31 Dec
2015

Kirsten Campbell

By

Rose Gold Is the New Black

2015 has been an action packed technology year. We’ve seen hacks, drones and a lot of hoverboards in flames. Aaron Sorkin couldn’t even get people excited about a Steve Jobs movie (too soon guys, give it a decade) and self driving cars have quickly taking over roads in California for testing. New Apple products made rose gold a thing (but still not fetch), Google became Alphabet in a strange and unnecessary creation of a umbrella corporation which will hopefully make more sense in 2016.  Since the end of the year is a wonderful time to make grandiose predictions for the coming year, here goes!

Drones

Duh, right? They have gotten a lot of press with the recent ruling about mandatory FAA registration and people crashing the drones they got from Santa. These unmanned aircrafts have taken off (ha!) and in 2016 they will really continue to dominate the skies and our fascination. Amazon has been promising parcel delivery by drone for some time now and I have a sneaking suspicion that it will hit critical mass in 2016. I can’t wait for the time that an Amazon drone will appear at my balcony with whatever I’ve impulsively bought because their one click purchase is the devil. There’s even a “No Drone Zone” sign on the Arthur Laing bridge heading to the Vancouver airport. How glamorous of us!

*Ranking of my excitement: 9/10

Artificial Intelligence

Nothing scares people more than the idea of an evil robot taking over and killing or enslaving the human race. Evil robots have been a pop culture fixture for decades and that theme won’t end anytime soon. The uncanny valley is one major hurdle keeping AI from breaking into the mainstream the way it should have by now. Ex-Machina came out in 2015 which I have mentioned MANY times in previous posts but I shall beat that dead horse again.  That film was the best AI movie I’ve ever seen because the robots didn’t have an uncanny valley problem, and  it quietly illustrated how utterly terrifying AI can/will be due to our hubris. Terminator is unrealistic while Ex-Machina seems like something that we’ll be hearing about next year. Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak has spoken out against AI but their warnings will be ignored. Apple, Google, Facebook and Elon Musk have open sourced all their AI technology so next year we’ll really start to see AI gain momentum.

Ranking of my excitement: 7/10 (I’m cringing imaging how humans will ruin this)

Hacking

A very clever teenager hacked a CIA Director’s AOL email account, Ashley Madison user data was exposed, Jeeps got hacked on the highway and countless more people got screwed over. Vigilante hacking has also risen to prominence by attacking racist websites, threatening to expose evidence that Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery is innocent and even going after ISIS along with many others. The Sony hack in 2014 opened the floodgates for 2015 and I am very confident that next year will have even more hacks and cyber security breaches. Even Hello Kitty user data was hacked, so apparently kids aren’t even safe. Hacking is coming to the forefront of pop culture again so there will be even more high profile cases than 2015- it offers fame and in some cases, money.

Ranking of my excitement: 8/10

Hoverboards

There’s nothing more rewarding than being proven correct in your baseless predictions of technology trends! My hatred of hoverboards is well documented and now everyday online I see articles about hoverboards catching on fire. So, so, so many articles. Hoverboards should be sold with fire extinguishers (please forward me all royalty cheques for that brilliant idea) but they continue to sell and I continue to see people rolling down the street on them. Even though becoming a human torch is very likely, I still expect hoverboards to have a knockout year in 2016. Hey, even Russell Crowe and a priest (doesn’t that sound like the punchline to a horrible joke?) got in on the hoverboard action. There’s no stopping these silly devices from rolling into our everyday lives once the battery issues get resolved. They need to all catch on fire and rest in the depths of their fiery hell, but the opposite will happen.

Ranking of my excitement: 2/10

The Descent of Apple

I remember when the coloured iMac G3s were first announced in 1998 and desperately wanting one. When the first iPod was released in 2001, the tech world had clearly changed forever. Apple was dominating the industry with their innovative, simple designs and the charismatic Steve Jobs at the helm. I wasn’t interested in technology (shhh, don’t tell 14 Oranges) but I was captivated by Apple’s ability to predict and deliver on consumer trends before we knew we wanted colourful computers and to never use a Sony Discman again. They made non-techies able to appreciate and enjoy technology, which was once the exclusive domain of IT folks.

For years Apple was untouchable and the aspirational dream of most tech people. However, I haven’t been excited about anything Apple has announced in years. YEARS! That’s an eternity in technology time (for those who don’t know, tech time is like dog years). Their keynotes and product reveals don’t hold the same surprise and delight that they once did. I don’t watch the livestream anymore or get excited the way I used to. It kills me to have say this, but I predict 2016 won’t be a glorious year for Apple unless there is a dramatic announcement. I’m not saying they’ll be going broke anytime soon, but their stronghold of the consumer tech arena is loosening and next year will be when we really start to notice.  

Ranking of my excitement: 1/10

At one point the iPod was the pinnacle of sophistication

At one point the iPod was the pinnacle of sophistication

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is an exciting possibility that humans haven’t gotten correct yet. It helps that LeBron James is training in VR, Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR were released and people are becoming more open and curious about the technology. What was once a frontier of weirdness has become more accepted into pop culture as athletes and newspapers are jumping onto the VR bandwagon. Video games and movies are going to be a huge market for VR in 2016 as partnerships between Oculus and 20th Century Fox and some others have been announced. Moviegoers would love to watch a movie in VR because it the possibilities are endless! I can’t wait to experience the excitement of sailing on the Titanic, the terror of huddling in a trench in World War I and watching a gladiator fight (are you not entertained?) in the Roman Coliseum. I think that in 2016, the VR technology will be so much further ahead than it is today that what we have right now will look primitive.  

Ranking of my excitement: 10/10

Wearables

My love/hate relationship with wearables has also been well documented, but I still think 2016 will be the year for smartwatches. The Apple Watch flopped because the first gen model did nothing but subsequent updates have made it more useful. Since the Apple Watch came out, I have not seen anyone wearing it on the streets. Not seeing everyone with the latest Apple offering is strange but given how ‘meh’ the watch was, it’s not surprising. Wearables still have a long way to go in order to hit critical mass, however, I think smartwatches will become more common in 2016. Other wearables like Google Glass most likely will flop again, but FitBits and the health side of wearables will continue to grow.

Ranking of my excitement: 4/10

*My excitement ranking is based on if I’m looking forward to the occurrence and how much I think it will affect my life (it’s all science).

The Final Frontier

If I never see another hoverboard again, it will be too soon. Those things are moronic and fire hazards- good riddance. The endless possibilities of drones is thrilling for my retail and instant gratification purposes- bring on the drones! Artificial intelligence will rise up murder us all (maybe while riding hoverboards) in the future but in the meantime I wouldn’t say no to a robot butler. If I had any talent with a computer I might consider a career as a professional hacker, however, I am not. Hackers will be the new rock stars but instead of comparing top 40 hits, they’ll be comparing hacks. Virtual reality will be really exciting in the coming year and I can’t wait to get to explore places in VR. VR will be a sort of time travel experience that I think a lot of people are excited for (plus, it won’t murder us). Wearables have a lot of necessary improvements but when they get to a Star Trek level of usefulness then they’ll be on everyone and we won’t look back.