Before we begin, let’s take a look back at the MaRS Market Intelligence team’s information and communications technology (ICT) predictions for 2014, which included the rise of curved electronics and Bitcoin currency, as well as the introduction of same-day delivery.
Curved glass electronics continue to make advances, especially at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show, where curved and 4K TVs were front and centre. However, our other ideas proved less accurate: Bitcoin’s 58% drop in the market made it one of the worst investments of 2014 and same-day delivery services failed to significantly take off. With that covered, let’s dive into our predictions for 2015.
Any positive hype that was surrounding Google Glass in 2014 (and to be honest, there was never much) seems destined to end with a whimper in 2015. Most developers and potential consumers have lost interest since the wearable arrived on the tech scene nearly two years ago.
That being said, a recent move by Google will bring in Tony Fadell, founder and CEO of the company’s more successful Nest Labs group, to see if he can’t right the ship. Reports also indicate that a new version of Glass with Intel chips will be released in the near future. This could be the year that Glass finds its niche and everyone admits they were wrong, or it could be the year that Glass simply fades into the background before disappearing altogether.
Odds of occurring: 50/50
Facebook has been the de facto king of the social media hill for most of its existence. Could 2015 be the year that the giant succumbs to the advances of a younger social media platform? According to GlobalWebIndex, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram were the fastest growing social platforms of 2014, growing 120%, 111% and 64% respectively. Meanwhile, in this same time frame, Facebook’s user numbers grew by a measly 2%. Also, half of the Facebook users in the United States and United Kingdom say that they use the platform less frequently than they have in the past (this number rises to 64% among teenagers).
For a lot of young people, Facebook just isn’t “cool” anymore, and this could seriously affect user numbers in the coming year. On the other hand, Facebook is still the No.1 social network being used worldwide, with 83% of online adults having an account. Will Facebook be bumped from its perch in 2015? Stranger things have happened.
Odds of occurring: 500/1
Elon Musk is the founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, and is arguably one of the most innovative minds in the world today. It’s also safe to say that if Elon is concerned about the possibility of artificial intelligence (AI) one day threatening humanity we should probably pay attention.
In June 2014, Elon invested in an advanced AI company that is working to emulate the human brain so that he could “keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence.” Musk also recently committed $10 million to fund research that is ensuring that future AI technologies are developed to assist humanity rather than to endanger it.
Similarly, Gartner has included the rise of smart machines as one of its predictions for 2015, albeit, in a less apocalyptic tone than Elon Musk. The information technology research and advisory company states: “Smart machines will not replace humans, as people still need to steer the ship and are critical to interpreting digital outcomes.”
Will we see Judgment Day in 2015? There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves.
Odds of occurring: 100,000,000/1
Interested in other tech predictions for 2015? Read Part 1 of this series about upcoming trends in health and Part 3 of the series about advances in cleantech.