The end of the year is the time when you make lots of resolutions for the New Year, which you invariably break, and lots of predictions as well - most of which turn out to be wrong. Neither outcome should, however, deter you from making New Year resolutions or Predictions. My new resolutions are all duly noted down in my little black book. But here are the predictions for the coming year with the usual caveat: readers are advised to take them seriously at their own risk.
Ethics of technology will be in the forefront. Artificial intelligence has already advanced so rapidly that big companies such as Microsoft and Google have started worrying about machine morality or the ethics of AI. As self-learning programmes advance rapidly, the big worry is whether they are learning the ethical values that have evolved in human society over years. Or, whether they are amoral - and worse, immoral. But while machine morality gets all the press, the bigger worry is about ethics in genetics. It is already possible to have genetically edited perfect babies - but is it ethical to do so? Gene editing will cause the biggest ethical debates in the coming year.
A lot of people will spend more time talking and arguing with their Voice Assistants than with their spouses and children. Okay, so this applies only to a certain section of the populace. But Assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Assistant (from Google) are becoming too helpful for our own good. People who can afford it will probably search for answers, give simple commands, fix their calendars and appointments and ask their Assistants to aid them in taking big and small decisions about their lives. If you thought social media was a threat to your real life relationships, you have seen nothing yet.
Instagram will be the new Tinder. So far, Tinder has been the king of hook-ups. But increasingly, people are using Instagram for their digital flirting. I predict this will only increase in 2019, and Tinder will have to evolve to protect its numero uno status in the dating app world.
Digital detox will be big business. If Mindfulness was the flavour of 2018, Digital Detox will be the big thing in the coming year. Retreats and wellness resorts where you leave your electronic trackers outside for several days will become all the rage. And they will do roaring repeat business as well.
Connected homes will be the next hacker target. If enterprises were being held at ransom by the big virus creators and hackers in the last year, the focus of the malcontents will turn on the smart connected homes of the affluent, high-tech adopters of the developed world. It will also give rise to a new breed to digital security experts who will be as important if not more than the bodyguards who protect the rich and the famous.