- Automation will continue at a faster pace than ever before in human history. If you recall talk about the “information revolution” from 25 years ago when the web was in its infancy, you’ll wince at how quaint and wrong the pundits were. The real information revolution is happening now, and the robots are winning. Our politics are now infested with disaffected and displaced low-skill humans who have become obsolete. That situation will get worse as more people are automated right out of the economy. The Luddite backlash is here again!
** CARS will drive themselves. But more importantly, trucks will drive themselves. This will eventually put 6 million more humans out of work (that is, truck drivers) and will have a devastating impact on the small towns supported only by servicing truckers (food, petrol, and lodging). The economy will change.
** Even white collar JOBS will fall to automation (with a heaping side of machine learning). Retool now. Learn to code. Become a technologist. We’ll need more techies than ever. But don’t pick a field where repetition is the main thing or processes are clearly-defined and algorithmic.
** IoT has a minor part to play in this revolution, but one that gets inordinate attention from the press (and the marketing hype). Put simply, everything will be on the net, both chattering away about data it is gathering and automating parts of life that we didn’t even know needed to be Automated. Security and privacy will play an important role.
- Security and politics will become an even thornier morass than they have been since 2016. Security is important, but FUD is bad. Lately, there is too much FUD in politics, and much of it happens in the name of security. Computer security still sells with FUD. We need to change that. FUD is corrosive.
** Facebook and Twitter will have to take responsibility for the abuse of their platforms. The election of 2016 showed how vulnerable our democracy is. Technology providers can no longer pretend that the tools they made are “just tools” without any moral or ethical implications. As we learn more about information warfare, propaganda, and modern social networks, we’ll need to make some adjustments.
** CRYPTO will be painted as the enemy of security instead of as its saviour. Public figures who have no business even saying the word “crypto” will attempt to thwart math and engineering with empty political words. We will need to defend strong crypto again in Crypto War III. Coming soon to an three-letter agency near you.
** New JOBS around the political implications of tech and tech policy will emerge. Nobody knows what they will look like yet. Humans will struggle to control the machines they are building faster than they can think things through.
- Women will continue to gain much needed ground in security. If the backsliding political troglodytes have taught us anything, they have taught us the real value of women as equal partners in society. Not enough security workers? Hire, train, and promote women. Lip service time is over. Lets stop having panels about women in technology and just have some women in technology.
Though these themes may seem disparate and disconnected, they all share a common theme—software. Automation by its very definition involves software. In some sense software is eating jobs at an alarming rate, replacing people with bits. Politics involves more software than ever. Even determining what the limits of our software should be turns out to be a thorny issue. We will always need more than the ten million or so people working on software today to help us keep it under control and functioning in our favour as a species. Women have been involved in software since Lady Ada Lovelace dreamed the whole thing up. Software. Software Software.