Sunday, December 30, 2007

2008 predictions

Technology

  • The use of Java will continue to migrate to the edges of application space: use on cellphones and small devices and large scale server side system. Except for developer tools like Eclipse, NetBeans, and IntelliJ Java on the desktop will grow slowly (with a few exceptions like LimeWire)
  • The trend of using scripting languages like Ruby and Python for small and medium size systems will continue.
  • Most innovative software development will continue to be done as web based applications with browser and small device clients.
  • New web based applications will continue the upwards trend to outsourcing infrastructure to Amazon (EC2, S3, SimpleDB), Google (GData, applications), etc.
  • Pressure to reduce IT costs will drive most organizations even more towards open source.
  • There will be more progress in implementing the Semantic Web as more organizations adopt open standards for sharing structured data and start to see the value of opening up their own data to outside users.
  • The shift towards hi-tech development in Asia rather than in the USA and Europe will continue.
  • Low energy networks and computing devices will become more prevalent and important in the face of large scale energy shortages (long term trend).
  • Security will continue to be a problem as trojans/viruses enable organized crime to effect large scale theft.
  • Social network web applications will continue to evolve into open development platforms.
  • Microsoft will continue to have problems with Vista, Windows 2000 and XP use will continue strongly, and the company will have increasing difficulties reconciling the push for open standards with their "lock in" business models.
  • A "real AI" will not be developed in 2008 :-)

Social and Economic

  • Random web surfing will decrease as savvy users learn to more quickly find relevant information linked from RSS feeds that they trust. I believe that more people will realize how much time they spend, with small value to them, reading general sites like Slashdot, Digg, and Reddit. People will focus more on what helps them in their work and specific interests.
  • In the USA and other developed countries, the middle class will adjust to greatly shrinking disposable income by looking more towards inexpensive and lower energy use activities like social interactions with family and friends, exercise, reading, and watching TV (yuck!) and movies.
  • The growing middle classes in developing countries will spend their increasing disposable income on higher protein diets, consumer goods, cars, and travel.

Political

  • Developed nations will continue the current trend of moving towards corporate controlled governments - this will continue to be made more possible by massive consolidation of news media by just a few very large corporations that can then strongly affect democratic elections and thus control elected officials.
  • In general, people in most countries will be more concerned with safety and their economies than with civil rights and freedom.
  • Long term trend: the USA and the UK will become less important as world powers as economic problems undercut their military ability. Russia will continue the trend of decreasing civil rights and freedom, but the population at large is unlikely to care in the face of improved economy and standard of living. Long term, China will have severe structural problems due to pollution; they will have some problems with energy and other resources, but their current plan of long term energy treaties will give them an advantage over other industrialized nations that need to import huge amounts of energy.
  • There is a long term trend towards meritocracies strongly favoring people with high value skills and/or large amounts of capital.

3 comments:

vahid said...

Hi Mark,
I have a question about your last sentence in Technology prediction. What you mean by "Real AI"? If you mean the AI as it's in my mind (Machine Learning,Computer Vision,Reinforcement Learning, etc), it's begun !!!

Mark Watson, author and consultant said...

Hello Vahid,

By "real AI" I mean an AI that can learn on its own from its environment, make predictions, and self evolve. I have an old paper where I discuss some of this:

AI, Go, and Consciousness

vahid said...

It was very nice paper.I specially agree with you on explaining the Neural Network mechanism
on Vision systems(it's my field of research). Considering your definition of "Real AI",yes, you
right.These kind of machines will not produce next year(s).Maybe due to this fact that we,as humans, couldn't classify our Inner experience till now.I mean there are some fuzzy concepts and vagueness in our definition too...