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2018

TECH TRENDS
REPORTEmerging technology trends
that will influence business,
government, education, media
and society in the coming year.
THE YEAR AHEAD
Last year proved to be a restless nail-biter, and 2018 promises more of the
same. Strap in, because you’re likely to witness a number of events that don’t
appear to follow the familiar political, technological or business narratives.

Tantalizing advancements in emerging technologies—artificial intelligence,


biotech, autonomous robots, green energy and space travel—will begin to enter
the mainstream, which could eventually mean significant economic growth and
healthier living. Yet a closer look reveals some alarming truths. The develop-
ment of AI is our modern version of an arms race, and in 2018, China will lay the
groundwork to become the world’s unchallenged AI hegemon. If data is the new
oil, China’s massive, 730m online population puts it in control of our largest, and
possibly most important natural resource going forward—human data—and it
doesn’t have the privacy and security restrictions that might hinder progress in
other nations.

Meanwhile, this could be a breakthrough year for human genome editing, as


experiments and trials exit the lab for real-world use. But we still lack a set of
global norms and ethical standards for the clinical use of germline editing, even
as newer techniques, such as human tissue engineering, are on the horizon.
Scientists, security experts, ethicists and policymakers aren’t doing long-range,
data-driven forecasting. What if we create completely new biological life forms?
Even if they’re just blobs of tissue, would they be legally protected in any way?
Would a blob of tissue have rights? Eventually, genome editing will allow us to
grow healthy fruits, vegetables and grains in our homes. It could mean the end of
food deserts and solve widespread hunger—and cause the collapse of our exist-
ing agricultural system, food supply chain, and global trade agreements.

But it does no good to map scenarios for the future without using historical con-
text. This year marks some important anniversaries:
• Five years ago, internet activist Aaron Swartz, who helped make information Like it or not, in 2018 leaders across all industries will confront difficult ques-
move more freely via the RSS tool he helped create, committed suicide. His tions about the future of technology. They must do so using the context of history.
work to make academic research and public records freely available to the
public resulted in federal charges carrying potential penalties of $1 million in Now more than ever, every organization should examine the potential impact of
fines and up to 35 years in prison. Aaron’s suicide temporarily spurred debate, tech trends—and leaders must be willing to take incremental actions. Whether
but it didn’t result in constructive action on digital access and more modern you are a Fortune 500 company, a government agency, a start-up, a university,
methods of protecting intellectual property. In the coming year, we will see the a foundation or a small business, you must factor the trends in this report into
emergence of a splintered internet, with new laws and regulations specific to your strategic thinking for the coming year, and adjust your planning, operations
geographic regions. and business models accordingly. Failing to track trends in a meaningful way will
put your competitive advantage, growth and survivability at risk.
• It was 10 years ago that Apple launched its App Store, an innovation that cat-
apulted smartphones from the fringe to the mainstream. Mobile apps ushered Helping organizations see change early and calculate the impact of new trends
in the social media era, revolutionized the digital ad market, and blurred the is why the Future Today Institute publishes its annual Tech Trends Report. Now
lines between our workplaces and homes. Yet as smartphone sales have now in its 11th year, the report focuses on mid- to late-stage emerging technologies
plateaued, mobile phone makers and service providers have yet to define their that are on a growth trajectory. We have identified more than 225 trends for the
next act as we head into a post-app, post-smartphone era. coming year across 20 industries, and that broad scope is intentional. To under-
stand the future of technology, you must consider the past, present and future of
• It’s also been 10 years since Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy all things. Otherwise, you’re essentially looking at the world through a pinhole.
in history, setting off a global financial crisis. In the years since, we’ve seen a
crypotocurrency frenzy, ever-powerful high frequency trading algorithms and As of the publication date, The Future Today Institute’s annual report has gar-
the effective dismantling of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the nered more than six million cumulative views. We’re glad to see so many leader-
U.S., which was created to help stave off the dangerous financial sector prac- ship teams all around the world using these trends as part of a formal, ongoing
tices which led to the 2008 crash. process to reduce risk, harness new opportunities and drive change within their
fields. Whether you’re thinking about 2018 or 2168—or any time in between—re-
• And this year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Lu- member that the future isn’t yet written. You and your team have the power to
ther King, who was shot on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Yet America build your preferred future, today.
feels increasingly divided, in ways that are explicit (more white supremacist
rallies are planned for 2018) and less obvious: roughly six-in-ten black STEM Sincerely,
workers (62%) say they have experienced racial or ethnic discrimination at
work, from earning less than a coworker who performed the same job to ex-
periencing repeated, small slights.1 Outside of the U.S., Austria’s right-leaning
chancellor, whose People’s Party rose to prominence via social media and has
aligned with former members of the Nazi party, will become the president of Amy Webb
the European Union. (It’s Austria’s turn to hold the position.) Founder
The Future Today Institute

1
Pew Research Center, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/10/black-stem-employees-perceive-a-range-of-race-related-slights-and-inequities-at-work. Last accessed January 10, 2018.
This is a robust, detailed report
with more than 225 trends. Please
don’t try to read it
in one sitting.
Start with the Executive Summary,
and then review the top tech
trends listed for your industry. In
the coming months, we hope that
you’ll spend time with all
of the
trends in our 2018 report, and that
you’ll allow your mind to wander
productively.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE


TABLE OF CONTENTS
02 Welcome Letter 53 A Bigger Role For Ambient 64 Personality and Character 74 New Open Source App
Interfaces Recognition Vulnerabilities

08 Executive Summary 53 Deep Linking Everywhere 65 Ambient Proximity 74 Selfie Security Using Faceprints
54 Making AI Explain Itself 66 Hidden Bias in Recognition 74 Bounty Programs
08 Key Takeaways Technologies
54 Accountability and Trust 79 The General Data Protection
Regulation Takes Effect
54 Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems
10 Guide To The Year Ahead 67 Security, Privacy and Data 79 Right To Eavesdrop/ Be
55 China’s AI Boom
69 Compliance Challenges and Eavesdropped On
56 Real-Time Machine Learning Unrealistic Budgets
12 Methodology 79 Defining What Constitutes
56 Natural Language Understanding 69 DDoS Attacks Will Increase Online Harassment
(NLU)
15 How To Use Our Report 69 Ransomware As A Service 80 Drone Surveillance
56 Machine Reading Comprehension
70 Russia’s Gifted Hacker 80 Personal and One-To-Few Networks
(MRC)
16 Ten Important Questions Community Grows
80 Leaking
56 Natural Language Generation (NLG)
70 New Infrastructure Targets
80 Blocking the Ad Blockers
22 The Most Important Tech 56 Generative Algorithms For Voice,
70 Hacktivism On The Rise
Trends For Your Industry Sound and Video 81 Organizational Doxing
And Organization 71 Third-Party Verified Identities
57 Image Completion 81 Anonymity
71 Targeted Attacks on Digital
57 Predictive Machine Vision 81 Authenticity
Assistants
47 Artificial Intelligence 57 Much Faster Deep Learning 81 Differential Privacy
51 The AI Cloud 71 Zero-Knowledge Proofs
57 Reinforcement Learning and Go Commercial 82 Anti-Recognition Cammo
51 Proprietary, Homegrown AI Hierarchical RL and Glasses
Languages 71 Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
57 Continuous Learning 82 Digital Self-Incrimination
51 AI Chipsets 71 Backdoors
58 Multitask Learning 82 SWATting at Trolls
52 Cognitive Computing 73 Remote Kill Switches
58 Adversarial Machine Learning 83 Revenge Porn
52 Bots 73 AI-Powered Automated Hacking
83 Eye In The Sky
52 Marketplaces For AI Algorithms 73 Offensive Government Hacking
59 Recognition Technologies 83 Law Enforcement Using
52 More Consolidation in AI 73 More Cyber Mission Forces in
60 Faceprints Recognition Algorithms
the Field
53 Consumer-Grade AI Applications 61 Voiceprints To ID Faces
Debut 73 Strange Computer Glitches Will
62 Wifi Tracking Keep Happening 84 Data Retention Policies
53 Digital Assistants Become
63 Gesture Recognition 74 Proliferation of Darknets, Aided 84 Encryption Management
Ubiquitous
By Cryptocurrencies

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 005


84 Who Owns Your Personal, 103 Autonomous Vehicle Testing 122 Notification Layer 145 Retail APIs
Biometric Data? In Cities Around the U.S. (A Tragedy of the Commons)
146 Digital Associates
85 Global Data Scientist Shortages 103 Armchair AV Mechanics 123 Journalism as a Service (JaaS)
103 Assisted Driving Before Full 124 Transparency in Metrics 147 Energy
86 Advanced Robotics Automation
125 Real-Time Fact Checking 148 Green Tech
87 Self-Assembling Robots 104 Adaptive Driving Systems
126 Offline Is The New Online 149 Charging Stations
88 Robot Compilers 104 Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V)
127 Audio Search Engines 150 Ultra-High-Voltage Direct
Communications
89 Molecular Robotics 128 Synthetic Data Sets Current and Macro Grids
104 Electric Vehicles
90 Collaborative Robotics 129 Connected TVs 151 Better Batteries
104 Cars as Interfaces
91 Ethical Manufacturing 129 Decentralizing The Web
104 Solar Highways 152 Climate And Geoscience
92 Soft Robotics 129 Streaming Social Video
105 Autonomous Vehicle Legislation 153 Anthropocene
93 Human-Machine Interfaces 130 New Video and Audio
105 Flying Cars 155 Extreme Weather Events
94 Smart Dust Story Formats
106 Flights 157 Human Migration Patterns Shift
95 Personal Robots and Butlers 131 Media Consolidation
107 Autonomous Ships 158 Geoengineering
97 Robot Abuse 132 Tweaks To Social
Network Algorithms
98 3D Printing
108 News Media, Book Publishing, 133 The First Amendment 159 Agricultural Technologies
Social Networks and the in a Digital Age 160 Indoor and Outdoor Plant
99 Transportation First Amendment Factories and Microfarms
100 Flying Taxis 110 Natural Language Generation 134 Entertainment Media 161 Deep Learning For Farming
100 Autonomous Underwater for Reading Levels and Food Recognition
135 Holograms
Vehicles (AUVs) 111 Computational Photography
135 Virtual Reality 162 Smart Farms
100 Drone Delivery 112 Computational Journalism
136 360-degree Video 163 Terraforming
101 Increasing Patents and Calls 113 I-Teams For Algorithms and Data
136 Augmented Reality 164 Cultivated Food and Beverage
For New Regulation
114 Voice Interfaces For News
102 Drone Lanes and Books 137 Mixed Reality Arcades
165 Biotechnologies, Genomic
102 Personal Home Drone Surveillance 115 Proximity News 138 MMOMRGs
Editing and Biointerfaces
102 Sense And Avoid Technology 116 Crowdlearning 170 Genome Editing
141 Marketing and Advertising
102 Microdrones and Drones Used In 117 Digital Frailty 170 Biological DVRs
Dangerous/Hard-To-Reach Areas Technologies
119 Radical Transparency 142 VR For Marketing 170 Human DNA-Powered Devices
102 Drone Swarms
120 Limited-Edition News Products 143 AI For the Creative Process 170 Using Our DNA As Hard Drives
102 Clandestine, Disappearing Drones
121 One-To-Few Publishing 144 FOBO 170 Nanobot Nurses
170 Custom-Crafted Microbes

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 006


171 Precision Medicine Just For You 204 Social Payments
184 Smart Homes and the 235 About the Authors
171 Running Out Of Space For Internet Of Things 205 Cryptocurrencies
Genome Storage 236 About The Future Today
186 Privacy Laws, Net Neutrality 207 Blockchain
171 Genome Editing Research Clashes and Hackers Threaten the Institute
208 Open Banking
With Public Opinion Internet of Things
209 Financial Inclusion and 237 Disclaimer
171 Nootropics and Neuroenhancers 188 Searching The Internet of
Targeting the Underbanked
Physical Things
172 Microbiome Extinction
189 Intelligent Cameras
238 The Signals Are Talking
173 Building A Comprehensive Human 210 Smart Cities
Cell Atlas 190 Our Appliances Will Have 213 Smart City Initiatives 239 Companies, Organizations,
Digital Assistants
174 Biointerfaces Laminated Onto 214 Faster Connectivity With 5G Universities and
Our Skin 190 Smart Appliance Screens Government Agencies
Are Coming 215 City-Level Cyber Security
Mentioned In Our
175 Health Technologies 190 Home Appliances Will Talk 2018 Trends Report.
and Wearables To Each Other 217 Government And
190 Wireless Kitchens
Technology Policy 247 Contact Information
177 Patient-Generated Health Data
218 Splinternets
178 Touch-Sensitive Prosthetics 191 Smarter Home Security
219 Election Security
179 Smart Thread 191 Smart Remotes
220 Anti-Trust Lawsuits
180 Bioelectronics 191 Smart Mirrors
221 Old Laws Clash With
181 Wearables 191 Our Smarthomes Become
New Technology
Weaponized
181 Smart Glasses 223 Digital Caliphate
181 Hearables / Earables 192 Workplace and Learning 224 Governments Asking Tech
181 Head Mounted Displays Technologies Companies To Help Fight the
Spread of Misinformation,
181 Smart Bras 193 Universal Basic Income (UBI)
Propaganda and Terrorism
182 Smart Helmets 194 AI in Hiring
225 Overhauling Government
182 Smart Gloves 196 Productivity Bots Tech Infrastructure
182 Tattooables 198 Adaptive Learning
227 Space
183 Thinkables 199 Nanodegrees
228 Commercial Space Flight
183 Ingestables 200 Sharing Economy & Lendership
229 CubeSats
183 Smart Fabrics
201 Financial Technologies 230 Asteroid Mining For Resources
183 Smartwatches
and Cryptocurrencies 231 Space Exploration
183 Smart Shoes 202 E-Resident and Location-
183 Wireless Body Area Networks Independent Digital Business 232 Ten Weak Signals For 2019
Identity Cards

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 007


EXECUTIVE KEY
SUMMARY TAKEAWAYS
The Future Today Institute’s 2018 Tech Trends Report is 2018 marks the beginning of the end of traditional smartphones.
in its 11th year with more than 6 million cumulative views. During the next decade, we will start to transition to the next era
of computing and connected devices, which we will wear and will
With 225 emerging trends worth following, this is our big- command using our voices, gesture and touch. The transition from
gest Tech Trends Report yet. To us, this didn’t come as a smartphones to smart wearables and invisible interfaces—earbuds
surprise. Technology begets technology. We are witness- that have biometric sensors and speakers; rings and bracelets
ing an explosion in slow motion. that sense motion; smart glasses that record and display informa-
tion—will forever change how we experience the physical world. This
doesn’t necessarily signal a post-screen existence. We anticipate
foldable and scrollable screens for portable, longer-form reading
and writing.

Everyone should be paying extremely close attention to China. The


Chinese government is investing hundreds of billions of dollars into
artificial intelligence, genomic editing, green technologies and re-
newable energy sources, smart farming systems and space explo-
ration. To be fair, China has previously failed to deliver on similar
bold investments and promises. This time around could be different,
given the industrial policies already in play and Chinese-led advance-
ments we’re seeing across AI, genomics and renewables. China has
been quietly and strategically acquiring U.S. tech secrets via joint
ventures and minority investment structures, giving it a tactical
business, geopolitical and military advantage over not just the U.S.,
but also Japan, Korea, and the E.U. No other country’s government is
racing towards the future with as much force and velocity as China,
and this could signal big shifts in the balance of geopolitical power in
the years ahead.
The artificial intelligence ecosystem—flooded with capital, hungry Decentralization emerged as a key theme for 2018. Citing security
for commercial applications, and yet polluted with widespread, mis- concerns and infringements on intellectual property, some demo-
placed optimism and fear—will continue to swell. You will see the AI cratic governments around the world are restricting internet ac-
ecosystem represented in many of the trends in this report, and it is cess and are banning certain content, effectively creating dozens of
vitally important that all decision-makers and teams familiarize them- “splinternets.” Sweeping changes to data privacy regulations, called
selves with current and emerging AI trends. the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR), will take affect in
the European Union this year. China is cracking down on virtual per-
Policymakers won’t be prepared to deal with new challenges that sonal networks, while the U.S. debates whether or not to allow ISPs
arise from emerging science and technology. The tension between to collect and sell subscriber data, meter access and throttle con-
privacy and security will increase. As a result, we are likely to see nection speeds. All of this points to a new emphasis ways to circum-
regulations, rules and legislation that are either too restrictive or vent traditional ISPs using private and peer-to-peer networks. How
don’t acknowledge that science and tech are in constant motion. This all of this plays out once our connected homes, cars, and wearables
could mean big problems for tech giants and startups alike—not to go online is still unclear.
mention everyday citizens all around the world.
Consolidation is also a key theme for 2018. News brands, broad-
In 2018, a critical mass of emerging technologies will converge. cast spectrum, and artificial intelligence startups will continue to be
Every organization must look for connections between trends, merged with and acquired by relatively few corporations. Pending
rather than following individual trends themselves. For example, legislation and policy in the U.S., E.U. and in parts of Asia could fur-
why should a company like Walmart pay attention to the future of ther concentrate the power among a small cadre of information and
CRISPR-Cas9? Americans spend more than $550 billion on grocer- technology organizations in the year ahead.
ies each year, and in many communities, Walmart now doubles as
the local grocery store. We know that extreme weather events will
negatively impact farming and the supply chain. We also know that
genome editing could yield drought-resistant, high-yield plants that
require very little growing space or direct care. Walmart could be-
come our primary source of affordable food in the future—or it could
find itself disrupted by an agri-tech startup.

009
SIGNALS FOR
March June
More than 100,000 techies, AI and autonomous vehicle
filmmakers, journalists, game researchers from around the

2018 designers and musicians gath-


er in Austin, Texas for the
annual South By Southwest
festival.
world gather for several sym-
posia in Stuttgart, Germany to
debate and discuss the future
of self-driving vehicles.
Your Guide To The Year Ahead
April July
Sovereign wealth fund manag- Tech, media and business mo-
ers, government leaders and guls trek to Sun Valley, Idaho
business tycoons head to Los for Allen & Co.’s annual confab.
Angeles for the Milken Insti-
tute’s Global Conference. 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz,
Austria’s right-leaning chan-
cellor whose Austrian People’s
May Party has aligned with former
Sweeping changes to data members of the Nazi party,
privacy regulations take affect becomes the president of the
in the European Union. Dubbed European Union. (It’s Austria’s
the General Data Protection turn to hold the position.)
Regulation (or GDPR), the new
rules affect how companies can August
collect and use customer data.
Those who don’t comply will The World Congress of Philoso-
face hefty fines and litigation. phy, held every five years since
The GDPR applies to everyone 1900, begins proceedings in
who uses customer data, re- Beijing, China. The theme for
gardless of where in the world 2018 seems particularly omi-
you are. nous: “Learning To Be Human.”

