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Tech predictions for 2022

As a new year begins, I’m always interested in seeing what the prognosticators are prognosticating will happen over the next twelve months. So I was more than happy to wander around seeing what different sites had to say about what they’re foreseeing for 2022.

First up is Alex Pasternack’s piece from Fast Company, a roundup of predictions they gathered from tech folks, investors, and pundits.

At the macro level, these experts are betting on some of the usual suspects – some that have been on the trending lists for a while, some that are more recent comers: more autonomous vehicles, more widespread deployment of AI (think low-code and no-code frameworks), more AR glasses in use, more regulation for Big Tech – especially around antitrust and privacy, more quantum computing; Web 3; crypto; bioengineering; digital health. Then there are the new suspects like the metaverse.

Among the observations I found most interesting was the prediction that enterprise blockchain and Web3 will take off, which will start to put an end to the stranglehold that the social media giants – I don’t need to name any names – have on user data.

Then there’s all the talk about the metaverse which, I must admit, even as an avowed techie hurts my head. The metaverse is an extreme reflection of the fact that more and more of our lives are conducted online, in the case of the metaverse in a virtual-reality environment where avatars abound and where NFT (non-fungible tokens) replace ownership of physical assets. Maybe I’m turning into an old fogey, but at the end of the day, I like having an actual yard where my flesh-and-blood dogs can run around, even if I have to actually get out there and actually mow it.

Overall, the Fast Company article is a good read, albeit a long one. I will note that it ends on a pretty weird note, with talk of things called “religiously skinned tokenization” and “divinatory platformization.” Now, I consider myself as bright as the next guy, but…

Over on Newstack, Richard MacManus looks out from a developer’s perspective. Like others, he’s looking at Web3/crypto and forecasting a market correction. His reasoning? “Nothing useful has been built using crypto and blockchains, other than tools for speculation like crypto exchanges and the NFT marketplaces.” I think I’m with Richard.

Among other things, he also predicts that Apple will be forced to open things up to external browsers that are currently banned (or largely hobbled) on their mobile devices. And he sees a growth in the emergence of serverless functions in the development mainstream.

His final prediction, alas, turns out to be a fake one: that a new metaverse social network will topple Meta (the company formerly known, if not exactly loved, as Facebook).

If you’re a fan of candor, then you’ll like Lance Ulanoff’s predictions on Tech Radar. He even titles his article, “Wild tech predictions for 2022 that probably won’t happen.”

Like all the other forecasters, he sees people spending more and more time in the metaverse, doing things like driving their virtual cars to the virtual homes of virtual friends, wearing virtual clothing, and “cook[ing] metaverse animals with digital spices” – which doesn’t sound very appealing to me. People will begin suffering from something he calls “meta-aversion.” Which for me has already set in.

Lance also predicts more regulation of social media firms in terms of not letting them continue to get away with “responsibility for the content on their platforms.” Then he flips to something a bit more whimsical and opines that the first private person to do a spacewalk will be Elon Musk. He then makes predictions in a number of other arenas, predictions that are either humorous or a bit frightening (just a bit!), depending on how you look at them.

Me? I’m not making any predictions of my own, other than my evergreen forecast that, while technology can be a mixed bag (c.f., NFT’s), on balance it will continue to do many, many things that help us lead healthier, happier, and more productive lives.

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2022 is a good one.