Ideas and Predictions

I run multiple bets with friends on what will happen in the future. It’s fun and it requires some futurism-restraint if you want to nail 80% of predictions. So I decided to keep a permanent, auditable [1] list of my predictions [2], including the date of prediction (check parentheses). I have included even outlandish claims that I honestly believe in.

Companies

  • 2017: Apple continues to hold >90% of the profit of the smartphone industry (Dec 2016)
  • 2017: Apple becomes the number 1 watch maker in the world by revenue (Dec 2016)
  • 2017: Apple crosses the 1 trillion market capitalisation in 2018 (Nov 2017)
  • 2025: Uber has either stopped developing its autonomous hardware for small cars in-house, or became a car maker (Dec 2016)

Models

  • 2020: ICOs didn't kill the VC business. VCs still exist and they're still how startups get funded. They still deploy the same kind of money they were deploying in 2016, or more. If ICOs and smart contracts have equity-like legal power then VCs invest through them. There are a few ICOs per ecosystem (storage, computing, services), #ICOs << #Startups using ICOs. (Nov 2017)
  • 2020: There is at least one worker digital union (syndicate) valued at 1b. These digital unions startups are online aggregators that tilt the bargaining power of individuals vs. big platforms. (Dec 2016). Update: in big platforms I include non-digital companies, it can be a big company. (Set 2017)
  • 2020: There is at least one consumer digital union (cooperative) valued at 1b. These digital unions startups are online aggregators that tilt the bargaining power of individuals vs. big platforms. (Dec 2016)
  • 2025: Finally, your digital ID now stores passwords for most things, including websites, apps, services, banks, etc. You need only a handful (5), at most. Maybe it depends on a hardware device (Dec 2016)
  • 2025: Digital debt is a thing. There is at least one pure-digital debt issuer and one online-first credit worthiness scoring agency. Online identities track your score throughout the internet. They are available for contracting to the majority of clients of a major player with eCommerce or services operations. Can be Amazon, Apple, Google, AliBaba (Dec 2016)
  • 2025: Region lock for content fades way. Platforms like Netflix, Spotify and iTunes have grown, and international trade deals have helped trigger catalogues that are 90% equal for access in different regions. Has to include at least US and EU (Dec 2016)
  • 2025: Open-work on Open-source. At least one company worth >$1b opens their code and pays developers across the world by reputation of their commits within their open source software trunk, which can cover all or part of the company. Incentives exist for great contributors, paying them an on-going allowance for some months after their relevant contribution. At least 20% of dev budget is paid out this way. (Oct 2017)
  • 2030: Co-living, co-owning and house time-sharing is big. People are mobile and have contracts that guarantee shelter. The population in the West excluding immigration is still declining fast relative to the amount of housing available, and one these flexible rental services have more than a million active contracts (Dec 2016)
  • 2030: Car sharing and car hailing services provide 50% of more of all intercity trips in one of the largest 100 cities in the world (Dec 2016)

Tools - Interface

  • 2017: VR and AR are not a thing. No single player sells 10m units to consumers (excludes industry) (Dec 2016)
  • 2020: VR and AR are still not a thing. No single player sells 10m units to consumers (excludes industry) (Dec 2016)
  • 2025: Machines can understand 95%+ speakers of a language better than humans with little or no custom training for that user, even in street talk (Dec 2016)
  • 2025: Software SIMs are commonplace in smartphones, or whatever replaces them. The pressure of millions of connected devices, MVNOs and other hardware makers and software platforms resulted in that situation (Dec 2016)
  • 2030: There is a working mesh network that is governed by an open protocol spanning millions of nodes that are built into mobile devices like phones or watches. Coverage doesn’t reach the whole US, but some personal devices in cities effectively run critical services (like personal communication) on them. (Dec 2016)
  • 2030: Computer-brain interface implant debates have been on the front page of the major media outlets. There’s at least a thousand people using them outside pure medical applications (Dec 2016)

Tools - Robotics

  • 2020: Rovers for last mile deliveries are rolled out in the whole of one city for all customers by at least one big brand. The city has more than 1 million inhabitants covered by this service. The service can be something like pizza hut, 7 eleven or amazon (Dec 2016)
  • 2020: Air delivery drones are still not a thing for last mile delivery in the conditions defined for rovers above (Dec 2016)
  • 2030: General purpose AI is still not a thing. Machines can’t take care of themselves autonomously. Machines and algorithms can still only learn what we tell them to learn. Even when they can perform generalization, they can only do it in types of problems we tell them to generalize. (Dec 2016).
  • 2025: Finally, someone produces a very light, internet-connected device for voice and text that has a battery lasting a week (Dec 2016)


Tools - Software

  • 2020: There is a way for non-techies to program connected applications. More than 1 million users create their custom automated workflows apps in a platform (Dec 2016)

Government

  • 2030: AB Testing of governments is now possible. At least one country has 2 duplicated and parallel governments that compete with each other for at least one service. An Example is 2 competing tax authorities, polices, health systems, school systems. Citizens can subscribe to either, with duties rights according to their choice. Likely there is some lock-in. (Dec 2016)
  • 2030: Democracy is strengthened in several countries that now have a 4 "independent" power: Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and *Informational*. The Information body includes the statistics bureaus, labelling norms and data verification. It overall manages consent in society, including actions of the 3 remaining powers (Jan 2017)

  1. You can check that I wrote these things in these dates in http://waybackmachine.org
  2. The predictions are about single events, meaning that the result doesn't need to hold until the end of the period once it's done.