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 010


September November December February 2019
2018 is the year of the electric NASA’s InSight robotic lander Commercial spaceflight heads The Mobile World Congress will
vehicle. This month, an all-elec- is expected to touch down on into higher orbit, as SpaceX be held in Europe.
tric Mini, whose parent compa- Mars and begin drilling. transports the first two pri-
ny is BMW AG, will roll off the vate citizens around the moon
factory floor and into car deal- The U.S. holds its midterm elec- aboard its Falcon Heavy rocket.
erships. By then, Nissan will tions on November 6th, with a
have launched its Leaf, joining record number of women run- Finland’s two-year universal
Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet ning for office, all 435 seats in basic income experiment ex-
Bolt EV with affordable EVs in the House of Representatives pires, with findings to be re-
the market. and a third of the Senate is up leased in 2019.
for grabs—not to mention the
The 73rd session of the U.N. departure of several high-pro- January 2019
General Assembly will draw file GOP officials announcing
Newly-elected congresswom-
thousands of high-level govern- their retirement from politics.
en and men begin their work in
ment leaders to New York City
Saudi Arabia says that it will Washington, D.C.
for a week of talks.
sell a stake in Aramco, its
The World Economic Forum
massive state oil company,
October towards the end of 2018. It’s a
Annual Meeting will be held Jan-
The EU and UK have promised uary 22-25 in Davos-Klosters,
long-term strategy to help the
to complete their Brexit ne- Switzerland.
kingdom diversify in a post-pet-
gotiations and final deal by rochemical economy. The Consumer Electronics
October, so that the European Show, the world’s largest con-
Parliament has enough time to vention for electronics and dig-
review and approve the terms ital media, will be held January
before the U.K. officially leaves 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
on March 29, 2019.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 011


METHODOLOGY The Future Today Institute’s forecasting model uses quantita-
tive and qualitative data to identify weak signals and map their
trajectories into tech trends. Our six steps alternate between
Forecasting Methodology: The Six-Step Funnel broad and narrow scopes, which include: identifying weak signals
at the fringe, spotting patterns, interrogating trend candidates,
calculating a trend’s velocity, writing scenarios and finally pres-
sure-testing strategies and recommendations.
01
Make observations and harness
Listen for weak signals at the fringe information from the fringes of society
or a particular research area.

02
Uncover hidden patterns by categorizing
information from the fringe:
Use CIPHER to see patterns
contradictions, infections, practices,
hacks, extremes, rarities.
03
Ask the right questions to determine
Ask the right questions whether a pattern is really a trend.

04
Ensure that the timing is right for the
Calculate the ETA trend and for your organiztion.
05
Scenarios inform the strategy you will
Write scenarios create to take the necessary action on
a trend.
06
Are your scenarios comprehensive
Pressure-test enough? Is your level of confidence
the future justified? Is the strategy you’re taking
the right one for the future?

Answers What is the future of X?

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 012


HOW TO USE Our 2018 Trend Report reveals the strategic
opportunities — and impending challenges —

THE 2018 confronting your organization in the coming year.


The Future Today Institute’s 11th annual Tech Trends Report

TECH TRENDS prepares staff, managers, executives, funders and startups for
the year ahead, so that they are better positioned to see tech-
nological disruption before it fully erupts. We encourage you to

REPORT IN YOUR use our report as a tool to identify change and to learn how new
technologies might impact your organization in the near-future.

ORGANIZATION
The Report is also a good source of potential new collaborators
and partners. Most importantly, use our report as a jumping off
point for deeper strategic planning.

Explaining why these trends matter.


Rather than simply offering an overview of the trends that will
matter in 2018, this report takes the additional step of explaining
why and how these trends will impact your organization. In some
cases, we have also included plausible scenarios, to help you and
your team envision the potential outcomes of these trends during
the next 12 months.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 013


DEPARTMENTS
AND OFFICES
THAT USE THE
TREND REPORT
Our annual tech trend reports have garnered more than six million
cumulative views. It is widely read in a variety of organizations
worldwide, especially by the following departments and offices:

• Executive Management • Policymaking


• Strategic Planning • Innovation
• R&D • Business Development
• Foresight • Risk Management
• Board of Directors/ • Product Design
Board Management
• Marketing
• Strategic/
• Workforce Development/
Venture Investment
Education

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 014


HOW TO USE OUR REPORT
Each trend offers six important pieces of
05 06
information for your organization.
The Future Today Institute’s 11th annual Tech Trends Report
prepares staff, managers, executives, funders and startups for
the year ahead, so that they are better positioned to see tech-
nological disruption before it fully erupts. We encourage you to 01 03
use our report as a tool to identify change and to learn how new
technologies might impact your organization in the near-future.
02 04
The Report is also a good source of potential new collaborators
and partners. Most importantly, use our report as a jumping off
point for deeper strategic planning.

We recommend using our 2018 Tech Trends Report as part


of a formalized process to evaluate disruptive technologies
throughout the year.

01 Key Insight 03 What’s Next 05 Years On The List 06 Action Meter


Short, easy explanation of this What this trend means for you We’ve noted how many years FTI An easy-to-read graphic
trend so that you can internalize and your organization in the has been tracking the trend in indicating where the trend is
it and discuss with your coming year. our annual Tech Trends Report, along its trajectory.
colleagues. which began publication 11 It tells you whether the trend
years ago. This measurement is needs monitoring, should inform
04 Watchlist
an indication of how the trend is your strategy, or requires
02 Examples These are the organizations evolving. action.
Real-world use cases, some of and stakeholders most deeply
which will sound familiar. involved in this trend.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 015


TEN IMPORTANT
QUESTIONS
How to relate these trends to the work you do,
and to your organization’s growth, in 2018
Of the organizations we advise, we’ve seen the most success
from those who form a cross-functional team to review our
Tech Trend Report.

The best way to make practical use of this year’s report is to


ask and answer some fundamental questions about what these
trends mean to your organization in the near-future. Don’t dis-
count a trend simply because at first glance it doesn’t seem to
connect directly to you or your field. As you’ll see in the sce-
narios that follow, often it’s those technologies in completely
unrelated fields that cause the most disruption.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 016


10
01 How does this trend impact our industry and all of
its parts?
06 Does this trend indicate a future disruption to the
established roles and responsibilities within our
organization? If so, how do we reverse-engineer that
disruption and deal with it in the present day?
02 How might global events — politics, climate change,
economic shifts – impact this trend, and as a result, our
organization? 07 How are the organizations in adjacent spaces addressing
this trend? What can we learn from their failures and
best practices?
03 What are the second, third, fourth, and fifth-order
implications of this trend as it evolves, both in our
organization and our industry? 08 How will the wants, needs and expectations of our
consumers/ constituents change as a result of this
trend?
04 What are the consequences if our organization fails
to take action on this trend?
09 Where does this trend create potential new partners
or collaborators for us?
05 Does this trend signal emerging disruption to our
traditional business practices and cherished beliefs?
10 How does this trend inspire us to think about the future
of our organization?

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 017


WHEN, EXACTLY,
TO TAKE ACTION
ON TECH TRENDS
We encourage you to use our Tech Trends Report as the ba-
sis for strategic meetings — as long as you commit to taking
incremental action right away. Many organizations prefer to
take a “wait and see” approach after seeing new research,
and that’s a mistake. Your team must take some action, even
if it’s small, to build momentum so that you may confront the
future on your own terms.

The Future Today Institute created a simple framework for our


clients to help them continually monitor technology as it moves
from the fringe to the mainstream. Incremental actions position
an organization to make smarter strategic decisions in advance,
rather than trying to play catch-up after a disastrous event.

This is our framework, and we encourage your organization to


use it as you read through our report.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 018


High

Learning Stage Listening For Signals


As we research and test this new At The Horizon
technology, what can we learn and apply to Emerging but bona-fide technology and
our organization? What must we do now to trends; uncertain trajectory and timeline;
keep ahead of the trend? ecosystem forming; market forming.
Uncertainty About A Technology Sample Action Sample Action
Devote an all-hands day to investigating Assign one member of your team to be the
this trend. Invite people from all resident expert on the tech trend. Have
departments within your organization to them send notes to the rest of the team on
participate. Bring in outsiders for added a regular basis.
expertise.
“Can we do it”

Capabilities Building Stage Developing Ideas Stage


How can we work to better understand the How can we develop a new product or
emerging tech and develop the expertise service that leverages the technology, even
to act? How do our key stakeholders and as the market is still evolving? How can we
constituents see this trend, and what are assess possible risk and implications in a
their expectations of us? meaningful way?

Sample Action Sample Action


Develop and ship a survey to assess how Facilitate a scenarios workshop, with a
well positioned your current team is to goal of identifying probable and plausible
address this trend. Determine whether outcomes.
training is necessary.

Low

Low Uncertainty About Technology in the Market High

“Does the market want it”

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 019


OUR TRENDS
AREN’T TRENDY
Before the description of each trend, you’ll see how many years it The Four Laws of Technology Trends
has been on our list. The trends that futurists research are never
All technology trends share a set of four conspicuous,
shiny, flashes in the pan. As you’ll see, the trends in our report
universal features.
are not trendy. (At least, not intentionally.) Instead, they emerge
from weak signals at the fringe and reveal changes afoot. Real • Tech trends are the convergence of weak signals
trends tend to take shape over many years. We use trends to help from the fringe.
us see potential opportunities, challenges and plausible scenarios
for next-order impacts. • Tech trends are driven by basic human needs.

• Tech trends evolve as they emerge.


A trend is a new manifestation of
• Tech trends are timely, but they persist.
sustained change within an industry
sector, society, or human behavior. At any moment, there are thousands of small shifts in tech-
nology—developments on the fringes of science and society—
Fundamentally, a trend leverages our basic human needs and that will impact our lives in the future.
desires in a meaningful way, and it aligns human nature with
breakthrough technologies and inventions. The Four Laws of Technology Trends were first
published in The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s
Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream, by Amy Webb.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 020


THE 10 SOURCES To understand the future of one thing, you must
consider the future of all things. Otherwise,

OF ALL FUTURE you’re essentially looking at the world through


a pinhole.

CHANGE Historically, the sources of all future change tend to come from
the 10 primary sources you see below. Technological advancement
influences future changes and disruption across fields and indus-
tries. When FTI researches tech trends, we do so using the prism
of these sources.

01 02 03 04 05

WEALTH EDUCATION GOVERNMENT POLITICS PUBLIC HEALTH


DISTRIBUTION

MEDIA
(our individual and collective
DEMOGRAPHY ECONOMY ENVIRONMENT JOURNALISM use of social networks,
chat services, digital video
channels, photo sharing
services and so on)

06 07 08 09 10

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 021


Continuous Learning
ADVERTISING, MARKETING AND PUBLIC Multitask Learning
RELATIONS
Adversarial Machine Learning
Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Faceprints
The AI Cloud
Voiceprints
Proprietary, Homegrown AI
WiFi Tracking
Languages
Gesture Recognition
AI Chipsets

THE MOST
Personality and Character
Cognitive Computing
Recognition
Bots
Ambient Proximity
Marketplaces For AI Algorithms

IMPORTANT
Hidden Bias in Recognition
More Consolidation in AI Technologies
Consumer-Grade AI Applications Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic

TECH TRENDS
Debut Budgets
Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous DDoS Attacks Will Increase
A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces Ransomware As A Service

FOR YOUR Deep Linking Everywhere


Making AI Explain Itself
Hacktivism On The Rise
Third-Party Verified Identities

INDUSTRY AND
Accountability and Trust Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants
Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems Personal and One-To-Few Networks
China’s AI Boom Organizational Doxing

ORGANIZATION
Real-Time Machine Learning Digital Self-Incrimination
Natural Language Understanding Natural Language Generation for
Machine Reading Comprehension Reading Levels

We’ve curated lists to help you quickly identify the most Natural Language Generation Computational Photography

important tech trends that will matter to your team, Generative Algorithms For Voice, Computational Journalism
Sound and Video I-Teams For Algorithms and Data
organization and industry in 2018. For your convenience,
Image Completion Voice Interfaces For News and Books
industries are listed alphabetically along with their corre-
Predictive Machine Vision Proximity News
sponding key themes and trends.
Much Faster Deep Learning Crowdlearning
Reinforcement Learning and Digital Frailty
Hierarchical RL
Radical Transparency

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 022


Limited-Edition News Products Hearables / Earables Genome Editing Research Clashes Much Faster Deep Learning
One-To-Few Publishing Head Mounted Displays With Public Opinion Reinforcement Learning and
Notification Layer (A Tragedy of the Smartwatches Wearables Hierarchical RL
Commons) Privacy Laws Smart Glasses Continuous Learning
Transparency in Metrics Net Neutrality Hearables / Earables Multitask Learning
Real-Time Fact Checking Internet of Things Head Mounted Displays Adversarial Machine Learning
Offline Is The New Online Intelligent Cameras Smartwatches Faceprints
Audio Search Engines Our Appliances Will Have Digital Privacy Laws Voiceprints
Synthetic Data Sets Assistants Net Neutrality WiFi Tracking
Connected TVs Smart Appliance Screens Are Coming Internet of Things Gesture Recognition
Decentralizing The Web Home Appliances Will Talk To Each Searching The Internet of Physical Compliance Challenges and
Streaming Social Video Other Things Unrealistic Budgets
New Video and Audio Story Formats AI in Hiring Universal Basic Income DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Media Consolidation Productivity Bots Nanodegrees Ransomware As A Service
Social Tweaks To Social Network Adaptive Learning Sharing Economy & Lendership Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community
Algorithms Splinternets CubeSats Grows
The First Amendment in a Digital Age Election Security Intelligent Cameras New Infrastructure Targets
Holograms Old Laws Clash With New Technology The AI Cloud Hacktivism On The Rise
Virtual Reality Proprietary, Homegrown AI Third-Party Verified Identities
360-degree Video Languages Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Augmented Reality AGRICULTURE AI Chipsets Backdoors
Pay Special Attention To These Trends Cognitive Computing Remote Kill Switches
Mixed Reality Arcades
MMOMRGs Indoor and Outdoor Plant Factories Bots Strange Computer Glitches Will
and Microfarms Consumer-Grade AI Applications Keep Happening
VR For Marketing
Deep Learning For Farming and Food Debut New Open Source App
AI For the Creative Process Vulnerabilities
Recognition Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous
FOBO Right To Eavesdrop/ Be
Smart Farms Deep Linking Everywhere
Retail APIs Eavesdropped On
Terraforming China’s AI Boom
Digital Associates Drone Surveillance
Cultivated Food and Beverage Real-Time Machine Learning
Patient-Generated Health Data Self-Assembling Robots
Genome Editing Natural Language Understanding
Wearables Robot Compilers
Biological DVRs Machine Reading Comprehension
Smart Glasses Collaborative Robotics
Custom-Crafted Microbes Predictive Machine Vision

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 023


Smart Dust Anthropocene Reinforcement Learning and The General Data Protection
3D Printing Extreme Weather Events Hierarchical RL Regulation Takes Effect
Flying Taxis Human Migration Patterns Shift Continuous Learning Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
Multitask Learning On
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Geoengineering
Adversarial Machine Learning Organizational Doxing
Drone Delivery
Faceprints Eye In The Sky
Drone Lanes
ARCHITECTURE, CITY MANAGEMENT Voiceprints Data Retention Policies
Personal Home Drone Surveillance
AND URBAN PLANNING WiFi Tracking Encryption Management
Sense And Avoid Technology
Pay Special Attention To These Trends Self-Assembling Robots
Microdrones Gesture Recognition
The AI Cloud Ambient Proximity Robot Compilers
Drone Swarms
Proprietary, Homegrown AI Hidden Bias in Recognition Smart Dust
Clandestine, Disappearing Drones
Languages Technologies 3D Printing
Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities
AI Chipsets Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Flying Taxis
Around the U.S.
Cognitive Computing Budgets Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
Armchair AV Mechanics
Bots DDoS Attacks Will Increase Drone Delivery
Assisted Driving Before Full
Automation Marketplaces For AI Algorithms Ransomware As A Service Drone Lanes
Adaptive Driving Systems More Consolidation in AI Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Personal Home Drone Surveillance
Grows
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Consumer-Grade AI Applications Sense And Avoid Technology
Communications Debut New Infrastructure Targets
Microdrones
Electric Vehicles Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous Hacktivism On The Rise
Drone Swarms
Cars as Interfaces A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces Third-Party Verified Identities
Clandestine, Disappearing Drones
Solar Highways Deep Linking Everywhere Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities
Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Making AI Explain Itself Backdoors Around the U.S.
Flying Cars Accountability and Trust Remote Kill Switches Armchair AV Mechanics
Supersonic Flights Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems AI-Powered Automated Hacking Assisted Driving Before Full
Autonomous Ships China’s AI Boom Offensive Government Hacking Automation
Augmented Reality Real-Time Machine Learning More Cyber Mission Forces in the Adaptive Driving Systems
Field Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V)
Green Tech Natural Language Understanding
Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Communications
Charging Stations Machine Reading Comprehension
Happening Electric Vehicles
Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and Predictive Machine Vision
New Open Source App Vulnerabilities Cars as Interfaces
Macro Grids Much Faster Deep Learning
Selfie Security Using Faceprints Solar Highways
Better Batteries

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 024


Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Smart Remotes Real-Time Machine Learning Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants
Flying Cars Smart Mirrors Natural Language Understanding Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go
Supersonic Flights Our Smarthomes Become Weaponized Machine Reading Comprehension Commercial
Autonomous Ships Sharing Economy & Lendership Natural Language Generation Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Holograms Blockchain Generative Algorithms For Voice, Backdoors
Virtual Reality Smart City Initiatives Sound and Video Remote Kill Switches
360-degree Video Faster Connectivity With 5G Image Completion AI-Powered Automated Hacking
Augmented Reality City-Level Cyber Security Predictive Machine Vision Offensive Government Hacking
AI For the Creative Process Splinternets Much Faster Deep Learning Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep
Reinforcement Learning and Happening
Green Tech CubeSats
Hierarchical RL New Open Source App Vulnerabilities
Charging Stations
Continuous Learning Selfie Security Using Faceprints
Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and
Macro Grids AUTO MANUFACTURERS Multitask Learning Bounty Programs
Better Batteries Pay Special Attention To These Trends Adversarial Machine Learning The General Data Protection Regulation
Faceprints Takes Effect
Green Tech The AI Cloud
Voiceprints Organizational Doxing
Charging Stations Proprietary, Homegrown AI
WiFi Tracking Differential Privacy
Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and Languages
Macro Grids Gesture Recognition Digital Self-Incrimination
AI Chipsets
Better Batteries Personality and Character Data Retention Policies
Cognitive Computing
Indoor and Outdoor Plant Factories Recognition Encryption Management
Bots
and Microfarms Ambient Proximity Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric
Marketplaces For AI Algorithms
Terraforming Hidden Bias in Recognition Data?
More Consolidation in AI
Privacy Laws Technologies Global Data Scientist Shortages
Consumer-Grade AI Applications
Net Neutrality Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Self-Assembling Robots
Debut
Budgets Robot Compilers
Internet of Things Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous
DDoS Attacks Will Increase Molecular Robotics
Our Appliances Will Have Digital A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces
Assistants Ransomware As A Service Collaborative Robotics
Deep Linking Everywhere
Smart Appliance Screens Are Coming Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Ethical Manufacturing
Making AI Explain Itself Grows
Home Appliances Will Talk To Each Soft Robotics
Accountability and Trust New Infrastructure Targets
Other Human-Machine Interfaces
Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems Hacktivism On The Rise
Wireless Kitchens Smart Dust
China’s AI Boom Third-Party Verified Identities
Smarter Home Security Personal Robots and Butlers

