How many have we seen this year? And to think that we were convinced that we had seen it all in 2020! Anyway we are here. And although some of my past predictions have been blatantly disproved (God forbid, I'm not a magician), there are several reasons why you should keep reading this article.
First of all it is delicious. And secondly, it's not really a horoscope: take it more as a tool that can steer conversations about the future in the right directions. As if to say, with these forecasts I don't offer answers, but the opportunity to ask you good questions.
You are ready? Here are my predictions in black and white, ready to be denied on December 31, 2022.
1 The new space race will explode innovations
The "old" space race has resulted in a lot of technologies and inventions accessible to the general public. Wireless headphones, computer mice, LED lights, wireless handheld vacuum cleaners, freeze-dried foods, air purifiers, memory foam, scratch-resistant lenses, solar cells. I'm definitely forgetting something. And all to tell the Russians (or the Americans) "I arrived first!".
In 2022 we will not be an exception, indeed. My predictions say that the three-way "fight" Branson, Bezos e Musk they will continue to fire everything and more into space: and for everything sent into orbit there will be a version of it, or a corresponding technology, ready to end up on the terrestrial market in the next few years.
2 NFTs won't boom
This one for me, it is already challenging. Oh yes, because I'm a bit of this year's star: NFTs are on everyone's lips. I'm sure it's my problem, but I find them a sensational hoax. At least in their current guise.
NFTs Will Disappoint Again, I also wrote it a few days ago. They create a fake scarcity, they are not as centralized as they would like us to believe and they pretend to put a price on our popular culture too (the auction on the first text message cries out for revenge). If they were a nativity scene I wouldn't like it: and trust me, I know what I'm talking about, I'm Neapolitan.
It will be a fad, gentlemen. Blockchain is going to be a great thing, but these NFTs are limp - if you're getting excited about working with it, think twice.
3 Cryptocurrencies will grow badly
Cryptocurrencies, unlike NFTs, are even useful: the industry within which they evolve is rapidly growing (also thanks to the greater attention of the public towards the blockchain).
Not just Bitcoin (and Ethereum, and Shiba Inu, etc.) anyway. According to forecasts, Stablecoins will appear as a new form of currency. The European Parliament is considering their adoption: they should make money transfers safer and its laundering more difficult. The use of stablecoins is expected to increase in 2022 with new rules.
There is no shortage (and unfortunately there will be) the shadows: scams are still prevalent, this year the "get rich quick" mirage has brought confidence back to cryptocurrencies by a few years.
4 Spotify will create or host AI-generated music
Spotify is a good application. Music is all in one place and people can find what they want to hear: and they can also find the music that other people are listening to. Spotify has a ton of data on what people listen to and when they do, no one else has that much data on music.
Did you understand where I want to go? Here you are. All this data and these musical preferences can be useful in creating something that we have been trying to create for a long time: music generated by artificial intelligence. Decent music, I mean, not more or less structured sonic jumble. An evolution of what has been done by Open AI in the past years (I also talked about it here).
I could get my predictions wrong by a few years, but I think I'm right in general: as Netflix now creates movies and series, Spotify will also "create" its own artists, songs and bands. At first with real people, but later with models who will sing and play what everyone likes, carving things around the single individual.
5 We will be spending a lot of money on AR / VR
Facebook and other companies want to convince us that the Metaverse will create incredible riches. And they're putting a ton of money into these developments.
Whatever the Metaverse looks like, it won't be (just) about software. It will also take visors, sensors, cameras, haptic gloves, headphones. In the next year, the forecasts in this sense are easy: we will begin to spend a lot on gadgets gradually closer to (co) create immersive environments.
6 Synthetic biology will move closer to the market
What a wonder nature! Inimitable. Or almost: synthetic biology is taking its first steps. In 2022, companies will start selling something "artificially natural" (or naturally artificial, you name it).
Fabrics? Bioplastics? Medicines? Biofuels? Something will come out. Score.
7 Foldable phones will be back in fashion
The good times of the StarTac for an old man like me bring sighs. But, hey, if you have a lot of cash, those times could be back! Foldable phones, amigo. They are both vintage and modern now. They open like that Samsung clamshell that I carried in a tiny pocket in 2003, but then they show you the fencing.
Did I say Samsung? Of course. They are the masters of this flashback, and according to forecasts they will push on the accelerator. Sooner or later we will put away the bar of soap we all have and go back to the fold. I don't know if I'll do it too in 2022 (I doubt it), but foldable cellphones will take the mainstream.
8 The technological world will still be disrupted (and renewed) by Covid
Do you know what happened the last time we had a "black swan" economic crisis? Uber and Airbnb were born. A small thing, they have only upset the market for urban transport and rentals. And now? Likely the new Uber will come out in the field of food delivery. Or not?
However, forecasts are not made as I do. Often they also take into account subsequent trends. For example: Covid arrives and everyone closes in. Those who observe this trend invest in the delivery market. Those who look further imagine that a long-term consequence could be to make kitchens smaller, because they cook less, and to use the extra space to put sports equipment. And so it invests in sports equipment for the home.
A stupid example, but it serves to make people understand why innovations often do not come from the field that everyone would expect.
9 Mental health technology will grow out of all proportion
That certain pandemic you may have heard of caused the biggest mental health crisis the world has recently remembered. Everywhere we read of more suicides, more depression, more anxiety.
Even when things start to go a lot better we will have to deal with all the toads and pain we have swallowed in all this time. And this is where the health technology market comes in, specifically the mental one.
Whether it's face-to-face or online, a lot of more people will visit a psychologist: this (in the medium to long term) is good news, after all.
10 Startups aiming to improve our sleep will grow badly (and maybe start to work well)
I don't know about you, but I've been sleeping very badly for 2 years. Perhaps it also applies to many of you: work, little girl, Covid. It is difficult to indulge in a precious restful sleep when (a little) Eros and (a lot) Thanatos buzz in our heads.
If a company can give us a (effective) way a way to increase and improve sleep it will make a bang of those who remember. And this is not just me saying: it is no coincidence that the startups in the field are blooming like flowers in May.
Among my forecasts, what can be more than anything else a hope: one of these startups will shoot up because it is more effective than the others. And it will solve a big problem for us.
General considerations on the technological predictions of this post
In 2022, Big Tech will continue to address ethical issues (without resolving them): for the "easy predictions" series. We will continue to ask questions such as "Do we want to continue spying on billions of people?", "Should we treat our employees as human beings?", "Is it okay to incite genocide?", "Should we continue to provide technology to authoritarian governments?". The answers seem obvious, but they never come.
More Easy Predictions: Technology "Will Do Good Things"
In 2022, technology will continue to help reduce infant mortality and deaths from infectious diseases. Great advances will be made in the medical field, education will be democratized and green technologies will emerge as a long-term positive force.
Afraid of these predictions?
Technology shouldn't scare us too much. After all, it is something that we have done, we have a duty to be present to it, to do our part so as not to send it adrift. Technology can be good or bad for society. It's up to all of us to make sure it's good.
How? In the way we can: from protesting on Twitter with a company that doesn't work well to voting for other parties if those in government don't do what they should. If we work together in our own small way, the best predictions will come true and I will brag about them. The worst ones will not come true, and you can make fun of me :)