2020: A bluffers' guide to what might happen in technology

Future-gazing is never achieved with 2020 vision but let's not have that stop us, eh?

Well, here we go again. It's that most wonderful time of the year for prognosticators determined to plug on with that most foolish of errands, attempting to see into the future. Looking back is hard enough: until today, I hadn't even realised that Nostradumus was merely a Latin version of the name of the French seer Michele de Nostredame, born 1503 and author of Les Prophéties (The Prophecies). De Nostredame predicted a series of calamities and must have been a heck of a lot of fun on New Year's Eve parties. Who knew?

If only there were a Wikipedia for the future. But there's not, so the following is only an attempt to guess at what comes next in technology, written in the full and certain knowledge that years rarely hand over big waves. Technology evolves like a dance, slow-slow-quick-quick-slow, even if there are some key events to hang your hat on. (Did you know that the iPhone will be 13 years old in 2020? Or that the IBM Personal Computer will turn 39 or the Apple Mac 36?).

Ok, that's enough of a preamble, let's make some wrong calls on what will emerge in 2020…


AI as a service

AI is at that uncertain age. Some people say they're using it when it isn't AI at all. Some people are using it but only tentatively, as if brushing an alligator's teeth. Others have made a go of it and been disappointed with the results. What's needed is a ready-made form of AI that can be used on a utility basis, and that's coming pretty soon, based on the number of efforts undergoing to build AI into tools and cloud platforms.


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