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 025


Robot Abuse Extreme Weather Events Social Payments Generative Algorithms For Voice,
3D Printing Human Migration Patterns Shift Cryptocurrencies Sound and Video
Flying Taxis Anthropocene Blockchain Image Completion
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Extreme Weather Events Open Banking Predictive Machine Vision
Drone Delivery Human Migration Patterns Shift Universal Basic Income Much Faster Deep Learning
Drone Lanes Smart Helmets AI in Hiring Reinforcement Learning and
Hierarchical RL
Personal Home Drone Surveillance Smart Gloves Productivity Bots
Continuous Learning
Sense And Avoid Technology Smartwatches Adaptive Learning
Multitask Learning
Microdrones Privacy Laws Nanodegrees
Adversarial Machine Learning
Drone Swarms Net Neutrality Sharing Economy & Lendership
Faceprints
Clandestine, Disappearing Drones Internet of Things The AI Cloud
Voiceprints
Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities Searching The Internet of Physical Proprietary, Homegrown AI
Around the U.S. Things Languages WiFi Tracking
Armchair AV Mechanics Intelligent Cameras AI Chipsets Gesture Recognition
Assisted Driving Before Full Smart Mirrors Cognitive Computing Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
Automation Budgets
AI in Hiring Bots
Adaptive Driving Systems DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Productivity Bots Marketplaces For AI Algorithms
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Ransomware As A Service
Adaptive Learning More Consolidation in AI
Communications Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community
Nanodegrees Consumer-Grade AI Applications Grows
Electric Vehicles Debut
Sharing Economy & Lendership New Infrastructure Targets
Cars as Interfaces Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous
Smart City Initiatives Hacktivism On The Rise
Solar Highways A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces
Faster Connectivity With 5G Third-Party Verified Identities
Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Deep Linking Everywhere
Splinternets Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants
Flying Cars Making AI Explain Itself
Old Laws Clash With New Technology Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go
Supersonic Flights Accountability and Trust
“Unhackable” Computers Commercial
Autonomous Ships Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems
Brain-To-Vehicle Interfaces Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Green Tech China’s AI Boom Backdoors
Charging Stations Real-Time Machine Learning Remote Kill Switches
Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and BANKING Natural Language Understanding
Macro Grids AI-Powered Automated Hacking
Pay Special Attention To These Trends Machine Reading Comprehension
Better Batteries Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep
E-Resident and Location-Independent Natural Language Generation Happening
Anthropocene
Digital Business Identity Cards

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 026


Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By Marketplaces For AI Algorithms Hidden Bias in Recognition Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric
Cryptocurrencies More Consolidation in AI Technologies Data?
New Open Source App Vulnerabilities Consumer-Grade AI Applications Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Global Data Scientist Shortages
Selfie Security Using Faceprints Debut Budgets Personal Robots and Butlers
Bounty Programs Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous DDoS Attacks Will Increase Robot Abuse
The General Data Protection A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces Ransomware As A Service Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities
Regulation Takes Effect Deep Linking Everywhere Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Around the U.S.
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped Grows Armchair AV Mechanics
Making AI Explain Itself
On New Infrastructure Targets Natural Language Generation for
Accountability and Trust
Organizational Doxing Hacktivism On The Rise Reading Levels
Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems
Anonymity Third-Party Verified Identities Computational Photography
China’s AI Boom
Authenticity Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants The First Amendment in a Digital Age
Real-Time Machine Learning
Differential Privacy Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise Virtual Reality
Natural Language Understanding
Data Retention Policies Backdoors 360-degree Video
Machine Reading Comprehension
Encryption Management Remote Kill Switches Augmented Reality
Natural Language Generation
Global Data Scientist Shortages Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep VR For Marketing
Generative Algorithms For Voice, Happening
Privacy Laws Sound and Video AI For the Creative Process
Net Neutrality New Open Source App Vulnerabilities FOBO
Image Completion
Faster Connectivity With 5G The General Data Protection Regulation Extreme Weather Events
Predictive Machine Vision Takes Effect
Quantum Computers Much Faster Deep Learning Human Migration Patterns Shift
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
“Unhackable” Computers Reinforcement Learning and On Privacy Laws
Alt-Cryptocurrencies Hierarchical RL Defining What Constitutes Online Net Neutrality
Continuous Learning Harassment Internet of Things
Multitask Learning Personal and One-To-Few Networks Searching The Internet of Physical
COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES AND SCHOOLS Adversarial Machine Learning Leaking Things
Pay Special Attention To These Trends Intelligent Cameras
Faceprints Organizational Doxing
The AI Cloud Voiceprints Anonymity AI in Hiring
Proprietary, Homegrown AI WiFi Tracking Authenticity Productivity Bots
Languages Adaptive Learning
Gesture Recognition Differential Privacy
AI Chipsets Nanodegrees
Personality and Character Revenge Porn
Cognitive Computing Recognition Sharing Economy & Lendership
Data Retention Policies
Bots Ambient Proximity Blockchain
Encryption Management

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 027


Smart City Initiatives Solar Highways Proprietary, Homegrown AI Third-Party Verified Identities
Faster Connectivity With 5G Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Languages Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Splinternets Flying Cars AI Chipsets Backdoors
Supersonic Flights Cognitive Computing Remote Kill Switches
Autonomous Ships Bots Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep
CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING TRADES Augmented Reality Consumer-Grade AI Applications Happening
Pay Special Attention To These Trends Debut New Open Source App Vulnerabilities
Green Tech
Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
Drone Surveillance Charging Stations
Deep Linking Everywhere On
Self-Assembling Robots Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and
Macro Grids China’s AI Boom
Robot Compilers
Better Batteries Real-Time Machine Learning
Collaborative Robotics
Natural Language Understanding CORPORATE BOARDS AND DIRECTORS
Smart Dust Anthropocene
Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Extreme Weather Events Machine Reading Comprehension
3D Printing
Predictive Machine Vision The AI Cloud
Flying Taxis Human Migration Patterns Shift
Much Faster Deep Learning More Consolidation in AI
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Geoengineering
Reinforcement Learning and Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous
Drone Delivery Wearables
Hierarchical RL Making AI Explain Itself
Drone Lanes Smart Glasses
Continuous Learning Accountability and Trust
Personal Home Drone Surveillance Hearables / Earables
Multitask Learning Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems
Sense And Avoid Technology Head Mounted Displays
Adversarial Machine Learning China’s AI Boom
Microdrones Smartwatches
Faceprints Hidden Bias in Recognition
Drone Swarms Privacy Laws
Voiceprints Technologies
Clandestine, Disappearing Drones Net Neutrality
WiFi Tracking Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities Internet of Things Budgets
Gesture Recognition
Around the U.S. Searching The Internet of Physical New Infrastructure Targets
Things Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
Armchair AV Mechanics Hacktivism On The Rise
Budgets
Assisted Driving Before Full Universal Basic Income
DDoS Attacks Will Increase Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep
Automation Nanodegrees Happening
Ransomware As A Service
Adaptive Driving Systems Sharing Economy & Lendership The General Data Protection Regulation
Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) CubeSats Takes Effect
Grows
Communications Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
Intelligent Cameras New Infrastructure Targets
Electric Vehicles On
The AI Cloud Hacktivism On The Rise
Cars as Interfaces

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 028


Defining What Constitutes Online Governments Asking Tech Companies New Open Source App Vulnerabilities Blockchain
Harassment To Help Fight the Spread of Selfie Security Using Faceprints Faster Connectivity With 5G
Organizational Doxing Misinformation, Propaganda and
Terrorism The General Data Protection Regulation
Data Retention Policies Takes Effect
Quantum Computers
Encryption Management Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped DEFENSE AND NATIONAL SECURITY
“Unhackable” Computers On
Global Data Scientist Shortages Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Ethical Manufacturing Leaking
The AI Cloud
I-Teams For Algorithms and Data Blocking the Ad Blockers
CPG AND RETAIL Proprietary, Homegrown AI Languages
Digital Frailty Organizational Doxing
Pay Special Attention To These Trends AI Chipsets
Media Consolidation Differential Privacy
Artificial Intelligence Cognitive Computing
Green Tech Data Retention Policies
Faceprints Bots
Anthropocene Encryption Management
Voiceprints Marketplaces For AI Algorithms
Extreme Weather Events Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric
WiFi Tracking More Consolidation in AI
Data?
Human Migration Patterns Shift Consumer-Grade AI Applications
Gesture Recognition Ethical Manufacturing
Genome Editing Debut
Personality and Character 3D Printing
Privacy Laws Recognition Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous
VR For Marketing
Net Neutrality Ambient Proximity A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces
AI For the Creative Process
Universal Basic Income Hidden Bias in Recognition Deep Linking Everywhere
FOBO
AI in Hiring Technologies Making AI Explain Itself
Retail APIs
Sharing Economy & Lendership Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Accountability and Trust
Budgets Digital Associates
E-Resident and Location-Independent Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems
Digital Business Identity Cards DDoS Attacks Will Increase Anthropocene
China’s AI Boom
Social Payments Ransomware As A Service Extreme Weather Events
Real-Time Machine Learning
Cryptocurrencies Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Human Migration Patterns Shift
Natural Language Understanding
Grows Cultivated Food and Beverage
Blockchain Machine Reading Comprehension
Hacktivism On The Rise Wearables
Smart City Initiatives Natural Language Generation
Backdoors Privacy Laws
Faster Connectivity With 5G Generative Algorithms For Voice,
Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants Net Neutrality Sound and Video
Splinternets
Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Internet of Things Image Completion
Anti-Trust Lawsuits
Happening
Old Laws Clash With New Technology Sharing Economy & Lendership Predictive Machine Vision
Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By
Social Payments Much Faster Deep Learning
Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 029


Reinforcement Learning and Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Self-Assembling Robots Holograms
Hierarchical RL Happening Robot Compilers Virtual Reality
Continuous Learning Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By Molecular Robotics 360-degree Video
Multitask Learning Cryptocurrencies
Collaborative Robotics Augmented Reality
Adversarial Machine Learning New Open Source App Vulnerabilities
Soft Robotics MMOMRGs
Faceprints Selfie Security Using Faceprints
Human-Machine Interfaces Green Tech
Voiceprints Bounty Programs
Smart Dust Charging Stations
WiFi Tracking The General Data Protection Regulation
Takes Effect 3D Printing Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and
Gesture Recognition Flying Taxis Macro Grids
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
Personality and Character On Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Better Batteries
Recognition Anthropocene
Defining What Constitutes Online Drone Delivery
Ambient Proximity Harassment Extreme Weather Events
Drone Lanes
Hidden Bias in Recognition Drone Surveillance Human Migration Patterns Shift
Technologies Personal Home Drone Surveillance
Personal and One-To-Few Networks Sense And Avoid Technology Geoengineering
Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
Budgets Leaking Microdrones Genome Editing
DDoS Attacks Will Increase Blocking the Ad Blockers Drone Swarms Biological DVRs
Ransomware As A Service Organizational Doxing Clandestine, Disappearing Drones Human DNA-Powered Devices
Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Anonymity Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities Using Our DNA As Hard Drives
Grows Authenticity Around the U.S. Touch-Sensitive Prosthetics
New Infrastructure Targets Differential Privacy Armchair AV Mechanics Smart Thread
Hacktivism On The Rise Anti-Recognition Cammo and Glasses Assisted Driving Before Full Bioelectronics
Third-Party Verified Identities Digital Self-Incrimination Automation Wearables
Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants SWATting at Trolls Adaptive Driving Systems Smart Glasses
Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go Revenge Porn Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Hearables / Earables
Commercial Communications
Eye In The Sky Head Mounted Displays
Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise Electric Vehicles
Law Enforcement Using Recognition Smart Bras
Backdoors Algorithms To ID Faces Cars as Interfaces
Smart Helmets
Remote Kill Switches Data Retention Policies Solar Highways
Smart Gloves
AI-Powered Automated Hacking Encryption Management Autonomous Vehicle Legislation
Tattooables
Offensive Government Hacking Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric Flying Cars
Thinkables
More Cyber Mission Forces in the Data? Supersonic Flights
Ingestables
Field Global Data Scientist Shortages Autonomous Ships

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 030


Smartwatches Adaptive Camouflage Soft Robotics Hearables / Earables
Smart Shoes Robot Vision Human-Machine Interfaces Head Mounted Displays
Wireless Body Area Networks 3D Printing Smart Bras
Privacy Laws Virtual Reality Smart Helmets
Net Neutrality DOCTORS AND OTHER HEALTH Augmented Reality Smart Gloves
PROFESSIONALS
Internet of Things FOBO Tattooables
Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Searching The Internet of Physical Anthropocene Thinkables
Things The AI Cloud
Extreme Weather Events Ingestables
Intelligent Cameras More Consolidation in AI
Human Migration Patterns Shift Smart Fabrics
Nanodegrees China’s AI Boom
Genome Editing Smartwatches
Cryptocurrencies Real-Time Machine Learning
Biological DVRs Smart Shoes
Blockchain Natural Language Understanding
Human DNA-Powered Devices Wireless Body Area Networks
Faster Connectivity With 5G Machine Reading Comprehension
Using Our DNA As Hard Drives Privacy Laws
Splinternets Natural Language Generation
Nanobot Nurses Net Neutrality
Election Security Faceprints
Custom-Crafted Microbes Internet of Things
Old Laws Clash With New Technology Voiceprints
Precision Medicine Just For You Blockchain
Digital Caliphate WiFi Tracking
Running Out Of Space For Genome Faster Connectivity With 5G
Governments Asking Tech Companies Gesture Recognition Storage Old Laws Clash With New Technology
To Help Fight the Spread of Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Genome Editing Research Clashes With
Misinformation, Propaganda and Brain-To-Internet Interfaces
Budgets Public Opinion
Terrorism
DDoS Attacks Will Increase Nootropics and Neuroenhancers
Overhauling Government Tech
Ransomware As A Service Microbiome Extinction
Infrastructure DRUG MANUFACTURERS/
Hacktivism On The Rise Building A Comprehensive Human Cell PHARMACEUTICALS
Commercial Space Flight
The General Data Protection Regulation Atlas Pay Special Attention To These Trends
CubeSats
Takes Effect Biointerfaces Laminated Onto Our
Asteroid Mining For Resources The AI Cloud
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped Skin
Space Exploration On More Consolidation in AI
Patient-Generated Health Data
Quantum Computers Leaking China’s AI Boom
Touch-Sensitive Prosthetics
“Unhackable” Computers Organizational Doxing Real-Time Machine Learning
Smart Thread
Brain-To-Vehicle Interfaces Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric Natural Language Understanding
Bioelectronics
Brain-To-Internet Interfaces Data? Machine Reading Comprehension
Wearables
Alt-Cryptocurrencies Molecular Robotics Natural Language Generation
Smart Glasses

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 031


Faceprints Biological DVRs Smart Shoes Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go
Voiceprints Human DNA-Powered Devices Wireless Body Area Networks Commercial
WiFi Tracking Using Our DNA As Hard Drives Privacy Laws Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Gesture Recognition Nanobot Nurses Net Neutrality Backdoors
Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Custom-Crafted Microbes Internet of Things Remote Kill Switches
Budgets Precision Medicine Just For You Blockchain AI-Powered Automated Hacking
DDoS Attacks Will Increase Running Out Of Space For Genome Faster Connectivity With 5G Offensive Government Hacking
Ransomware As A Service Storage Old Laws Clash With New Technology Self-Assembling Robots
Hacktivism On The Rise Genome Editing Research Clashes With Brain-To-Internet Interfaces Robot Compilers
The General Data Protection Regulation Public Opinion 3D Printing
Takes Effect Nootropics and Neuroenhancers Flying Taxis
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped Microbiome Extinction ENERGY Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
On Building A Comprehensive Human Cell Pay Special Attention To These Trends Drone Delivery
Leaking Atlas
Artificial Intelligence Drone Lanes
Organizational Doxing Biointerfaces Laminated Onto Our
Skin Green Tech Personal Home Drone Surveillance
Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric
Data? Patient-Generated Health Data Charging Stations Sense And Avoid Technology
Molecular Robotics Touch-Sensitive Prosthetics Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and Microdrones
Macro Grids Drone Swarms
Soft Robotics Smart Thread
Better Batteries Clandestine, Disappearing Drones
Human-Machine Interfaces Bioelectronics
Anthropocene Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities
3D Printing Wearables
Extreme Weather Events Around the U.S.
Virtual Reality Smart Glasses
Human Migration Patterns Shift Armchair AV Mechanics
Augmented Reality Hearables / Earables
Geoengineering Assisted Driving Before Full
VR For Marketing Head Mounted Displays Automation
Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
AI For the Creative Process Smart Bras Adaptive Driving Systems
Budgets
FOBO Smart Helmets Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V)
DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Retail APIs Smart Gloves Communications
Ransomware As A Service
Digital Associates Tattooables Electric Vehicles
Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community
Anthropocene Thinkables Grows Cars as Interfaces
Extreme Weather Events Ingestables New Infrastructure Targets Solar Highways
Human Migration Patterns Shift Smart Fabrics Hacktivism On The Rise Autonomous Vehicle Legislation
Genome Editing Smartwatches Flying Cars

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 032


Supersonic Flights Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Languages Gesture Recognition
Autonomous Ships Happening AI Chipsets Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
The General Data Protection Regulation Cognitive Computing Budgets
Takes Effect DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Bots
ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA AND FILM Leaking Ransomware As A Service
Marketplaces For AI Algorithms
Pay Special Attention To These Trends Blocking the Ad Blockers Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community
More Consolidation in AI
Organizational Doxing Grows
Artificial Intelligence Consumer-Grade AI Applications
Data Retention Policies Debut New Infrastructure Targets
Gesture Recognition
Encryption Management Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous Hacktivism On The Rise
Offline Is The New Online
Wearables A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces Third-Party Verified Identities
Audio Search Engines
Smart Mirrors Deep Linking Everywhere Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants
Decentralizing The Web
Faster Connectivity With 5G Making AI Explain Itself Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go
Streaming Social Video
Splinternets Commercial
New Video and Audio Story Formats Accountability and Trust
Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Media Consolidation Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems
Backdoors
Social Tweaks To Social Network China’s AI Boom
Algorithms
FINANCE AND FINTECH Remote Kill Switches
Real-Time Machine Learning
Pay Special Attention To These Trends AI-Powered Automated Hacking
The First Amendment in a Digital Age Natural Language Understanding
Artificial Intelligence Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep
Holograms Machine Reading Comprehension Happening
Virtual Reality E-Resident and Location-Independent
Natural Language Generation Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By
Digital Business Identity Cards
360-degree Video Generative Algorithms For Voice, Cryptocurrencies
Social Payments
Augmented Reality Sound and Video New Open Source App Vulnerabilities
Cryptocurrencies
Mixed Reality Arcades Image Completion Selfie Security Using Faceprints
Blockchain
MMOMRGs Predictive Machine Vision Bounty Programs
Open Banking
AI For the Creative Process Much Faster Deep Learning The General Data Protection Regulation
Universal Basic Income
FOBO Reinforcement Learning and Takes Effect
AI in Hiring Hierarchical RL
Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
Budgets Productivity Bots Continuous Learning On
DDoS Attacks Will Increase Adaptive Learning Multitask Learning Organizational Doxing
Ransomware As A Service Nanodegrees Adversarial Machine Learning Anonymity
Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Sharing Economy & Lendership Faceprints Authenticity
Grows The AI Cloud Voiceprints Differential Privacy
Hacktivism On The Rise Proprietary, Homegrown AI WiFi Tracking Data Retention Policies

