Technology Trends and Predictions 2018

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More Specific Predictions

  • Investigations into misinformation and the role of platforms intensify, but lead to little concrete action in most countries beyond new rules for election-based advertising.
  • Facebook or Google will be regularly accused of censorship this year after protectively removing content, which they feel might leave them open to fines.
  • Fact-checking, news literacy, and transparency initiatives fail to stem the tide of misinformation and low trust.
  • Publishers force users to sign-in/register for websites and apps – as well as investing heavily in data – to help deliver more personalised content and messaging.
  • For the traditional media, we’ll see a growing gap between big brands successfully managing digital transition and the rest (that are struggling).
  • More publishers pivot to subscription (or other forms of reader revenue) as digital display advertising declines in importance.
  • A number of publishers pivot away from video (… and back to text).
  • In social media, we’ll see a further move to messaging platforms and conversational interfaces.

In Technology

  • Voice driven assistants emerge as the next big disrupter in technology with Amazon strengthening its hold in the home.
  • AR capable phones start to unlock the possibilities of 3D and immersive mobile storytelling.
  • We’ll be doing less typing on our phones this year as visual search becomes more important.
  • New smart wearables include ear buds that handle instant translation and glasses that talk (and hear).
  • China and India become a key focus for digital growth with innovations around payment, online identity, and artificial intelligence.

Looking Back at 2017

This time last year we predicted that the downsides of technology would come to the fore and that we would start to see a backlash against platforms and algorithms.

Facebook felt the greatest heat in 2017 after it emerged that more than 120m Americans could have seen divisive social and political messages posted by Russia during the recent presidential election. Without proper checks, it seems that a foreign power was able to use fake accounts to buy $100,000 worth of political advertising in an attempt to influence a key election.

More widely Facebook’s engagement driven algorithm stands accused of pushing misinformation, propaganda, and polarising content into its news feed from Germany to Kenya to Myanmar. In less than a year, Mark Zuckerberg has gone from being viewed as a tech genius with presidential ambitions to an under-pressure CEO of a company being investigated by governments around the world. The fall out will continue through this year and beyond.