least one more member nation after the United Kingdom leaves.

  • Financial downturn/semi-recession in mid-late decade primarily caused by excessive corporate stock buybacks artificially inflating stock prices. Political stagnation in USA. China starts to supersede the US as the preeminent global superpower.

  • Nothing significant will be done about Climate Change. Global carbon emissions are not reduced, mostly because of lack of initiative by US, China and 3rd world countries. At least one major city in the world come to the brink of disaster/or become unlivable due to it.