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 033


Encryption Management Voice Interfaces For News and Books Social Payments Cryptocurrencies
Global Data Scientist Shortages Crowdlearning Cryptocurrencies Blockchain
Privacy Laws Digital Frailty Blockchain Open Banking
Net Neutrality Radical Transparency Open Banking Universal Basic Income
Faster Connectivity With 5G Decentralizing The Web Smart City Initiatives AI in Hiring
Quantum Computers Streaming Social Video Faster Connectivity With 5G Productivity Bots
“Unhackable” Computers Media Consolidation Splinternets Adaptive Learning
Alt-Cryptocurrencies Social Tweaks To Social Network Old Laws Clash With New Technology Nanodegrees
Algorithms Sharing Economy & Lendership
The First Amendment in a Digital Age Privacy Laws
FOUNDATIONS, PHILANTHROPISTS Holograms GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS Net Neutrality
AND NONPROFITS Virtual Reality (NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL)
Internet of Things
Pay Special Attention To These Trends Pay Special Attention To These Trends
360-degree Video Our Smarthomes Become Weaponized
Artificial Intelligence Augmented Reality Artificial Intelligence
Patient-Generated Health Data
Hidden Bias in Recognition AI For the Creative Process Faster Connectivity With 5G
Genome Editing
Technologies Splinternets
FOBO Genome Editing Research Clashes With
Ethical Manufacturing Election Security
Anthropocene Public Opinion
Robot Abuse Anti-Trust Lawsuits
Extreme Weather Events Indoor and Outdoor Plant Factories
Flying Taxis Old Laws Clash With New Technology and Microfarms
Human Migration Patterns Shift
Drone Delivery Digital Caliphate Deep Learning For Farming and Food
Genome Editing
Drone Lanes Recognition
Wearables Governments Asking Tech Companies
Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities To Help Fight the Spread of Smart Farms
Privacy Laws
Around the U.S. Misinformation, Propaganda and Terraforming
Net Neutrality Terrorism
Electric Vehicles Cultivated Food and Beverage
Internet of Things Overhauling Government Tech
Cars as Interfaces Anthropocene
Universal Basic Income Infrastructure
Solar Highways Extreme Weather Events
AI in Hiring Commercial Space Flight
Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Human Migration Patterns Shift
Productivity Bots CubeSats
Natural Language Generation for Geoengineering
Reading Levels Adaptive Learning Asteroid Mining For Resources
Green Tech
Computational Photography Nanodegrees Space Exploration
Charging Stations
Computational Journalism Sharing Economy & Lendership E-Resident and Location-Independent
Digital Business Identity Cards Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and
I-Teams For Algorithms and Data E-Resident and Location-Independent Macro Grids
Digital Business Identity Cards Social Payments

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 034


Better Batteries Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Personal and One-To-Few Networks Splinternets
FOBO Budgets Leaking Election Security
Media Consolidation DDoS Attacks Will Increase Blocking the Ad Blockers Anti-Trust Lawsuits
Social Tweaks To Social Network Ransomware As A Service Organizational Doxing Old Laws Clash With New Technology
Algorithms Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Anonymity Digital Caliphate
The First Amendment in a Digital Age Grows
Authenticity Governments Asking Tech Companies
Flying Taxis New Infrastructure Targets To Help Fight the Spread of
Differential Privacy
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Hacktivism On The Rise Misinformation, Propaganda and
Anti-Recognition Cammo and Glasses Terrorism
Drone Delivery Third-Party Verified Identities
Digital Self-Incrimination Overhauling Government Tech
Drone Lanes Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants
SWATting at Trolls Infrastructure
Personal Home Drone Surveillance Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go
Commercial Revenge Porn Blockchain
Sense And Avoid Technology Eye In The Sky Universal Basic Income
Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Microdrones Law Enforcement Using Recognition AI in Hiring
Backdoors
Drone Swarms Algorithms To ID Faces Productivity Bots
Remote Kill Switches
Clandestine, Disappearing Drones Data Retention Policies Adaptive Learning
AI-Powered Automated Hacking
Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities Encryption Management Nanodegrees
Around the U.S. Offensive Government Hacking
Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric Sharing Economy & Lendership
Armchair AV Mechanics More Cyber Mission Forces in the Data?
Field Privacy Laws
Assisted Driving Before Full Global Data Scientist Shortages
Automation Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Net Neutrality
Happening Quantum Computers
Adaptive Driving Systems Internet of Things
Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By “Unhackable” Computers
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Our Smarthomes Become Weaponized
Cryptocurrencies Brain-To-Vehicle Interfaces
Communications Indoor and Outdoor Plant Factories
New Open Source App Vulnerabilities Brain-To-Internet Interfaces and Microfarms
Electric Vehicles
Selfie Security Using Faceprints Smart Farms
Cars as Interfaces
Bounty Programs Terraforming
Solar Highways
The General Data Protection Regulation GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS (LOCAL) CubeSats
Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Takes Effect Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Flying Cars Anthropocene
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped Artificial Intelligence
Supersonic Flights On Extreme Weather Events
Smart City Initiatives
Autonomous Ships Defining What Constitutes Online Human Migration Patterns Shift
Faster Connectivity With 5G
Robot Abuse Harassment Green Tech
City-Level Cyber Security
Ethical Manufacturing Drone Surveillance Charging Stations

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 035


Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current Autonomous Ships Drone Surveillance
and Macro Grids Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Personal and One-To-Few Networks HOSPITALITY
Better Batteries Budgets Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Leaking
Social Tweaks To Social Network DDoS Attacks Will Increase Blocking the Ad Blockers Artificial Intelligence
Algorithms Ransomware As A Service Faceprints
Organizational Doxing
The First Amendment in a Digital Age Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Voiceprints
Anonymity
Proximity News Grows WiFi Tracking
Authenticity
Crowdlearning New Infrastructure Targets Gesture Recognition
Differential Privacy
Digital Frailty Hacktivism On The Rise Personality and Character
Anti-Recognition Cammo and Glasses
Flying Taxis Third-Party Verified Identities Recognition
Digital Self-Incrimination
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants Ambient Proximity
SWATting at Trolls
Drone Delivery Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go Hidden Bias in Recognition
Commercial Revenge Porn Technologies
Drone Lanes
Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise Eye In The Sky Personal Robots and Butlers
Personal Home Drone Surveillance
Backdoors Law Enforcement Using Recognition Robot Abuse
Sense And Avoid Technology Algorithms To ID Faces
Microdrones Remote Kill Switches 3D Printing
Data Retention Policies
Drone Swarms AI-Powered Automated Hacking Flying Taxis
Encryption Management
Clandestine, Disappearing Drones Offensive Government Hacking Drone Delivery
Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric
Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities More Cyber Mission Forces in the Data? Drone Lanes
Around the U.S. Field Solar Highways
Global Data Scientist Shortages
Armchair AV Mechanics Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Supersonic Flights
Happening Faceprints
Assisted Driving Before Full Voiceprints Connected TVs
Automation Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By
Cryptocurrencies WiFi Tracking Holograms
Adaptive Driving Systems Virtual Reality
New Open Source App Vulnerabilities Gesture Recognition
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) 360-degree Video
Communications Selfie Security Using Faceprints Personality and Character
Bounty Programs Recognition Augmented Reality
Electric Vehicles
The General Data Protection Regulation Ambient Proximity Mixed Reality Arcades
Cars as Interfaces
Takes Effect Hidden Bias in Recognition VR For Marketing
Solar Highways Technologies
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped AI For the Creative Process
Autonomous Vehicle Legislation On
FOBO
Flying Cars Defining What Constitutes Online
Retail APIs
Supersonic Flights Harassment
Digital Associates

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 036


Green Tech DDoS Attacks Will Increase Nanodegrees Drone Swarms
Charging Stations Ransomware As A Service Sharing Economy & Lendership Clandestine, Disappearing Drones
Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and Hacktivism On The Rise Privacy Laws Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities
Macro Grids The General Data Protection Regulation Net Neutrality Around the U.S.
Better Batteries Takes Effect Internet of Things Armchair AV Mechanics
Anthropocene Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped Our Smarthomes Become Weaponized Assisted Driving Before Full
Extreme Weather Events On Automation
Indoor and Outdoor Plant Factories
Human Migration Patterns Shift Leaking and Microfarms Adaptive Driving Systems
Cultivated Food and Beverage Organizational Doxing Smart Farms Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V)
Communications
Wearables Terraforming
Electric Vehicles
Privacy Laws CubeSats
INFRASTRUCTURE Cars as Interfaces
Net Neutrality Anthropocene
Pay Special Attention To These Trends Solar Highways
Internet of Things Extreme Weather Events
Artificial Intelligence Autonomous Vehicle Legislation
Searching The Internet of Physical Human Migration Patterns Shift
Things Smart City Initiatives Flying Cars
Green Tech
Intelligent Cameras Faster Connectivity With 5G Supersonic Flights
Charging Stations
Our Appliances Will Have Digital City-Level Cyber Security Autonomous Ships
Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and
Assistants Splinternets Macro Grids Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
Smart Appliance Screens Are Coming Budgets
Election Security Better Batteries
Home Appliances Will Talk To Each DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Anti-Trust Lawsuits Social Tweaks To Social Network
Other Algorithms Ransomware As A Service
Old Laws Clash With New Technology
Wireless Kitchens The First Amendment in a Digital Age Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community
Digital Caliphate
Universal Basic Income Grows
Governments Asking Tech Companies Proximity News
AI in Hiring New Infrastructure Targets
To Help Fight the Spread of Crowdlearning
Sharing Economy & Lendership Misinformation, Propaganda and Hacktivism On The Rise
Digital Frailty
Terrorism Third-Party Verified Identities
Social Payments Flying Taxis
Overhauling Government Tech Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants
Faster Connectivity With 5G Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
Infrastructure
Blockchain Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go
Blockchain Drone Delivery Commercial
Commercial Space Flight Drone Lanes
Universal Basic Income Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
CubeSats Personal Home Drone Surveillance
AI in Hiring Backdoors
Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Sense And Avoid Technology
Productivity Bots Remote Kill Switches
Budgets
Adaptive Learning Microdrones

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 037


AI-Powered Automated Hacking Data Retention Policies Accountability and Trust Hacktivism On The Rise
Offensive Government Hacking Encryption Management Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems Third-Party Verified Identities
More Cyber Mission Forces in the Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric China’s AI Boom Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants
Field Data? Real-Time Machine Learning Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go
Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Global Data Scientist Shortages Natural Language Understanding Commercial
Happening Faceprints Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Machine Reading Comprehension
Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By Voiceprints Backdoors
Cryptocurrencies Natural Language Generation
WiFi Tracking Generative Algorithms For Voice, Remote Kill Switches
New Open Source App Vulnerabilities
Gesture Recognition Sound and Video AI-Powered Automated Hacking
Selfie Security Using Faceprints
Personality and Character Image Completion Offensive Government Hacking
Bounty Programs Recognition Predictive Machine Vision More Cyber Mission Forces in the
The General Data Protection Regulation Ambient Proximity Field
Takes Effect Much Faster Deep Learning
Hidden Bias in Recognition Reinforcement Learning and Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped Technologies Happening
On Hierarchical RL
Continuous Learning Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By
Defining What Constitutes Online Cryptocurrencies
Harassment Multitask Learning
LAW ENFORCEMENT New Open Source App Vulnerabilities
Drone Surveillance Adversarial Machine Learning
Pay Special Attention To These Trends Selfie Security Using Faceprints
Personal and One-To-Few Networks Faceprints
The AI Cloud Bounty Programs
Leaking Voiceprints
Proprietary, Homegrown AI The General Data Protection Regulation
Blocking the Ad Blockers WiFi Tracking Takes Effect
Languages
Organizational Doxing Gesture Recognition Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
AI Chipsets
Anonymity Personality and Character On
Cognitive Computing
Authenticity Recognition Defining What Constitutes Online
Bots
Differential Privacy Ambient Proximity Harassment
Marketplaces For AI Algorithms
Anti-Recognition Cammo and Glasses Hidden Bias in Recognition Drone Surveillance
More Consolidation in AI Technologies
Digital Self-Incrimination Personal and One-To-Few Networks
Consumer-Grade AI Applications Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
SWATting at Trolls Leaking
Debut Budgets
Revenge Porn Blocking the Ad Blockers
Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Eye In The Sky Organizational Doxing
A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces Ransomware As A Service
Law Enforcement Using Recognition Anonymity
Deep Linking Everywhere Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community
Algorithms To ID Faces Grows Authenticity
Making AI Explain Itself
New Infrastructure Targets Differential Privacy

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 038


Anti-Recognition Cammo and Glasses Cars as Interfaces Internet of Things Personality and Character Recognition
Digital Self-Incrimination Solar Highways Searching The Internet of Physical Ambient Proximity
SWATting at Trolls Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Things Hidden Bias in Recognition
Revenge Porn Flying Cars Intelligent Cameras Technologies
Eye In The Sky Supersonic Flights Nanodegrees Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
Cryptocurrencies Budgets
Law Enforcement Using Recognition Autonomous Ships
Algorithms To ID Faces Blockchain DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Holograms
Data Retention Policies Faster Connectivity With 5G Ransomware As A Service
Virtual Reality
Encryption Management Splinternets Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community
360-degree Video Grows
Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric Augmented Reality Old Laws Clash With New Technology
Data? New Infrastructure Targets
MMOMRGs Digital Caliphate
Global Data Scientist Shortages Hacktivism On The Rise
Green Tech Governments Asking Tech Companies
Smart Dust To Help Fight the Spread of Third-Party Verified Identities
Charging Stations Misinformation, Propaganda and Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants
3D Printing
Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and Terrorism Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go
Flying Taxis Macro Grids Overhauling Government Tech Commercial
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Better Batteries Infrastructure Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Drone Delivery Anthropocene CubeSats Backdoors
Drone Lanes Extreme Weather Events Quantum Computers Remote Kill Switches
Personal Home Drone Surveillance Human Migration Patterns Shift “Unhackable” Computers AI-Powered Automated Hacking
Sense And Avoid Technology Geoengineering Alt-Cryptocurrencies Offensive Government Hacking
Microdrones Wearables Adaptive Camouflage More Cyber Mission Forces in the Field
Drone Swarms Smart Glasses Robot Vision Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep
Clandestine, Disappearing Drones Hearables / Earables Happening
Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities Head Mounted Displays Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By
Around the U.S. LAWYERS, LAW FIRMS AND LEGAL Cryptocurrencies
Smart Helmets
Armchair AV Mechanics INDUSTRY New Open Source App Vulnerabilities
Smart Gloves
Assisted Driving Before Full Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Smartwatches Selfie Security Using Faceprints
Automation
Artificial Intelligence Bounty Programs
Adaptive Driving Systems Smart Shoes
Faceprints The General Data Protection Regulation
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Wireless Body Area Networks
Voiceprints Takes Effect
Communications Privacy Laws
WiFi Tracking Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
Electric Vehicles Net Neutrality On
Gesture Recognition

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 039


Defining What Constitutes Online Synthetic Data Sets Cryptocurrencies Personal Robots and Butlers
Harassment Decentralizing The Web Blockchain Robot Abuse
Drone Surveillance Streaming Social Video Open Banking 3D Printing
Personal and One-To-Few Networks Media Consolidation Faster Connectivity With 5G Holograms
Leaking Social Tweaks To Social Network City-Level Cyber Security Virtual Reality
Blocking the Ad Blockers Algorithms Splinternets 360-degree Video
Organizational Doxing The First Amendment in a Digital Age Election Security Augmented Reality
Anonymity AI For the Creative Process Anti-Trust Lawsuits Green Tech
Authenticity FOBO Old Laws Clash With New Technology Charging Stations
Differential Privacy Anthropocene Digital Caliphate Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and
Anti-Recognition Cammo and Glasses Extreme Weather Events Governments Asking Tech Companies Macro Grids
Digital Self-Incrimination Human Migration Patterns Shift To Help Fight the Spread of Better Batteries
SWATting at Trolls Genome Editing Misinformation, Propaganda and Anthropocene
Terrorism
Revenge Porn Genome Editing Research Clashes With Extreme Weather Events
Public Opinion Overhauling Government Tech
Eye In The Sky Infrastructure Human Migration Patterns Shift
Law Enforcement Using Recognition Patient-Generated Health Data Geoengineering
Quantum Computers
Algorithms To ID Faces Wearables Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
“Unhackable” Computers
Data Retention Policies Privacy Laws Budgets
Alt-Cryptocurrencies
Encryption Management Net Neutrality DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric Internet of Things Ransomware As A Service
Data? Searching The Internet of Physical Hacktivism On The Rise
MANUFACTURING
Global Data Scientist Shortages Things The General Data Protection Regulation
Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Robot Abuse Our Smarthomes Become Weaponized Takes Effect
Artificial Intelligence
Personal Home Drone Surveillance Universal Basic Income Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
Self-Assembling Robots On
Cars as Interfaces AI in Hiring
Robot Compilers Leaking
Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Productivity Bots
Molecular Robotics Organizational Doxing
I-Teams For Algorithms and Data Adaptive Learning
Collaborative Robotics
Crowdlearning Nanodegrees
Ethical Manufacturing
Digital Frailty Sharing Economy & Lendership
Soft Robotics MEDICAL, HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES
Real-Time Fact Checking E-Resident and Location-Independent
Human-Machine Interfaces Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Offline Is The New Online Digital Business Identity Cards
Social Payments Smart Dust Artificial Intelligence
Audio Search Engines

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 040


Faceprints The General Data Protection Regulation Head Mounted Displays AI Chipsets
Voiceprints Takes Effect Smart Bras Cognitive Computing
WiFi Tracking Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped Smart Helmets Bots
On
Gesture Recognition Smart Gloves Marketplaces For AI Algorithms
Leaking
Molecular Robotics Tattooables More Consolidation in AI
Organizational Doxing
Soft Robotics Thinkables Consumer-Grade AI Applications
Cultivated Food and Beverage Debut
Human-Machine Interfaces Ingestables
Deep Learning For Farming and Food Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous
Smart Dust Recognition Smart Fabrics
Personal Robots and Butlers Smartwatches A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces
Genome Editing
Robot Abuse Smart Shoes Deep Linking Everywhere
Biological DVRs
3D Printing Wireless Body Area Networks Making AI Explain Itself
Human DNA-Powered Devices
Natural Language Generation for Privacy Laws Accountability and Trust
Using Our DNA As Hard Drives
Reading Levels Net Neutrality Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems
Nanobot Nurses
Computational Photography Internet of Things China’s AI Boom
Custom-Crafted Microbes
Crowdlearning Universal Basic Income Real-Time Machine Learning
Precision Medicine Just For You
Synthetic Data Sets Nanodegrees Natural Language Understanding
Running Out Of Space For Genome
Holograms Storage Blockchain Machine Reading Comprehension
Virtual Reality Genome Editing Research Clashes With Faster Connectivity With 5G Natural Language Generation
360-degree Video Public Opinion Splinternets Generative Algorithms For Voice,
Augmented Reality Nootropics and Neuroenhancers Sound and Video
Old Laws Clash With New Technology
FOBO Microbiome Extinction Image Completion
Quantum Computers
Retail APIs Building A Comprehensive Human Cell Predictive Machine Vision
“Unhackable” Computers
Digital Associates Atlas Much Faster Deep Learning
Brain-To-Vehicle Interfaces
Anthropocene Biointerfaces Laminated Onto Our Reinforcement Learning and
Skin Brain-To-Internet Interfaces Hierarchical RL
Extreme Weather Events
Patient-Generated Health Data Continuous Learning
Human Migration Patterns Shift
Touch-Sensitive Prosthetics Multitask Learning
Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic NEWS MEDIA AND BOOK PUBLISHING
Budgets Smart Thread Adversarial Machine Learning
Pay Special Attention To These Trends
DDoS Attacks Will Increase Bioelectronics Faceprints
The AI Cloud
Ransomware As A Service Wearables Voiceprints
Proprietary, Homegrown AI
Hacktivism On The Rise Smart Glasses WiFi Tracking
Languages
Hearables / Earables Gesture Recognition

