This article was originally written in early January 2018.
At Quantum Mob, we take pride in working with the cutting edge and developing practical and immediately effective use-cases for emerging technologies. We keep our ears to the streets, peep what our nieces and nephews are saying, analyze a steady flow of Twitter sentiments, listen to mentions across news aggregators and company blog posts, and talk to speakers at meetups.
Let's take this time to reflect on the previous year and look into the future.
To kick things off, let's look back at 2017.
Bitcoin started the year around $1,000 USD. It dove then rose x5, then exploded... then sank. BTC was forked to Bitcoin Cash. ICO's were everywhere (I get new ICO ads daily).
2016 was the year of chatbots. 2017 was the year of ICO's. There was a ton of hype around blockchain in the startup scene which I hope materializes into something substantial.
With exposure from client needs to internal experimentation, we've developed an understanding of what's happening in the tech world.
That said here's a short list of predictions:
Hiring an ML expert will become more commonplace, comparable to hiring a data scientist - The idea of artificial intelligence has been popular since the creation of computers, it's become normalized and mainstream enough for everyone to benefit from a machine learning expert. Big data has been done, it's popularity is flat-lining. Time to leverage all that data with ML.
VR gaming will become household - Have you tried VR with controllers? If not, I encourage you to step into a VR world at one of Toronto's popular locations. We took our team there and got our minds blown. The headsets, controllers, and motion tracking are on point. We all flew by an hour thinking we'd just started.
Blockchain limitations and practical applications will be realized and accepted - Blockchain is an amazing idea and technology, however its practical applications are not as wide-spread as the public has lead you to believe. Existing technologies and solutions can do certain jobs just as well. We'll begin to see the pilots of blockchain in 2018 and come to the realization of areas where blockchain can be most effective.
React Native will win the war on mobile technology - In the battle for mobile technology supremacy we have React Native, Progressive Web Apps, Hybrid Apps, and native. React Native allows you to build cross-platform mobile apps faster, for the same FPS and performance as native apps. React Native is awesome, especially when we combine it with a bit of native code for any specialized cases. Save time, save money, iterate faster, use cross-functional engineers.
Magic Leap will bridge the AR uncanny valley - Hololens is definitely cool. It gives us opaque objects in mixed reality, impressive spatial tracking and object rendering. However, it still looks and feels like a prototype. As much as everyone has been bashing Magic Leap recently, claiming that Magic Leap is vaporware, that they're trying to build impossible technology, I remain optimistic. Their "real demos" had virtual objects hidden behind desks and other real world obstacles, seamlessly blending into our real world. Check out some proof that this will happen. Be ready to be shocked.
Desktop apps could make a comeback - Over the years, starting with the power of V8, our browser has become the one-stop shop for everything. Document processing, mail clients, communication platforms, business administration platforms, ERP's, etc. The list does not stop. In an effort to stand out from the sea of browser tabs, desktop apps will become cool again. I have separate windows for applications that I spend most of my day on (Polymail, Slack, Sublime Text, iTerm, Bear, Spotify).
CRISPR clinical trials will prove human effectiveness for all diseases - China already started CRISPR trials in 2016 for cancer treatment yet we haven't been hearing of the findings. In 2018, we will see widespread clinical trials for all diseases. This one isn't as much of prediction as it is fact, but definitely worth mentioning. If you aren't aware of what CRISPR is, I would describe it as: 3D printing is to creating objects, as CRISPR is to treating diseases. Almost a one stop shop. It's gene editing.
Cannatech is going to lose its taboo identity - I know huge VC's that told me they wouldn't touch companies associated with cannatech due to their stakeholders. Canada will see legalization in July this year and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. I'm calling you VC's out. Put out your fishing rods now!