William Hooper makes some predictions for next year and get his predictions for 2032 in early. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Send in your own predictions and reflections to me at email@example.com by 7th January 2022 and we'll feature them in our special issue in January.]
Predictions for 2022
Artificial Intelligence continues to move from the Lab into business applications. These tend to start as point-solutions within existing business processes, as a low-risk way to experiment. There is a race for talent to secure those with the skills to make this work. The claims on Linkedin profiles continue to out-strip real experience and a number of companies discover the gaps in their knowledge by causing public offence. Was it inadequate data management, uncomprehending governance, blindness to consumer risk or just sloppy implementation that caused the greatest failures?
Following the demand for migration to increasingly remote-service and on-line business models, there is a mass move to plug the gaps in infrastructure. There is also a widespread and determined move towards digital transformation. A stubborn proportion of these fail, leading to a rise in associated disputes.
Predictions for 2032
The digital / political arms-race has advanced. The proto-military sniping at enemies infrastructure, noticed in the 2012 Israeli cyber-attack on an Iranian nuclear facility using Stuxnet, became routine in the mid-2020s. So much more convenient (and affordable) than sending the tanks in. With the hardening of relations between the US and China, the bifurcation of the internet advanced with the West driven by civil libertarian ideals and the East by state supervision of dissidents. Once more, George Orwell’s vision of Room 101 was prescient in direction, but under-estimated the extent achievable.
The issues of social inequality that contributed to the rise of populism in the UK, US and Eastern Europe between 2015 and 2020 was initially little reflected in income inequality, at first being seen mostly in disparity of educational outcomes. When MacDonalds first trialled a robotic-only restaurant and an AI lorry-driver was awarded a driving licence, the demands for those with software experience so out-stripped those for the unskilled, that there was severe political upheaval. Regional disparity was reduced by the widespread deployment of fibre-to-the-premises, the quality of life in remote countryside and the complete absence of cleaners in Wandsworth. This led to a realignment of social credits and tax rates on the basis that levelling societal inequality was far more comfortable than cleaning up after riots.
The Sudan and Mali become the market leaders for data-centres serving Europe, powered by solar energy and cooled by seawater. Staffing and security provided initial challenges, fairly easily overcome given the commercial returns. The carbon-credits from solar easily overcame the required hurdle applying to business travel for the ex-pat workers they employed.
William Hooper acts as an expert witness in IT and Outsourcing disputes and a consultant in service delivery. He is a member of the Society of Computers and Law and a director of Oareborough Consulting. He may be reached on +44 7909 958274 or William@Oareborough.com