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 041


Personality and Character Audio Search Engines Election Security A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces
Recognition Synthetic Data Sets Old Laws Clash With New Technology Deep Linking Everywhere
Ambient Proximity Journalism as a Service (JaaS) Making AI Explain Itself
Hidden Bias in Recognition Connected TVs Accountability and Trust
Technologies REAL ESTATE AND DEVELOPMENT
Decentralizing The Web Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems
Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Budgets Streaming Social Video China’s AI Boom
New Video and Audio Story Formats Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Real-Time Machine Learning
DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Budgets
Ransomware As A Service Media Consolidation Natural Language Understanding
DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Hacktivism On The Rise Social Tweaks To Social Network Machine Reading Comprehension
Algorithms Ransomware As A Service
Third-Party Verified Identities Natural Language Generation
The First Amendment in a Digital Age Hacktivism On The Rise
Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants Generative Algorithms For Voice,
Holograms The General Data Protection Regulation Sound and Video
Personal and One-To-Few Networks Takes Effect
Virtual Reality Image Completion
Organizational Doxing Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
360-degree Video Predictive Machine Vision
Digital Self-Incrimination On
Augmented Reality Much Faster Deep Learning
Natural Language Generation for Leaking
Reading Levels Mixed Reality Arcades Reinforcement Learning and
Organizational Doxing
AI For the Creative Process Hierarchical RL
Computational Photography
Patient-Generated Health Data Continuous Learning
Computational Journalism
Wearables Multitask Learning
I-Teams For Algorithms and Data TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES AND DIGITAL
Smart Glasses PLATFORMS Adversarial Machine Learning
Voice Interfaces For News and Books
Hearables / Earables Pay Special Attention To These Trends Faceprints
Proximity News
Head Mounted Displays The AI Cloud Voiceprints
Crowdlearning
Smartwatches Proprietary, Homegrown AI WiFi Tracking
Digital Frailty
Privacy Laws Languages Hidden Bias in Recognition
Radical Transparency Technologies
Net Neutrality AI Chipsets
Limited-Edition News Products Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
Internet of Things Cognitive Computing
One-To-Few Publishing Budgets
Intelligent Cameras Bots
Notification Layer (A Tragedy of the DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Commons) AI in Hiring Marketplaces For AI Algorithms
Ransomware As A Service
Transparency in Metrics Productivity Bots More Consolidation in AI
Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community
Real-Time Fact Checking Adaptive Learning Consumer-Grade AI Applications Grows
Debut
Offline Is The New Online Splinternets New Infrastructure Targets
Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 042


Hacktivism On The Rise Encryption Management Extreme Weather Events Election Security
Third-Party Verified Identities Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric Human Migration Patterns Shift Anti-Trust Lawsuits
Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants Data? Smartwatches Old Laws Clash With New Technology
Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go Global Data Scientist Shortages Wearables Digital Caliphate
Commercial I-Teams For Algorithms and Data Smart Glasses Governments Asking Tech Companies
Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise Voice Interfaces For News and Books Hearables / Earables To Help Fight the Spread of
Backdoors Proximity News Misinformation, Propaganda and
Head Mounted Displays Terrorism
Remote Kill Switches Crowdlearning Privacy Laws Quantum Computers
AI-Powered Automated Hacking Digital Frailty Net Neutrality “Unhackable” Computers
Offensive Government Hacking Radical Transparency Internet of Things Brain-To-Vehicle Interfaces
Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Transparency in Metrics Searching The Internet of Physical
Happening Brain-To-Internet Interfaces
Connected TVs Things
Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By Alt-Cryptocurrencies
Decentralizing The Web Intelligent Cameras
Cryptocurrencies
Streaming Social Video Our Appliances Will Have Digital
New Open Source App Vulnerabilities Assistants
Media Consolidation TRADE ASSOCIATIONS, PROFESSIONAL
Selfie Security Using Faceprints Smart Appliance Screens Are Coming
Social Tweaks To Social Network ASSOCIATIONS, INTEREST GROUPS AND
Bounty Programs Algorithms Home Appliances Will Talk To Each LOBBYISTS
The General Data Protection The First Amendment in a Digital Age Other Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Regulation Takes Effect Smart Mirrors
Holograms Artificial Intelligence
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped Universal Basic Income
On Virtual Reality Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic
360-degree Video AI in Hiring Budgets
Defining What Constitutes Online
Harassment Augmented Reality Productivity Bots DDoS Attacks Will Increase
Leaking Mixed Reality Arcades Adaptive Learning Ransomware As A Service
Blocking the Ad Blockers MMOMRGs Nanodegrees Hacktivism On The Rise
Organizational Doxing VR For Marketing Sharing Economy & Lendership The General Data Protection Regulation
E-Resident and Location-Independent Takes Effect
Anonymity AI For the Creative Process
Digital Business Identity Cards Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped
Authenticity FOBO
Social Payments On
Differential Privacy Green Tech
Cryptocurrencies Leaking
SWATting at Trolls Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and
Blockchain Organizational Doxing
Revenge Porn Macro Grids
Better Batteries Faster Connectivity With 5G
Data Retention Policies
Anthropocene Splinternets

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 043


Data Retention Policies Better Batteries Smart City Initiatives
TRAVEL Encryption Management Anthropocene Faster Connectivity With 5G
Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric Extreme Weather Events Splinternets
The AI Cloud Data? Human Migration Patterns Shift Digital Caliphate
Cognitive Computing Flying Taxis Wearables Commercial Space Flight
Bots Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Smart Glasses Space Exploration
A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces Drone Delivery Hearables / Earables Robot Vision
Deep Linking Everywhere Drone Lanes Head Mounted Displays
Generative Algorithms For Voice, Personal Home Drone Surveillance Smartwatches
Sound and Video Sense And Avoid Technology WORK (FUTURE OF)
Smart Shoes
Image Completion Microdrones Pay Special Attention To These Trends
Privacy Laws
Adversarial Machine Learning Drone Swarms Universal Basic Income
Net Neutrality
Faceprints Clandestine, Disappearing Drones AI in Hiring
Internet of Things
Voiceprints Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities Productivity Bots
Searching The Internet of Physical
WiFi Tracking Around the U.S. Things Adaptive Learning
Gesture Recognition Armchair AV Mechanics Intelligent Cameras Nanodegrees
Personality and Character Assisted Driving Before Full Our Appliances Will Have Digital Sharing Economy & Lendership
Recognition Automation Assistants
Privacy Laws
Ambient Proximity Adaptive Driving Systems Smart Appliance Screens Are Coming
Net Neutrality
Hidden Bias in Recognition Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Home Appliances Will Talk To Each
Technologies Communications E-Resident and Location-Independent
Other
Digital Business Identity Cards
Hacktivism On The Rise Electric Vehicles Wireless Kitchens
Social Payments
Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants Cars as Interfaces Smarter Home Security
Cryptocurrencies
Backdoors Solar Highways Smart Remotes
Blockchain
Remote Kill Switches Autonomous Vehicle Legislation Smart Mirrors
Smart City Initiatives
AI-Powered Automated Hacking Flying Cars Our Smarthomes Become Weaponized
Faster Connectivity With 5G
Selfie Security Using Faceprints Supersonic Flights Sharing Economy & Lendership
Splinternets
The General Data Protection Regulation Autonomous Ships E-Resident and Location-Independent
Takes Effect Anthropocene
Green Tech Digital Business Identity Cards
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped Extreme Weather Events
Charging Stations Social Payments
On Human Migration Patterns Shift
Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and Cryptocurrencies
Drone Surveillance Macro Grids Ransomware As A Service
Blockchain

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 044


Hacktivism On The Rise
Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise
Backdoors
Remote Kill Switches
Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep
Happening
New Open Source App Vulnerabilities
The General Data Protection
Regulation Takes Effect
Organizational Doxing
Differential Privacy
Data Retention Policies
Encryption Management
The AI Cloud
More Consolidation in AI
China’s AI Boom

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2018
TECH TRENDS
TRENDS 001 - 027
NINTH YEAR ON THE LIST

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:
THE THIRD ERA OF COMPUTING

001- 027
AI is “one of the most important things that humanity is working
on. It’s more profound than, I don’t know, electricity or fire.”
– Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Key Insight Misplaced Optimism and Fear WE ARE ALL “GEN-T,”


Artificial Intelligence isn’t a trend itself.
Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in artificial
When it comes to AI, many
organizations and their leaders have
THE TRANSITION GENERATION:
intelligence, often described AI as a developed a misplaced sense of Everyone alive today is part of Gen-T,
“suitcase term.” It’s a concept that optimism or fear. (And sometimes a the transition generation that will
appears simple enough but is actually combination of both.) bridge the programmable systems
endlessly complex and packed – like era of computing into the cognitive
a suitcase – with lots of other ideas, It seems like not a day goes by without era, where machines capable of
concepts, processes and problems. a new headline promising that AI will learning, deciding, and creating will
cure all that ails us, or that it will take co-exist with us.
Many facets of artificial intelligence our jobs, or that it just might kill us
(AI) have made our list since we first all. The real future of AI does promise Though it doesn’t feel like it, our generation
started publishing this report 11 years excitement, but probably not quite how is living through a great period of rapid
transition from conventional computing to
ago. AI itself isn’t the trend—it is too you’ve imagined.
artificially intelligent systems. This moment
broad and important to monitor without in time is akin to the few decades when the
distinguishing between signals. For that steam engine gave rise to the Industrial
reason, we have identified different Revolution, and Edison and Westinghouse
themes within AI that you should be brought electricity into our homes, offices,
following. schools and factories. AI is the new
electricity, and our personal data is what’s
generating the current.
© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 047
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AI: A NON-TECHNICAL
PRIMER FOR LEADERS

What You Need To Know About AI was translating, posited the theory that In 1956, researchers met at Dartmouth,
Simply put, AI is a branch of computer someday a computer might be capable of for what turned out to be a historic
science in which computers are creative acts—and to think, just like we meeting – and the place where the term
programmed to do things that normally humans do. Between the 1930s – 1940s, “artificial intelligence” was first coined
require human intelligence. This includes mathematicians including Alan Turing, by John McCarthy. In the 1950s – 1970s,
learning, reasoning, problem-solving, Warren McCulloch and Water Pitts published the field exploded. Margaret Masterman
understanding language and perceiving a papers that conceptualized neural and her team at Cambridge designed the
situation or environment. AI is an extremely networks, while Vannevar Bush published a first semantic networks. Jane Robinson
large, broad field, which uses its own short story called “As We May Think” that established the Natural Language
computer languages and even special kinds envisioned intelligent machines assisting Processing group at SRI, while Barbara
of computer networks which are modeled humans. In the 1950s, Turing published Groz figured out that the field would have
from our human brains. another paper, which later became to pivot eventually and take a different
known as the Turing Test, while Claude approach.
The Short Story of AI’s Very Long History Shannon published research analyzing how
computers might be programmed to play Researchers had been working towards
The idea that we might someday create
chess. Computer scientist Grace Hopper a functional AI, using the human brain for
artificially intelligent, sentient robots was
pushed that idea forward, pioneering early inspiration, but they didn’t have access
first suggested by prominent philosophers
programming languages that were similar to enough compute power, data or people
in the mid-1600s. Mathematician Ada
to spoken English. trained to advance the field. As a result,
Lovelace, in the footnotes of a paper she
the field entered what’s known as the “AI

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 048


winter,” when funding and enthusiasm dried anthropomorphized representations of AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning
up — temporarily. artificial general intelligence (AGI)—but Machine learning programs run on neural
actual AGI doesn’t necessarily require networks and analyze data in order to help
In the past decade, new advances by humanlike appearances or voices. Systems computers find new things without being
Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, capable of general decision-making and explicitly programmed where to look. Within
Facebook, Apple — and Tencent, Baidu and automation outside of narrow specialties the field of AI, machine learning is useful
Alibaba in China — have reignited excitement (DeepMind beating a world champion Go because it can help computers to predict
and funding. master) is AGI. and make real-time decisions without
human intervention.
Artificial Intelligence Is The Third Era of AI, Neural Networks and Deep Neural
Computing Networks Deep learning is a relatively new branch
The best way to think of AI isn’t as a A neural network is the place where of machine learning. Programmers use
particular tool, software application or information is sent and received, and special deep learning algorithms alongside
spoken interface. AI represents the next a program is the set of meticulous, a corpus of data—typically many terabytes
era of computing, after the tabulating step-by-step instructions that tell a of text, images, videos, speech and the like.
era (very early computers) and the system precisely what to do so that it Often, these systems are trained to learn
programmable systems era. will accomplish a specific task. How you on their own. In practical terms, this means
want the computer to get from start to that more and more human processes
There Are Different Categories Of AI finish—essentially, a set of rules—is the will be automated. Including the writing of
There are two kinds of AI—weak (or “algorithm.” software, which computers will soon start
“narrow”) and strong (or “general”). The to do themselves.
anti-lock breaks in your car, the spam filter A deep neural network is one that has many
and autocomplete functions in your email, hidden layers. There’s no set number of
and the recommendations that Amazon and layers required to make a network “deep.”
Spotify make are all examples of artificial Deep neural networks tend to work better
narrow intelligence. Maeve and Dolores in and are more powerful than traditional
Westworld, the Samantha operating system neural networks (which can be recurrent or
in Her, and the H.A.L. supercomputer feedforward).
from 2001: A Space Odyssey are

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 049


When it comes to artificial
intelligence, we have a lot of
misplaced optimism and fear.
The real future of AI doesn’t
necessarily reflect what
we’ve seen in movies and read
in books.
– Amy Webb, Founder of the Future Today Institute

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE


TRENDS 001 - 027
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

AI TRENDS IN THE INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
ENTERPRISE KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

001- 027
001
The AI Cloud
002
Proprietary, Homegrown AI Languages
processing units to make all the connections and
computations required in the next era of comput-
ing. Enter a suite of new processors found on an
In the past year, the corporate leaders of the AI As we enter the third era of computing, the larg- SoC—“system on a chip.” Huawei, Apple, Alphabet,
ecosystem have been racing to capture AI cloud- est companies are starting to compete for both IBM, NVIDIA, Intel and Qualcomm are all working
share—and to become the trusted provider of AI marketshare and mindshare. Companies such as new systems architecture and SoCs, and some
on remote servers. Amazon Web Services, Micro- Microsoft, IBM, Amazon and Alphabet are releas- come pre-trained. In short, this means that the
soft’s Azure, IBM and Alphabet are all rolling out ing software packages for developers—as well as chips are ready to work on AI projects and should
new offerings and packages for developers, hoping unique programming languages for AI applications. promise better speeds and more secure data. Late
to make it easier and more affordable for a wide Uber released its own probabilistic programming in 2017, Elon Musk told developers that Tesla is
swath of AI startups to launch their ideas into the language, Pyro, which it wrote in Python. It’s a move also working on its own custom AI hardware chips.
marketplace. This isn’t just about hosting. Each that signals likely fragmentation in the future of the Alphabet’s chip is called a Tensor Processing Unit
company now offers off-the-shelf AI software. Am- AI ecosystem, not unlike our OSX vs Android, and (or TPU), and was specifically built for the deep
azon’s SageMaker lets developers train their own earlier Mac vs PC camps. learning branch of AI. It is designed to work with
neural nets, while Rekognition detects and tracks the company’s TensorFlow system. For reference,
people, activities and objects in video. Microsoft’s TPUs are what was used in the famous AlphaGo
003
Azure platform includes both a machine learning match between the DeepMind system and a world
studio, to help developers build and deploy solu- AI Chipsets Go champion.
tions—and a toolkit for AI to run locally on connected The standard CPUs found in our desktops, laptops, While marketing pre-trained chips to businesses
devices. tablets and mobile phones have certainly gotten will speed up commercialization and as a result will
powerful—but they’re not really designed to meet further R&D, the challenge, of course, is that devel-
the demands of machine learning. The problem with opers might need to wrestle with different frame-
our current CPUs is that they don’t have enough works in the near-future, especially if the various

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TRENDS 001 - 027
device manufacturers all decide to start creating 006
unique protocols. We anticipate an eventual conver-
Marketplaces For AI Algorithms
gence, pitting just a few companies—and their SoCs
and languages—against each other. Most organizations can’t staff a team of developers
who have unlimited time to create, test and refine
algorithms. As a result, communities of developers
004 are offering up their algorithms in emerging algo-
Cognitive Computing rithm marketplaces. Algorithmia is like Amazon but
This trend has evolved from a key idea in our 2010 for algorithms, where developers can upload their
trend report: anticipatory computing. Cognitive work to the cloud and receive payment when others
computing systems use natural language process- pay to access it. DataXu offers a marketplace
ing and artificial intelligence in order to understand for its proprietary algorithms. Quantiacs allows
our intentions. IBM’s Watson platform is a system developers to build algorithmic trading systems,
that uses natural language processing and machine and it matches their algorithms with capital from
learning to enable people and machines to inter- institutional investors. PrecisionHawk has launched
act more naturally. Cognitive systems like Watson a marketplace for predictive agriculture algos. A
super-charge our human ability to think through number of other networks, such as Nara Logics,
complex problems. On the horizon are cognitive MetaMind, Clarifai offer tools for developers to
systems built to assist knowledge workers with build deep learning into any application. Look for
their thinking tasks in law firms, hospitals, banks even more niche marketplaces in 2018.
and beyond.
007
005 More Consolidation in AI
Bots Some in the AI ecosystem now worry that the
You’ve no doubt heard of a bot: a software applica- future of AI is already under the direction of too few
tion that’s been designed to automate certain tasks, companies. Just nine big companies dominate the AI
such as scheduling or managing basic customer landscape: Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Face-
service requests. Bots have now emerged from the book and Apple in the US, along with Chinese behe-
fringe and are a fixture in our mainstream vocab- moths Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba (with significant
ulary. During 2018’s campaign cycles, we will likely fortification and support from the Chinese govern-
see a resurgence of botnets—networks of comput- ment). On the investment side, Intel Capital, Google
ers designed to send out misleading content. We will Ventures, GE Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Tencent
likely see the intelligence community deploying bots and In-Q-Tel lead. As with any technology, when just
for surveillance and for digital diplomacy. Meantime, a few companies dominate the field, they tend to mo-
more and more customer service functions, to au- nopolize both talent and intellectual property. They’re
tomate meetings or to deal with complaints, will be also partnering to build on each others’ work. When
relegated to bots in the coming year. it comes to the future of AI, we should ask whether
consolidation makes sense for the greater good,
and whether competition—and therefore access—will
eventually be hindered as we’ve seen in other fields
such as telecommunications and cable.

