1. 2017 will be a tough year for traditional media.
Again, unfortunately, we got this right. We identified several key variables – including the ascent of fake news, which has damaged traditional media’s most important value: credibility. We’ve seen layoffs and buyouts at the top of the food chain (i.e., New York Times, Wall St. Journal) and among the cool kids (Mic), including complete shutdowns (Gothamist, DNAInfo). In prior years, we thought local news would do fine because there’s been a big interest in hyperlocal; with the demise of Gothamist and DNAInfo, both owned by billionaires for whom the budgets were rounding errors, we now think local media needs to find new ways to make money.
2. Social media addiction becomes recognized as a thing.
There are, of course, quizzes you can take to see if you are addicted, from reliable sources like Psychology Today. It’s definitely a thing, and we really don’t know anyone not afflicted.
3. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality still won’t be everywhere.
Last year, we said, “We don’t think VR or AR like the faddish Pokemon Go will be ubiquitous yet in 2017” because of problems like clunky VR headsets and a lack of compelling VR and AR content to encourage people they need to have it. At its Biennial this spring, NYC’s Whitney Museum offered a VR exhibit entitled “Real Violence” but according to the New Yorker, “Early reviews called the work disturbing, horrifying, repellent, nausea- and P.T.S.D.-inducing, but also a gratuitous trick, tin-eared and cheap.” So not yet ready for prime time, we think.
4. Expect a cloudier 2017.
This is an easy one. This is ongoing tech trend will continue beyond 2018.
5. Artificial intelligence will continue to surge.
AI became a huge story in 2017. We said, “we expect to see AI built into all sorts of consumer and B2B environments – and to be featured in more Hollywood movies and TV shows.” If anything, AI and robotics became one of the biggest tech trends of the year, and we see that continuing in 2018 and beyond.
6. Drones still won’t take off.
We said, “Consumer drones look like fun – for a couple of hours. We think the real market will be B2B, not just for deliveries (which we think is still a couple of years off).” We believe we were right about both sides of that.
7. Globalization will be a hot topic.
Globalization was discussed in in 2017 but mostly in terms of tariffs and trade deals, nativism and globalists (which some felt is a bad word). But it was not a major topic by itself in 2017. That said, we expect trade deals to be more of a topic in 2018.
8. Interest in voice speakers will turn up.
Last year, New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo predicted gadgets were dead, and we said he was wrong, pointing to interactive speakers (in our original piece we called them “voice speakers, not sure why) like Alexa and Google’s Home as bright spots in the tech world. We were right.
The interactive speakers incorporate AI to serve as virtual assistants, and AI, along with IoT and smart appliance connectivity, will likely go mainstream in 2018. If anything, we underplayed how significant this trend is; for consumer tech reviewers, interactive speakers are now a must-review gadget.
9. Boycotts Will Be Big Trend in 2017 – but by big brands and there could be implications for their marketing functions.
We think we were right to predict that boycotts would be a trend in 2017 – boycotts by corporations not against them. We said, “the big brands (will) seek to avoid controversy so they are trying to avoid placing ads on or working with sites that don't resonate with their consumers.” This certainly came into play this year – and is significant in an increasingly polarized society that some things are not acceptable. This will continue into 2018.
10. The death of retail.
This was a later addition to our initial set of trends but we think the Amazonification of retail is a real thing – destroying traditional retail. Amazon’s retail power continues to grow, and the impact both on how we shop, our expectations for shopping and the negative impact on the real estate market (especially in small communities) and on the decreasing number of retail jobs, is substantial and has long-term implications that no one is discussing. And yes, we used the word, “Amazonificatin.” We feel this is an extremely important story that will continue to play out in 2018.
According to the New York Times, "The basic idea behind it (Universal Basic Income) is that handing out unconditional cash to all citizens, employed or not, would help reduce poverty and inequality, and increase individual liberty." As the tax reform bill works its way through Congress, this may be a topic that gets more attention. So far, we think we overstated this topic.
Let us know if you agree or disagree. We have one more set of grades coming up.
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