Here are my seven science and technology predictions for 2019:
Facebook’s existential crisis will become old news
Contrary to clickbait discussions on Twitter, and ironically, on Facebook, in 2019, users will not leave Facebook en masse. While users in the US and Western Europe may spurn Facebook in a knee-jerk manner after another data scandal hits the beleaguered company, it is necessary to keep in mind that Facebook had saturated these markets a few years ago. Facebook will look to countries such as India and Brazil to ensure its survival.
Despite efforts, best or not, by governments in developing nations, nobody has been able to rein in Facebook. Furthermore, the company will increase its reliance on WhatsApp in the developing nations, and on Instagram in the developed nations to boost its numbers.
Even if Facebook is hit by a number of data security crises, the news will become the new norm, and thus, will not leave any impact.
Flipkart’s IPO plans will be further delayed
Walmart’s plans to take Flipkart public in four years will definitely suffer a setback in light of Binny Bansal’s resignation from the company. Furthermore, as the Indian government looks to tighten control over e-commerce websites, both Amazon and Flipkart may have to drastically alter their business strategies to break even in India.
5G will be touted as the next new thing
Despite lack of devices and infrastructure to support 5G technology, it will be heralded as the biggest thing since sliced bread throughout 2019. As the market is primed for its acceptance throughout the year, it is only in 2020 that we will see a tangible adoption of the technology.
Google will cross the $1 trillion mark
Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, will join Apple and Microsoft in the uber-exclusive club of companies worth over a trillion dollars. Whether, unlike Microsoft and Apple, Google retains this valuation for more than a few days will depend on how many data and privacy scandals hit the company throughout the year. However, it will join the hallowed club.
Cryptocurrency will become loose change
After a few months of frenzied increase in its value in 2017, followed by dismal fall in 2018, all forms of cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, will suffer a whimpering send-off to oblivion. However, blockchain, the technology underlying cryptocurrency, may find use in financial accountability and banking, provided the black box around it is pried open.
Quantum computing will continue to dominate the news cycle
Quantum computing will continue to capture the imagination of technology journalists the world over, but no paradigmatic shifts will occur in the next few years, especially in 2019. The race between the US and China will reach fevered pitches in media, but progress will largely be incremental.
Interest in IoT will plateau
2018 was the year when Alexa and Google Home dominated sales in home and décor, as did smart devices that could be integrated into the Internet of Things (IoT). The demand for them will plateau in 2019, especially in the US and Western Europe. In developing nations such as India, as digital connectivity improves, the boom may be visible, but will get postponed to the second half of the year.
Aditi Agrawal is a senior sub editor at Qrius
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