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AI CONT. interacting with us. Watch for new collaborations ent design so tantalizing is that it should require us
between device manufacturers and DA platforms— to make fewer and fewer decisions in the near-fu-
AI TRENDS IN you’ll be able to speak to Alexa in your car and on
your morning jog, while Cortana might soon be
ture. Think of it as a sort of autocomplete for in-
tention. We will interact both actively and passively
CONSUMER-FACING accessible during work meetings and at your desk.
You’ll also start to notice DAs hidden through-
with our DAs, found in our hearables, thermostats,
cars and pockets. They will listen and observe in

PRODUCTS AND out other connected devices, such as your home


thermostat, your refrigerator and your phone.
the background, sometimes asking questions—other
times offering up text, audio or haptic notifications

APPLICATIONS Researchers at MIT, Stanford, and the University of


Texas at Austin are building infrastructure so that
as needed, and those will be decided by algorithm.
The real promise of ambient interfaces is explained
our devices will be able to listen and watch: They’ll by Metcalfe’s Law, which says that the value of a
know the places we go, the people we interact with, network is the square of the total number of people
our habits, our tastes and preferences, and more. using it. As more people become part of ambient
Then they’ll use this data to anticipate our needs. networks of information, the more use cases we’ll
Marketers, credit card companies, banks, local gov- see in the future.
ernment agencies (police, highway administration),
political campaigns and many others can harness 011
DAs to both surface and deliver critical information.
008 Deep Linking Everywhere
Consumer-Grade AI Applications Debut Deep mobile linking has been around since the
010
We’re now seeing a shift in highly technical AI appli- beginning of smartphones, and it makes it easier to
A Bigger Role For Ambient Interfaces find and share data across all of the apps in your
cations that professional researchers use to more
lightweight, user-friendly apps for less-special- Also known as “zero-UIs,” our modern interfaces phone. There are three kinds of deep links: tradi-
ized developers. New automated machine learning are becoming more and more like ambient music— tional, deferred and contextual. Traditional deep
platforms, such as DataRobot, makes it possible for able to do more for us with fewer direct actions, links reroute you from one app or site (such as a
non-experts to build and deploy predictive models. yet still able to captivate our attention. Digital link posted in Twitter) directly to the app, as long
Many hope that in the near-future, we’ll use various Assistants figuratively and literally automatically as you have that app installed. Deferred deep links
AI applications as part of our everyday work, just as deliver you the information you need to know, just either link straight to content if the app is installed,
we do Microsoft Office or Google Docs today. as you need to know it. Rather than relying on a sin- or to an app store for you to download the app first.
gle input screen, or even a series of screens, we’ll Contextual deep links offer much more robust infor-
instead interact with computers with less friction. mation—they take you from site to app, app to site,
009
In our modern age of information, the average adult or app to app, and they can also offer personalized
Digital Assistants Become Ubiquitous now makes more than 20,000 decisions a day—some information. For example, when you land at the
Digital Assistants (DAs)—like Amazon’s Alexa, Goo- big, like whether or not to invest in the stock mar- airport, you might find that your airline app sends
gle Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana—use ket, and some small, like whether to glance at your you a link to Uber. With advancements in machine
semantic and natural language processing, along mobile phone when you see the screen light up. New learning, app-to-app experiences that are tailored
with our data, in order to anticipate what we want DAs promise to prioritize those decisions, delegate to the habits of individual users should become
or need to do next, sometimes before we even know them on our behalf, and even to autonomously an- more ubiquitous.
to ask. DAs will become more pervasive in 2018, as swer for us, depending on the circumstance. Much
device prices fall (look for entry-level speakers that of this invisible decision-making will happen without
cost less than $20) and as systems get better at your direct supervision or input. What makes ambi-

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AI CONT. 013 University of California-Berkeley, International
Computer Science Institute, among others—have
AI TRENDS IN Accountability and Trust
We will soon reach a point when we will no longer
started to discover unintended, but explicit bias in
algorithms. Part of the problem has to do with the
SOCIETY AND be able to tell if a data set has been tampered with,
either intentionally or accidentally. AI systems rely
building blocks of AI: computers are trained using a
limited initial set of data, and the training programs

GEOPOLITICS on our trust. If we no longer trust the outcome, de-


cades of research and technological advancement
are built by humans. Often, the training sets reveal
unacknowledged bias hidden within us. As our com-
will be for naught. Leaders in every sector—govern- puter systems become more adapt at making deci-
ment, business, the nonprofit world and so on—must sions, we may find ourselves sorted by algorithms
have confidence in the data and algorithms used. into groups that don’t make any obvious sense to
Building trust and accountability is a matter of us—but which could have massive repercussions.
showing the work performed. This is a complicated You, or someone you know, could wind up on the
process, as understandably corporations, govern- wrong side of the algorithm and discover you’re
ment offices, law enforcement agencies and other ineligible for a loan, or a particular medication, or
organizations want to keep data private. Commit- the ability to rent an apartment, for reasons which
ting to transparency in method would create trust aren’t transparent or easy to understand.
without necessarily divulging any personal data
used. In addition, hiring an ethicist to work directly
012 with managers and developers, as well as greatly
diversifying the pool of developers to include people
Making AI Explain Itself of different races, ethnicities and genders will solve
You’ve undoubtedly heard someone argue that AI for inherent bias in AI systems.
is becoming a “black box”—that even those re-
searchers working in the field don’t understand 014
how our newest systems work. That’s not entirely
Hidden Bias Leads To Big Problems
true, however there is growing concern voiced by
computer and cognitive scientists, journalists and Every single day, you are creating unimaginable
legal scholars who argue that AI systems shouldn’t amounts of data, both actively (uploading and tag-
be so secretive. Going forward, systems should be ging photos on Facebook) and passively (search-
able to explain their decisions, offer more trans- ing online for medical symptoms, driving to work).
parency and be accountable to those whose data is That data is mined and used, often without your
being used. One big challenge is that offering such direct knowledge or understanding, by algorithms.
transparency could reveal the highly lucrative se- It is used to create advertising, to help potential
cret sauce of commercial products. Another chal- employers predict our behaviors, to determine
lenge: asking the systems to simultaneously explain our mortgage rates and even to help law enforce-
their decision-making process could degrade the ment predict whether or not we’re likely to commit
speed and quality of output. Imagine sitting beside a crime. Researchers at a number of universi-
a genius mathematician who gives you correct ties—including the University of Maryland, Colum-
answers—and then asking her to stop and show her bia University, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Princeton,
work, over and over again.

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015
China’s AI Boom
The development of AI is our modern version of an arms race, and in 2018, Chi-
na will lay the groundwork to become the world’s unchallenged AI hegemon. Here
in the U.S., the Trump Administration isn’t budging on funding increases for
basic research, and the Administration is making it more difficult for gifted AI
researchers to study, train and develop their ideas in the U.S. But China hasn’t ex-
actly hidden its desire to become the global leader in AI. Its government published
a three-year plan detailing massive investments from its sovereign wealth fund
into AI, establishing a national AI research center, seeking innovations in military
applications, formalizing its existing partnerships with leading corporations and
research institutions, and doubling-down on educating its citizens. It plans to cre-
ate a $150bn industry by the year 2030. While China has failed in the past to use
industrial policy to dominate a particular sector, it’s hard to overlook the facts as
we know them in 2018. Three of the most important, and well-capitalized corpora-
tions working on the future of AI—Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—are based in China.
China also owns a staggering number of AI patents, while its academics published
more research than all of the academics hailing from all of the EU countries com-
bined. China is also a primary investor in U.S. and European AI startups. It isn’t
just looking for a typical return on investment—Chinese firms expect IP as well.

If data is the new oil, China’s massive, 730m online population makes it the owner
of the largest natural resource going forward—human data—meaning that it not
only has the largest supply of raw materials to use for experimentation and R&D,
but it also lacks the privacy and security restrictions that might hinder progress
in other nations.

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AI CONT. ers—especially if their tastes and preferences tend out what’s wrong on their own, by making all tech-
to shift along with the seasons. Rather than using nical manuals and documentation available to them
AI TRENDS IN historic data alone (Customer #1234 only likes red
lipstick), real-time preferences would add context
for reading and analysis. That’s the promise of MRC.
MRC isn’t focused on keywords alone. In the future,
PROCESSES, to the recommendation (Customer #1234 might
purchase red lipstick only in the next three weeks).
a trained MRC system could be transferred to dif-
ferent domains where no human has created labels

SYSTEMS AND 017


or even a standard taxonomy. MRC is a necessary
step in realizing artificial general intelligence, but

COMPUTATIONAL Natural Language Understanding (NLU)


in the near-term it could potentially turn everything
from technical manuals to historical maps to our
medical records into easily searchable repositories
NEUROSCIENCE We are surrounded by unstructured text in the real
world—it exists in our social media posts, our blog of information.
entries, on company websites, within city hall digital
records, and elsewhere. NLU allows researchers to 019
quantify and learn from all of that text by extract-
ing concepts, mapping relationships and analyzing Natural Language Generation (NLG)
emotion. NLU will augment the work of professional Algorithms can rewrite structured data into a nar-
researchers—those working in science and med- rative using natural language generation. Dozens of
icine, law and policy, infrastructure, agriculture, news and other organizations, including Bloomberg
016 transportation, education and beyond—allowing and the Associated Press, have been using Auto-
Real-Time Machine Learning them to glean deeper insights than ever before. mated Insights, which mines data and is capable of
writing more than 2,000 stories per second using
Machine learning describes a system that uses natural language generation to produce stories
algorithms to analyze big data sets in order to 018 about fantasy football, earnings reports and the
perform a wide array of tasks better than we can. Machine Reading Comprehension (MRC) like. Narrative Science employs its NLG system to
Over time, the system gets better at those tasks. build narratives out of big data sets and to help
It learns, even though we might not describe it as For AI researchers, machine reading comprehen-
sion has been a challenging goal, but an important non-data science people make better sense of
“intelligent.” One challenge for machines has always what’s happening within their organizations. NLG
been efficiency, since until recently systems had one. MRC makes it possible for systems to read,
infer meaning, and immediately deliver answers will have myriad use cases across professional
to stop, pull and parse data. New research into fields, assisting lawyers, politicians, doctors, con-
real-time machine learning shows that it’s possible while sifting through enormous data sets. One
practical application on the consumer side: if you sultants, financial analysts, marketers and beyond,
to use a continual flow of transactional data and who will soon incorporate our personal information
adjust models in real-time. This signals a big change perform a search query, wouldn’t you rather have
a system offer you a precise answer than just a as data points for narratives.
in how data moves, and in how we retrieve informa-
tion. For example, real-time machine learning makes list of URLs where you can go to hunt down more
it possible to translate speech automatically, even specifics—even showing you where, on the page, 020
as multiple languages are spoken. It can be used to that information comes from? If you are an airline
mechanic and you’re trying to troubleshoot a tricky Generative Algorithms For Voice, Sound and Video
improve classification and predictions, promising
better-personalized health monitoring and more engine problem without further delaying a flight, it Researchers at MIT’s CSAIL are studying how chil-
accurate risk calculations. Consumers can expect would be easier if you had a computer read all of dren learn new words in order to train computers
more customized recommendations from retail- the technical documentation for you and suggest on automatic speech recognition. As humans, we
likely fixes. Or, better yet, let the machines figure are able to master a new concept from just one or

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AI CONT. cers—computers can now assist them in identifying a month or longer to train an image recognition
who or what is in the frame. Given the bias we’ve al- model on the ImageNet dataset. Today, with more
two examples; for machines, this is a more difficult ready seen across machine learning algorithms and advanced equipment, Facebook can do the same in
task when it comes to language. Meanwhile, re- data sets, image completion could become part of a under an hour. As computers become faster—and
searchers are training computers to watch videos future debate about privacy and our devices. as hardware architecture evolves—our systems will
and predict corresponding sounds in our physical perform tasks at super-human speeds.
world. For example, what sound is generated when
a wooden drumstick taps a couch? A pile of leaves? 022
A glass windowpane? The focus of this research is Predictive Machine Vision 024
to help systems understand how objects interact Reinforcement Learning and Hierarchical RL
Researchers at MIT’s CSAIL have trained comput-
with each other in the physical realm. But future
ers to not only recognize what’s in a video, but to Reinforcement Learning (RL) is a powerful tool
versions of the algorithms could be used to au-
predict what humans will do next. Trained on You- for sorting out decision-making problems, and it’s
tomatically produce sound and sound effects for
Tube videos and TV shows such as “The Office” and being used to train AI systems to achieve super-hu-
games, videos, movies and TV shows. It also raises
“Desperate Housewives,” a computer system can man capabilities. Inside of a computer simulation,
the specter of audio fraud—what happens when
now predict whether two people are likely to hug, a system tries, fails, learns, experiments and then
computers are able to spoof our voices and nat-
kiss, shake hands or slap a high five. This research tries again—in rapid succession, altering its fu-
ural sound? There have already been a few early
will someday enable robots to more easily navigate ture attempts each time. It’s because of RL that
successes: in 2017, researchers at the University
human environments—and to interact with us hu- AlphaGo, a computer developed by DeepMind (part
of Washington developed a model that convincingly
mans by taking cues from our own body language. of Alphabet) learned how to beat the greatest Go
showed President Barack Obama giving a speech—
It could also be used in retail environments, while players in the world. One problem with RL: agents
that he never actually gave in real life.
we’re operating machinery, or while we’re in class- have difficulty when they don’t have enough super-
rooms learning. vision, or when they’re objective is to run scenarios
021 for a very long time horizon. In 2018 and beyond,
researchers will try to solve those problems using
Image Completion 023 Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning—that discov-
If a computer system has access to enough im- Much Faster Deep Learning ers high-level actions and work through learning
ages—millions and millions—it can patch and fill in challenges methodically, in order to master new
Deep Learning (DL) is a relatively new branch of
holes in pictures. There are practical applications tasks at speeds we humans can’t imagine. This is
machine learning, and it will soon be an invisible
for professional photographers as well as every- important for non-techies, too: RL will improve the
part of every organization. Programmers use spe-
one who wants to take a better selfie Soon, if the “intelligence” in our AI systems, helping cars learn
cial deep learning algorithms alongside a corpus
foreground of a mountain is out of focus, or if your to drive in unusual conditions and helping military
of data—typically many terabytes of text, images,
skin has an unsightly blemish, another version can drones perform complicated maneuvers that have
videos, speech and the like. The system is trained to
be swapped in to generate the perfect picture. never been attempted before in the physical world.
learn on its own. While conceptually, deep learning
But what of the next-order scenarios and implica-
isn’t new, what’s changed recently is the amount
tions? How will we draw the line between reality and
of compute power and the volume of data that’s 025
enhancement? How much image completion should
become available. In practical terms, this means
be allowed without tacking on a warning label or Continuous Learning
that more and more human processes will be au-
disclosure? Online daters, journalists, and market-
tomated, including the writing of software, which At the moment, deep learning techniques have
ers should be asking these questions. But so should
computers will soon start to do themselves. DL has helped systems learn to solve complex tasks that
policymakers. Image completion is also a useful tool
been hampered by the processing power of com- more closely matches what humans can do—but
for law enforcement and military intelligence offi-
puter networks. Just a few years ago, it would take

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AI CONT. 027
those tasks are still specific, such as beating a Adversarial Machine Learning
human at a game. And they require a rigid se- In short, an adversarial piece of content—a photo, a
quence: gather data, determine the goal, deploy an video, an audio file—is encoded with a tiny modifica-
algorithm. This process requires humans and can tion, usually one that’s imperceptible to humans. It’s
be time-consuming, especially during early phases created in order to help computer scientists adjust
when supervised training is required. Continu- machine learning models. Hackers use adversarial
ous Learning (CL) is more about autonomous and examples in a machine learning system to attack
incremental skill building and development, and re- it, causing the model to make a mistake. In order
searchers will continue pushing the limits of what’s for machine learning systems to learn, they must
possible in 2018. recognize subtle differences. Researchers also use
adversarial information to train systems how to

Researchers 026
Multitask Learning
recognize misleading information in order to secure
it. Adversarial information is sort of like an optical
illusion and it’s typically imperceptible to the human
are now training If you watched the original Karate Kid movie, you’ll
remember Mr. Miyagi promising to teach Daniel
eye or ear. It could be one pixel out of a million
that’s the wrong color or is misaligned—to you, all
karate—and Daniel getting frustrated with days of those pixels together might still look like a photo of
systems to painting fences, sanding floors and “wax on, wax
off.” To Daniel, none of these activities seemed
a rainbow, but to a machine learning model, that one
out-of-place pixel could render the image gibber-
related, and they certainly didn’t appear to help him ish. When that happens, an adjustment is made to
learn more like with his stated objective: to learn karate. Of course,
it turns out that all of these chores were indeed
the system and it continues training. Adversarial
images can be used to knowingly and purposely

Daniel from connected, and Daniel’s repetitive learning is what


helped him become a formidable karate champion.
trick a machine learning system. If an attacker
trains a model, using very slightly altered images,
Researchers are now training systems to learn like the adversarial examples could then be deployed
The Karate Kid. Daniel. When developers use Machine Learning, they
are doing so to try and solve for a particular task
out into other models. Adversarial examples can be
embedded—intentionally, or by accident—into photos,
or problem. They supervise the system, fine-tuning multimedia stories, virtual reality content and the
it and making adjustments until the models perform like. This is important to keep in mind, especially as
as desired. But focusing only on a single task often fake news continues to proliferate in digital chan-
leads to inefficiencies—perhaps there’s a better nels. It’s especially perplexing for search engines
solution to the problem than the method developed (Google, Bing) and for any service that automati-
by the researcher. A new area of research—multi- cally tags our photos (law enforcement databases,
task learning—helps systems learn more like Daniel, Facebook).
exploiting the relationships between various, relat-
ed tasks in order to solve problems better.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 058


RECOGNITION
TECHNOLOGIES
028 Faceprints
029 Voiceprints
030 Wifi Tracking
031 Gesture Recognition
032 Personality and Character Recognition
033 Ambient Proximity
034 Hidden Bias in Recognition Technologies
TREND 028
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Faceprints INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

028
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Google challenged the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act in


court in 2016.

Key Insight What’s Next violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy
Advanced computing systems can now use unique German researchers are working to create thermal Act, which requires companies to secure written
features of our faces—our bone structure, skin col- faceprints by taking heat maps of our faces and releases before collecting biometric data, which in-
or, even capillaries —to identify us. Faceprints are using machine vision to recognize patterns. Their cludes their faces. (This Illinois state law is the only
the new fingerprints. technology can accurately identify a face—and in one of its kind in the U.S.)
under 35 milliseconds, regardless of the amount
Examples of lighting or the facial expressions people make. Watchlist
Faceprints are a newer form of biometric authenti- Researchers at NEC in Japan are taking multiple FaceTec; Megvii; CyLab Biometrics Center at Carn-
cation. In 2014, Facebook announced its “DeepFace” 3D scans to quickly check a person’s face against egie Mellon University; Noveto; SenseTime; Sensible
software, which was capable of recognizing the those catalogued in a registry; it’s expected to Vision; China; Russia; Alphabet; LG; Apple; Facebook;
people in photos with 97% accuracy (that’s about deploy the system for everyone participating in the Alibaba; Samsung; Android; NEC; U.S. Government
the same accuracy as humans). Saks Fifth Avenue 2020 Olympics. Chinese startup Megvii Face++, Accountability Office.
is one example of a luxury store that’s now using supported heavily with sovereign wealth funds
faceprints to track VIP customers. Last year, Apple from both China and Russia, is pioneering faceprint
introduced its Face ID system with the iPhone X. It technologies that are secure enough to be used for
unlocks the phone using infrared and visible light financial transactions. Face++ is also being used by
scans to identify the unique characteristics of your China’s police force for widespread surveillance.
face. China’s Byton has built an electric SUV that Unlike fingerprinting or iris/ retinal scanning, which
you unlock with a faceprint, rather than a key fob. are difficult to do without someone’s direct knowl-
Researchers in Japan and China are working on edge, faceprints can be taken surreptitiously, even
representation models that require only a portion from far away.
of your face, even in low light, to accurately predict We anticipate legal challenges, at least here in the
someone’s identity—even as they change their hair- U.S. Last year, a federal judge allowed a class-ac-
styles, get plastic surgery or grow a beard. tion suit brought against Shutterfly for allegedly

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 060


TREND 029
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Voiceprints INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

029
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

These two voiceprints are analysis results from saying, “REN-


RAKU”, over the telephone. The voices are from two different
speakers.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Technology has made it possible to recognize who Nuance Communications is working with auto KnuEdge; MIT Media Lab; Amazon; Microsoft; DARPA;
you are, even without seeing your face. manufacturers, including Ford and BMW, to devel- Alphabet; Nuance Communications; Apple; IBM; Car-
op more accurate voice recognition in the cockpit. negie Mellon University; Alibaba; Tencent; Samsung.
Examples Theoretically, this same technology could be used to
Voiceprints are the set of unique characteristics detect whether a driver has had too much to drink
that make up your individual voice. New machine or is suffering from a health condition, making it
learning techniques, combined with vast datasets unsafe to operate the vehicle. Voiceprints could be
of recorded voices, have now enabled researchers used to unlock the door when your arms are full of
to identify us simply by listening for the microsig- packages—and to help digital assistants, such as
natures produced when we speak. San Diego-based Alexa, customize interactions for each member of
KnuEdge built a military-grade platform capable of your family. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon Uni-
recognizing our individual voices, even in a noisy versity discovered a generative technique allowing
environment. Founded by NASA’s former Chief them to build a 3D version of someone’s face using
Administrator and its Chief Technology Officer, only their voiceprint. This system is being deployed
KnuEdge hired world-class voice impersonators to by law enforcement agencies to identify prank call-
see if they could fool the system, but the technology ers and those who trick local agencies into sending
prevailed every time. out swat teams to take out retaliation or revenge
on others.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 061


TREND 030
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

WiFi INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Tracking KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

030
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

WiFi transmitters in homes and offices will be able to track your


movements soon.

Key Insight What’s Next


Imagine a future in which
WiFi and radio waves can now be used to track our Researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General
physical movements and our emotional states. Hospital developed a device that uses an advanced your WiFi router collects
AI algorithm to analyze the radio signals around
Examples someone when they’re sleeping. The system then your physical movements,
translates all of their body movements into the
The WiFi transmitter in your home or office is con-
tinually sending and receiving information, which it stages of sleep: light, deep or REM (rapid eye move- then calculates your health
ment). Imagine a future in which your WiFi router
converts into radio waves. The signals aren’t very
collects your physical movements, then calculates metrics, and automatically
strong, only filling up the space around you (and
possibly just outside to the street). It turns out your health metrics, and automatically adjusts the
devices and appliances in your house to help you live
adjusts the devices and
that with the right device, it’s possible to watch us
walking through the signals as they bounce off us a better life? For example, if you’re snoring, your
pillow could automatically inflate or deflate.
appliances in your house to
and onto other objects. What this means in prac-
tice: WiFi signals can be harnessed to recognize us They’re also using WiFi to detect your emotional help you live a better life.
through our walls. state. EQ-Radio can read your emotions using a
wireless router. In testing, EQ-Radio successfully
detected emotions without disturbing the person
being monitored.

Watchlist
MIT; Massachusetts General Hospital.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 062


TREND 031
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
Gesture INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE
Recognition

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

031
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Microsoft Kinect uses NUI for gaming.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Gesture recognition technologies are now capable In the next few years, we’ll see more NUIs that allow DJI; Leap Motion; Magic Leap; Microsoft; Qualcomm;
of interpreting motion to identify us and make deci- us to control machines through our body move- Intel; Samsung; Sony; Texas Instruments; Thalmic
sions on our behalf. ment alone. We’ll also start to see applications in Labs; Softkinetic; eyeSight Technologies; Crunch-
the workplace that record our body movement to fish; Infineon Technologies; Freescale Semiconduc-
Examples predict when we’re most productive. It could also tor; Jabil; PointGrab; Pyreos; Rithmio; Apple.
Emerging gesture recognition systems represent help security learn when we might cause harm to
Natural User Interfaces (NUIs), and they are an im- others. Given recent mass shooting tragedies in the
portant component for the future of augmented and U.S., NUIs could be one part of a future solution to
virtual reality alike. Imagine picking up a digital ob- curbing violence.
ject with your hand, or controlling a remote robotic
arm without being tethered to a bunch of wires.
Gesture recognition unlocks the interplay between
our physical and digital realms. Leap Motion came
to market early with a desktop controller that al-
lowed users to control their computers using finger
and hand gestures. Microsoft’s Kinect successfully
delivered an NUI for gaming. DJI’s latest drones can
be triggered to fly and to take photos using ges-
tures (and without needing the remote control).

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 063


TREND 032
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Personality and INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Character Recognition KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

032
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Cambridge Analytica, claims to have used algorithmic profiling to


help Donald Trump win the election.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Emerging predictive analytics tools wrangle your Researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Mattersight Corporation; Cambridge Analytica; Cal-
data, behavior and preferences in order to map Psychometrics Centre developed an algorithm iper; University of Texas; MIT; IBM; Twitter; Crystal;
your personality—and predict how you’re likely to that predicts personality traits from Facebook Stanford University; Salesforce; Autodesk; Syman-
react in just about any situation. These tools can be likes. ElectronicArts is working on a system that tec; Mobileye; Intuit; Adobe.
used in journalism, to personalize customer inter- assesses the personality of its multiplayer video
actions and even to personalize the news itself. game users to do a better job of matching players,
using their play style, conversational style, and
Examples willingness to spend money. In the real world, insur-
Political candidates, law firms, marketers, custom- ance underwriters are attempting to assess your
er service reps and others will begin using new personality—via your magazine and website sub-
systems that review your online behavior, emails scriptions, the photos you post to social media, and
and conversations you have by phone, and in per- more—in order to determine how risky an invest-
son, to assess your personality in real time. The ment you are. Some lenders have used personality
goal: to predict your specific needs and desires. algorithms to predict your future financial transac-
Mattersight Corporation is using personality and tions. (The data show that if you look at two people
behavior to route calls through call centers, and its with the same professional and personal circum-
latest “Predictive Video” system promises to ana- stances, the one with a higher college G.P.A. will be
lyze your speech and facial expressions from any more likely to pay off a debt.) Meanwhile, facial and
video where you’ve appeared. Cambridge Analytica, tonal recognition analytics will help machine learn-
claims to have used algorithmic profiling to help ing systems to detect consumers’ emotional state
Donald Trump win the election. in real-time. Algorithms will harness your data in
order to assess your predicted success at work,
how likely you are to bounce around jobs and more.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 064


TREND 033
FIFTH YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
Ambient INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE
Proximity

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

033
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Guggenheim in New York City uses beacons to help visitors


learn about exhibits.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


New technologies can be programmed to push or We are likely to see new consumer applications Alphabet’s Eddystone; Apple’s iBeacon; Estimote;
receive information to/ from our devices—and also during 2018 and 2019, as proximity networks be- Kontakt.io; Gimbal; BlueCats; Gelo; BLIP Systems;
our bodies—tethering us to an always-on informa- come more mature. We anticipate that our personal Blue Sense Networks; Glimworm Beacon; Sen-
tion network. data, combined with data from everyday items in sorberg GmbH; Accent Advanced Systems; Aruba;
the physical world, will entice developers to build Amazon; Qualcomm; PayPay; Polytechnical Univer-
Examples new uses for ambient proximity in the coming sity (China); MIT; University of New South Wales
In the late 1980s, Ericsson Mobile experimented years. (Australia); Oxford University; National Emergency
with short-link radio technology, but it would take Address Database.
a decade for mobile service providers to create
the industry standard known as Bluetooth today.
Our current Bluetooth standard was developed for
the internet of things—which is why you’re hear-
ing so much about beacons, which are tiny devices
that broadcast a signal and trigger actions based
on proximity. Target has outfitted hundreds of its
stores with beacons, which track consumers as
they move around various parts of the store. The
Guggenheim uses beacons to help attendees learn
about exhibits. Beacons are widely used in infra-
structure and public transit systems. Some re-
searchers estimate that 5 million new beacons will
be installed around the U.S., for various purposes,
during 2018.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 065


TREND 034
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Hidden Bias in INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Recognition Technologies KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

034
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

PredPol software is one of the systems under scrutiny for em-


bedded bias in its system.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


By now, it’s no secret that some of our machine Risk assessment software is hardly an outlier. PredPol; Fluidinfo; Omega Group; LexisNexis; Aza-
learning models—and the data they use to recognize Numerous studies undertaken by prominent uni- vea; Motorola; Zuercher; Investigative Reporters &
others—are encoded with bias. That’s because the versities, including MIT, Harvard, Carnegie Mel- Editors; National Institute for Computer-Assisted
people who built the models are themselves subject lon, Princeton, University of California-Berkeley Reporting; Coral Project; Stanford Computation-
to unconscious bias, as well as more explicit homo- (among others) have shown explicit bias in algo- al Journalism Lab; Duke University; University of
geneous learning and working environments. rithms across many industries and social sectors. British Columbia; University of Texas at Austin;
Algorithmic bias is a problem that will get worse, Brown Institute at Columbia University; Tow Center
Examples especially as more recognition technologies are for Digital Journalism at Columbia University; Philip
In 2016, ProPublica.org published an exceptional used in law enforcement and within the justice sys- Merrill College of Journalism at the University of
investigation on machine bias and the problem of tem. Computers are trained using a limited initial Maryland; Media Change and Innovation Division
using AI to predict future criminals. Their findings: set of data, and the training programs are built by at the University of Zurich; Annenberg School of
so-called “risk assessment” software is increasing- humans. Often, the training sets reveal unacknowl- Communication & Journalism and the University of
ly common in courtrooms across the nation, and it edged bias hidden within us. Southern California; Wall Street Journal; New York
is used to inform decisions about everything from Times; Texas Tribune; Washington Post; Tamedia;
bond amounts to the length of a criminal sentenc- ProPublica; National Public Radio.
ing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the software is biased
against black people.
(We encourage you to read ProPublica’s full report:
https://www.propublica.org/article/machine-bi-
as-risk-assessments-in-criminal-sentencing).

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 066


SECURITY,
PRIVACY
AND DATA
071 Law Enforcement Using Recognition Algorithms To ID Faces
072 Data Retention Policies
073 Encryption Management
074 Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric Data?
075 Global Data Scientist Shortages
035 Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Budgets 055 The General Data Protection Regulation Takes Effect
036 DDoS Attacks Will Increase 056 Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped On
037 Ransomware As A Service 057 Defining What Constitutes Online Harassment
038 Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Grows 058 Drone Surveillance
039 New Infrastructure Targets 059 Personal and One-To-Few Networks
040 Hacktivism On The Rise 060 Leaking
041 Third-Party Verified Identities 061 Blocking the Ad Blockers
042 Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants 062 Organizational Doxing
043 Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go Commercial 063 Anonymity
044 Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise 064 Authenticity
045 Backdoors 065 Differential Privacy
046 Remote Kill Switches 066 Anti-Recognition Cammo and Glasses
047 AI-Powered Automated Hacking 067 Digital Self-Incrimination
048 Offensive Government Hacking 068 SWATting at Trolls
049 More Cyber Mission Forces in the Field 069 Revenge Porn
050 Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Happening 070 Eye In The Sky
051 Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By Cryptocurrencies
052 New Open Source App Vulnerabilities
053 Selfie Security Using Faceprints
054 Bounty Programs
TRENDS 035 - 054
SEVENTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

SECURITY INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

035- 054
Key Insight devices. Organizations that haven’t carved out
enough budget for IoT security will find themselves
net domain name system infrastructure. To date,
half of the world’s attacks have originated in China.
Expect more sophisticated data breaches, dealing with vast recalls, remediation and lawsuits. Hackers are using more sophisticated tools, which
advanced hacker tricks, and targeted We’ll see this in action during 2018, as the General means that future attacks will be larger in scope
Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) promises a sig- and could achieve greater impact.
ransomware on the devices in your home nificant headache for compliance officers and risk
and offices. managers, who must ensure that the policies and 037
procedures for governments, companies, nonprof-
Ransomware As A Service
035 its and news organizations are current.
We saw the spread of ransomware—WannaCry,
Compliance Challenges and Unrealistic Budgets
036 Petya, NotPetya—during 2017. In England, Wanna-
The historical tension between security and privacy Cry shut down the computers in 80 medical centers,
will unleash new challenges in 2018. Consumers are DDoS Attacks Will Increase which resulted in hospitals diverting ambulances
shedding more data each day, and as more con- A Distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) attack and 20,000 cancelled appointments. Hackers deploy
nected devices enter the marketplace the volume happens when a hacker sends so many requests malicious tools to hijack data, effectively locking
of available data will balloon. Yet those organiza- to a battalion of machines that the entire network out systems and devices, until a fee is paid. Since
tions creating devices and managing consumer goes down. In the past several years, the number cash and online bank transfers are easy to track,
data aren’t planning future scenarios. Off-the-shelf of DDoS attacks have spiked. The U.S. was hit with the currency of choice is now bitcoin, which moves
compliance checklists won’t cut it going forward. 122 million DDoS attacks between April – June 2017 through an encrypted system and can’t be traced.
Managers will need to develop and to continually up- alone. You may remember a massive cyber attack The emergence of the blockchain and cryptocurren-
date their security policies—and they’ll need to make that effectively turned off America’s internet—it ciues have transformed ransomware into a lucra-
the details transparent. Most organizations aren’t was caused by the Mirai botnet and infected Dyn, a tive business. Simply backing up your data prob-
devoting enough budget to securing their data and company that controls a large portion of the inter- ably won’t be enough of a failsafe going forward.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 069


TRENDS 035 - 054
039
New Infrastructure Targets
In 2018, cybercriminals will target critical infra-
structure and facilities around the world. For many
years, security experts have been warning that
hackers would be able to disable dams, power plants
and traffic lights, and now it seems as though our
day of reckoning is here. Late in 2017, security firm
FireEye discovered a new form of malware called
Triton, which had taken control of an energy plant
in the Middle East. In a separate attack, hackers
attacked Ukraine’s power grid using malware called
Industroyer. Cybersecurity company Symantec has
The WannaCry ransomware attack locked thousands of computers.
warned that hackers have already penetrated the
U.S. power grid, targeting staff at nuclear energy
facilities with phishing attacks. The U.S. Computer
Emergency Readiness Team issued a sternly-worded
Researchers have already found “doxware” floating
notice, but with no enforcement mechanism it’s clear
around the internet—rather than simply holding
that the companies and utilities managing our critical
your data hostage until you pay up, they threaten to
infrastructure haven’t yet been jolted into action.
publish it all to the web, for everyone to see.

040
038
Hacktivism On The Rise
Russia’s Gifted Hacker Community Grows
Hackers-turned-activists have had a busy few
Russia is home to the world’s most gifted and pro-
years, working for causes they believe in. They
lific hackers, who are motivated both by a lack of
launched DDoS attacks against governments, cor-
economic opportunity and weak law enforcement.
porations and banks. They infiltrated the campaigns
While people with the same skills sets could make
of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Hacktiv-
six-figure salaries in the West, they struggle to get
ist organizations, including Anonymous, WikiLeaks
by, receiving only a few hundred dollars a month
and DC Leaks, see themselves as durable forces
from Russian employers. Over time, this has cre-
of change. Glamourized by the TV show Mr. Robot,
ated a perfect storm: enormously talented people,
hacktivism is on the rise, and given heated political
weak laws and poor economic conditions have led to
tensions during a year in which many elections are
a growing pool of talented hackers. In the past two
being held, we’ll likely see more operations being
years, it’s become clear that Russia’s military and
carried out. Hacktivists will use their skills to help
government intelligence agencies are eager to put
shape local, state, national and international poli-
home-grown hackers to work, infiltrating the Demo-
tics, conversations and business practices.
cratic National Committee, Olympic organizations
and European election commissions.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 070


TRENDS 035 - 054
SECURITY CONT.
identity without actually revealing who you actu- a number of zero-day exploits. The HT breach
ally are. In essence, this eliminates the need for a helped to shine a light on a growing zero day mar-
041 company to store private identity data during the ketplace, with some exploits being sold for as much
Third-Party Verified Identities verification process. Zero-knowledge proofs aren’t as $500,000. Tools to exploit vulnerabilities will be
In the U.S., citizens must continually hand over new, but deploying them to protect our credit cards in greater demand throughout the near future.
their social security numbers for authentication. and online identities is an emerging application. JP-
But in the wake of last year’s massive Equifax data Morgan Chase is using zero-knowledge proofs for 045
breach, it has become clear that our social securi- its enterprise blockchain system, while cryptocur-
Backdoors
ty numbers—a single identifier used in everything rency startup Ethereum are using zero-knowledge
from our bank accounts, to our health insurance, for authentication. Irish startup Sedicii now has ze- In the wake of the deadly San Bernardino attack
even the university registrar–isn’t secure. Social ro-proof software in the marketplace. Researchers in December 2015, the FBI and Apple found them-
security numbers were never intended to be used at Microsoft and Princeton University are working selves debating so-called “backdoors” in public.
as general-purpose passwords. We will start to see on a zero-knowledge proof so that inspectors The FBI demanded that Apple unlock the assailant’s
the emergence of third-party, non-governmental can identify something such as a nuclear weapon phone, and Apple refused, arguing that creating a
providers of verified identities. One example that’s without requiring them to take it apart, which would software update to allow a backdoor would endan-
already in the marketplace is CLEAR, the trusted spread information about how to build one. ger the privacy of us all. It’s a debate that was nev-
traveler program that lets verified customers get er settled—and we’ll likely see more cases pitting
through airport security faster. government agencies against big tech companies
044
in the years to come. While they sound malicious,
Zero-Day Exploits On The Rise backdoors aren’t necessarily bad. Often, develop-
042 A zero-day vulnerability is a flaw—a problem within ers intentionally install them into firmware so that
Targeted Attacks on Digital Assistants a hardware or software system that developers manufacturers can safely upgrade our devices and
Now that digital assistants (DAs)—Alexa, Siri, Cor- didn’t discover during the testing process. That vul- operating systems. The challenge is that backdoors
tana, Google—have moved from the fringe to the nerability can be exploited by malware to cause all can also be used surreptitiously to harness every-
mainstream, we can expect to see targeted at- sorts of problems. Zero-days are dangerous, prized thing from our webcams to our personal data. Given
tacks. Whether they target the assistants or their tools and discovering them is a favorite activity of the rise of zero-day exploits, we should question
hardware (Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, Google malicious hackers. Once the flaw is revealed, pro- whether backdoors are the best way forward. Gov-
Home), it’s clear that the next frontier in hacking grammers have zero days to do anything about it. ernment officials worldwide have been advocating
are DAs. There are a number of zero-day exploits that have for a set of “golden keys,” which would allow law
been lying dormant for years—we learned about two enforcement to break through the security using
late in 2017. A flaw found on chips made by Intel backdoors. But even without public agreement,
043 some agencies may find their way into our ma-
and ARM led to the realization that virtually every
Zero-Knowledge Proofs Go Commercial Intel processor shipped since 1995 was vulnerable chines. In 2013, the U.S. National Security Agency
With all of the hacking scandals that have plagued to two new attacks called Spectre and Meltdown. made a deal with security company RSA to include a
us in the past several years, we will see a transition Earlier, the Italian spyware maker Hacking Team flawed algorithm, effectively giving the NSA a back-
to something called “zero-knowledge proofs,” which (HT) helped bring zero-days into the spotlight when door into various systems. The challenge is that
allows one party to verify data without conveying it was found selling commercial hacking software to the simple act of creating a backdoor would leave
any additional information (like how or why the law enforcement agencies in countries all over the ordinary people vulnerable to everyday attacks by a
mathematical statement is true). It’s a mind-bend- world. Data leaked from HT, along with a massive wide swath of actors, benevolent and malicious.
ing approach to security, allowing you to verify your dump of 400 gigabytes of internal emails, revealed

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 071


OPTIMISTIC REMOTE KILL SWITCH SCENARIO –
SMART ALARMS WILL SAVE LIVES
Amy Webb
During the 2018 power outage at the Consumer Electronics Show, hundreds of
attendees were wired in to various digital services—relaxation pods, self-driving
cars, virtual reality games. Since a lot of exhibitors at CES were also running
battery backups, those wired into some of the simulations had no idea what was
going on outside in the real world. As our technologies become more immersive,
remote kill switches will become necessary in the near future.
Imagine that you’re just getting over a head cold and you’re sitting in your bed-
room with the door closed, wearing a head mounted display and earphones, fully
immersed in a virtual world—when suddenly a fire breaks out in your kitchen. You
can’t hear the fire alarm, you don’t see flames and, because of your stuffy nose,
you don’t notice the smell of the smoke. In the future, a smart alarm will trigger
a remote kill switch in your VR system and help you get out of your house alive.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 072


TRENDS 035 - 054
SECURITY CONT.
DEF CON’s black badge, which is the hacking com- 049
046 munity’s equivalent of an Oscar. In 2018, we will see More Cyber Mission Forces in the Field
new techniques, advanced learning algorithms and
Remote Kill Switches In the summer of 2016, the U.S. military began
a strange new playing field. Very soon, malicious
As our technology becomes more immersive, we’ll deploying its Cyber Mission Force. These are units
actors will create autonomous systems capable of
have increased needs for remote kill switches. Kill of civilians and military personnel, and they are
automatically learning new environments, exposing
switches, found on smartphones and connected charged with protecting military networks from
vulnerabilities and flaws, and then exploiting them
devices, will soon come in handy for the enterprise cyber intrusions and our national infrastructure.
for gain—or whatever the stated objective, which
and for government agencies. Uber developed its Some of the units also support combat missions.
could simply be generalized mayhem.
own software program called Ripley that could be The force became fully operational a year ahead of
activated by staff in San Francisco, should any of schedule—but many within the mission argue that to
048 fully realize its potential, a different organizational
its overseas offices be raided by police. It also de-
ployed uLocker, a remote kill switch that could lock Offensive Government Hacking approach is necessary. The current structure and
all company devices, including laptops and phones. In the wake of several hacking attacks during titles in the military don’t mesh with the realities of
On the consumer side, both Apple and Android now elections around the world, several government cybersecurity and how hacker networks operate.
allow users to remotely wipe all the information agencies are now making public their plans to hack
on their phones and tablets using a web interface. offensively. The U.K.’s National Health Service has 050
The benefit would come with a cost, however. Kill started hiring white hat (benevolent) hackers to Strange Computer Glitches Will Keep Happening
switches would mean that nobody could gain access safeguard it against another ransomware attack
to what’s inside a lost or stolen phone—not even law Glitches are problems that don’t have an immediate,
like WannaCry, which took the nation’s health care
enforcement. obvious cause but nonetheless can cause frustrat-
system offline and resulted in diverted ambulances
ing problems. Tesla missed its 2017 Q4 delivery tar-
during medical emergencies. Singapore’s Ministry
get for its Model 3 due, in part, to technical glitches
047 of Defense is hiring white hat hackers and security
on the assembly lines. In the past year, Barclays,
experts to look for critical vulnerabilities in its gov-
AI-Powered Automated Hacking JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and HSBC all
ernment and infrastructure systems. In the U.S.,
Thanks to advancements in AI, one of the big trends experienced technical glitches that prevented cus-
the two agencies responsible for cyberwarfare—the
in security is automated hacking—in short, soft- tomers from accessing account information, and in
U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security
ware that’s built to out-hack the human hackers. some cases, wouldn’t allow them to made deposits
Agency—are playing offense, especially as artificial
The Pentagon’s research agency DARPA launched a or withdraw money. Spaceflight startup Rocket Lab
intelligence becomes a focus for U.S. cyber strat-
Cyber Grand Challenge project in 2016, with a mis- failed to launch during a 10-day window due to un-
egy. Both are looking to a future in which artificial
sion to design computer systems capable of beating foreseen technical glitches. Glitches often have to
intelligence enhances offensive operations and re-
hackers at their own game. DARPA wanted to show do with degraded network connectivity or a miscal-
places human troops—but in the meantime, there’s
that smarter automated systems can reduce the culation of the bandwidth needed. But a lot of times,
a shortage of gifted hackers willing to join govern-
response time—and develop fixes in system flaws— glitches result from newer technologies, which we
ment ranks. That’s due in part to a bad public image
to just a few seconds. Spotting and fixing critical are learning break in unexpected ways.
in the wake of Edward Snowden. However since the
vulnerabilities is a task that might take a human U.S. is already facing a severe shortage of cyber-
hacker several months or even years to complete, security workers—upwards of 270,000 jobs are still
and yet the machine that won the Grand Challenge unfilled—skilled hackers can command lots of perks
proved its might in just a fraction of the time. The and big paychecks outside of the government.
winner became the first non-human entity to earn

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 073


TRENDS 035 - 054
cies gain popularity and as the ecosystem blossoms MasterCard now offers selfie-scans: at the check-
to include more than just Bitcoin, we’re likely to see out, users can hold up their phones to pay with
more activity in darknets. Activists with legitimate their faces. Faceprints are the new fingerprints.
concerns will advocate for new layers of protection, But it does raise an interesting question about the
while law enforcement will receive training on how security of biometric databases. It’s easy to change
to navigate the dark web. For government and law your password if you get hacked. How could you
enforcement, the challenge of training is that it is possibly replace your face, when the system’s been
static. Those accessing darknets are typically also designed to recognize your unique musculature and
the ones building them. bone structure using thousands of data points?

052 054
New Open Source App Vulnerabilities Bounty Programs
Hackers attacked Ukraine’s power grid using malware called
In 2017, a data scientist revealed a new kind of The past several years have been dramatical-
Industroyer.
malware capable of infecting OpenAI Gym, Elon ly successful for hackers. Security expert Brian
Musk’s open-source toolkit for machine learning Krebs says that the “market for finding, stockpiling
algorithms. It’s just one example of a booming mar- and hoarding (keeping secret) software flaws is
051 ket for malicious tools that exploit vulnerabilities in expanding rapidly” and went so far as to advocate
Proliferation of Darknets, Aided By Cryptocurrencies open source applications and software. As the AI for a compulsory bounty program. In response,
ecosystem grows to incorporate more open source a number of white hat (read: good hacker) bug
Many people confuse the deep web—hidden parts of code and community-built tools, it will be especially bounty programs are becoming popular. In some
the Internet that aren’t usually indexed by search important to spot problems in advance. Many orga- cases, businesses solicit friendly hackers for paid
engines—with darknets, which are niche spaces nizations use open source tools, and in the coming work through platforms like HackerOne, which is
promising anonymity often for illegal activities. years they will need to perform daily–not occasion- being used by the U.S. Department of Defense,
People go there to sell and buy drugs, guns, am- al–security checks. Wordpress, Coinbase, Shopify and GitHub. The DoD
munition, security exploits (malware, ransomware) launched programs this year, including Hack the
and your hacked data (passwords, credit card Army, Hack the Pengaton and Hack the Air Force,
numbers and more). Cryptocurrencies have fueled 053
for the purpose of revealing problems. (It paid out
activity in the dark corners of the internet, since Selfie Security Using Faceprints
$10,000 to two hackers, which was an unprece-
they’re encrypted and make tracking transactions In 2011, the Future Today Institute forecast that dented fee paid by the government for this kind of
nearly impossible. You can’t just hop on to a darknet within five years, we would see the advent of two work).
the way you Google your high school sweetheart. or three-factor authentication using a combination
To access the hidden crime bazaars, you need of biometrics and gestures instead of passwords.
special software such as Tor or Freenet, you need Our timing was correct: in an effort to combat weak
to know where you’re headed, and you do need a passwords (and weak password encryption), many
bit of technical knowledge. It isn’t illegal to take a companies are now using two-factor sign-ins that
walk through dark marketplaces. But there’s plenty sidestep passwords entirely. Apple owns a patent
of good activity that takes place: whistleblowers for “low threshold face recognition,” which helps its
hoping to shine a light on wrongdoing, political iPhoneX recognize faceprints, even in poor lighting
dissidents looking for asylum, and investigative or if we change our hairstyles. Chinese company
journalists hunting down leads. As cryptocurren- Alibaba is using faceprints for payments, while

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 074


CATASTROPHIC SCENARIO FOR THE NEAR-FUTURE
OF FACEPRINTS
Amy Webb

It’s easy to change your password if you get hacked. How


could you possibly replace your face, when the system’s
been designed to recognize your unique musculature and
bone structure using thousands of data points?

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 075


HACKER TERMS AND
Cookie
A small file sent from your computer’s web browser to
a server. Cookies help websites recognize you when you
return, and they also help third parties track audience.

LINGO YOU NEED Cracking


A basic term that describes breaking into a security sys-
tem. Anyone “cracking” a system is doing so maliciously.

TO KNOW FOR 2018


Crypto
Cryptography (or “crypto”) is the art and science of
encrypting data—as well as breaking encryption.

Deep web/net and Dark web/ net


The deep and dark net/web are actually two different
things, though they’re often conflated. The deep net or
Adware Bot deep web is the vast trove of data that isn’t indexed by
Software that automatically generates online ads; it can Bots are automated programs that performs a simple search engines. Spreadsheets, databases and more
also include spyware that tracks your browsing habits. task. Some—simple chatbots, for example—are complete- that are stored on servers make up this space. The dark
It’s because of adware that many people are turning to ly harmless. Other bots can be programmed to repeat- web/ net is made up of sites that are invisible unless you
ad blocking software. (See the earlier “Blocking the Ad edly guess passwords so that a hacker can break into a know how to use a special network, such as Tor, which
Blockers” trend). website. knows how to find the dark side. Once there, you’ll find
what you might expect: pirated software and content,
Anonymous Botnet job ads for hackers, illegal drugs, human trafficking, and
A collective of hackers, best known for its use of the A botnet is a group of computers that are being con-
worse.
Guy Fawkes mask and distributed denial of service trolled by a third party, and are being used for any
(DDoS) attacks. Anonymous typically uses the hashtag number of nefarious purposes. For example, malware Denial of service attack (DoS)
#Ops when announcing a new campaign. Past ops in- installed on your computer can run, undetected, in the This is when a hacker sends so many requests to a web-
cluded a takedown of the Church of Scientology and the background while hackers use your machine as part of a site or network that the traffic temporarily overwhelms
Westboro Baptist Church. large spamming network. the servers, and the site or network goes down.
Attribution Brute force attack Distributed denial of service attack (DDoS)
Researching and tracking back the origins of an attack. This type of attack is a laborious, methodical process This is a DoS using a battalion of machines.
where a hacker uses software to automatically guess
Backdoor every password it can to gain unauthorized entry into a DEF CON
Developers intentionally install backdoors into firmware network or computer. This is a big, annual conference for hackers that at-
so that manufacturers can safely upgrade our devices tracts people from all over the world. Discussions range
and operating systems. The challenge is that backdoors Bug from highly technical and academic to those about poli-
can also be used surreptitiously to harness everything A flaw or problem in a program that can be harmless or cy. It takes place in Las Vegas every August.
from our webcams to our personal data. might allow hackers to exploit a system.
Digital certificate
Black hat Compiler These authenticate and approve the identity of a person,
A malicious hacker; someone who hacks for personal A program that translates source code into executable organization or service.
gain. machine language. Compilers are used to surreptitiously
allow hackers into various systems without changing Doxing
the source code, making it easier for them to get into a When hackers root out and publish personally-identifying
computer or network without being noticed. information about someone online.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 076


HACKER TERMS AND LINGO YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR 2018.
Dump Honeypot
Password managers
The term for a trove of data released by hackers. A system or network designed to look like a high-value
These are third-party tools that you entrust your pass-
target, but was instead built to watch hackers do their
Dumpster diving words to. Just remember one master password, and
work and learn from their techniques.
Organizations and individuals who don’t consistently use use it to unlock a database of all your other passwords,
a shredder are opening themselves to dumpster diving, InfoSec which should allow you to use a completely different
which is exactly what it sounds like: hackers go through This is an abbreviation for “information security.” Com- password for every site and service you use. While man-
garbage looking for any information that will help with panies and professions that work within cybersecurity agers are a good idea in theory, many are cloud-based.
an exploit. are known as InfoSec. If a hacker gains access to your password manager,
you’re in big trouble. If you do use one, make sure to use
Encryption IRC complicated password at least 36 characters long with
Using special code or software to scramble data so that Internet relay chat protocol (IRC) has been around for- lots of special characters, numbers and capital letters.
it cannot be read by a third party, even if it is intercept- ever. It’s the communication system used to have con-
ed. versations and share files, and it’s still used by hackers. Patch
An after-market fix to address vulnerabilities.
End-to-end encryption Jailbreak
When an encrypted message is scrambled on both ends, A way of removing the restrictive manufacturer’s code Payload
as it is sent and again as it is received. from a device so that you can reprogram it to function The part of a computer virus that is responsible for
as you desire. the primary action, such as destroying data or stealing
Exploit information.
The general term for leveraging a vulnerability in a piece Keys
of code, software, hardware or computer network. The code that, just like a physical key, is used to lock or Penetration testing
unlock a system, encrypted message or software. The practice of trying to break into your own computer or
Firewall network, in order to test the strength of your security.
A system of software and hardware that’s designed to Lulz
prevent unauthorized access to a computer or computer A play on “lol” or “laughing out loud,” black hats often use PGP
network. the term “lulz” to justify malicious work. LulzSec (“lulz PGP stands for “Pretty Good Privacy,” and you’ve proba-
security”) is yet another offshoot of Anonymous, and it bly seen a lot of PGP numbers showing up in Twitter and
Grey hat was credited with the massive Sony Pictures hack. Facebook bios lately. PGP is a basic method of encrypt-
Hackers are just like the rest of us. Some have mali- ing email (and other data). In oder to receive and read
cious intent, others just want to fight the bad people, Malware the message, your intended recipient must use a private
and some...have a certain tolerance for moral flexibility. Any software program that’s been designed to manipu- key to decode it.
Gray hats will use the tools and sensibilities of a black late a system, by stealing information, augmenting code
hat in the pursuit of justice. or installing a rogue program. Rootkits, keyloggers, Phishing
spyware and everyday viruses are examples of malware. We’ve all seen a phishing attack at least once. They
Hacker usually come in the form of an email from a trusted con-
This term means different things to different people. Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks tact. Once you open the message or attachment, your
People who tinker with code, to purposely manipulate it, This occurs when a hacker impersonates a trusted con- computer, your data and the network you’re on become
are hackers. Some are good, and some are bad. In pop- nection in order to steal data or information or to alter vulnerable to attach.
ular culture, “hacker” has taken on a distinctly negative communications between two or more people.
connotation. Plaintext
Metadata This is text without any formatting. In the context of
Hactivist This is the data that explains what’s in another set of cybersecurity, it also refers to text that isn’t encrypted.
Someone who hacks for social or political reasons. data, such as a jpeg photo, or an email, or a webpage. Sony Pictures storing its passwords and email addresses
in a basic Excel spreadsheet is an example of plaintext.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 077


HACKER TERMS AND LINGO YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR 2018.
Pwned Spearphishing White hat
South Park fans will remember Cartman using this word. A more targeted form of phishing to smaller groups, Not all hackers are bad. White hats work on highlight-
It’s geek speak for “dominate.” If you’ve been hacked, typically within social networks or work environments. ing vulnerabilities and bugs in order to fix them and
you’ve been pwned. protect us.
Spoofing
RAT In general, anytime data is changed to mimic a trusted Worm
RATs are Remote Access Tool. If you’ve used a remote source, it’s being spoofed. Changing the “From” section Worms are a certain kind of invasive malware that
login service to access your office computer while away or header of an email to make it look as though it was spreads like a virus.
from work, you’ve used a RAT. But RATs can be mali- sent by someone else. Black hats spoof emails by im-
cious, too. Just imagine a hacker using a RAT to take personating people you know, and then launch phishing Zero-day exploits
over your workstation. attacks. In the hacking community, zero days (also written as
“0day”) are prized tools because they are undisclosed
Ransomware Token vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Once the flaw is
This is malware that allows a hacker to break into your A small physical device that allows a trusted, authenti- revealed, programmers have zero days to do anything
computer or network and then take away your access cated user to use a service. Tokens are stronger than about it.
until you pay a specified fee or perform a certain action. passwords alone, since they require both the password
and the physical device to gain access. Zombie
Root Just like the White Walkers in Game of Thrones, but ma-
The root is the central nervous system of a computer or Tor chines! A computer, connected device or network that’s
network. It can install new applications, create files, de- The Onion Router, otherwise known as “Tor,” was origi- been infected by malware and is now being used by the
lete user accounts and the like. Anyone with root access nally developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory hacker, probably without your knowledge.
has ubiquitous and unfettered access. to route traffic in random patterns so as to confuse
anyone trying to trace individual users. The Tor Project
Rootkit is the nonprofit now in charge of maintaining Tor, which
Rootkits are malware designed for root access. Often is used by both white and black hackers, as well as jour-
undetected, rootkits start running when you start your nalists and security experts.
computer, and they stay running until you turn your
machine off. Verification
Ensuring that data, and its originators, are authentic.
Shodan
In Japan, a “shodan” is considered the first degree Virtual Private Networks
(read: lowest level) of mastery. In cyberspace, Shodan is Virtual Private Networks, or “VPNs,” use encryption to
a search engine for connected devices, allowing hackers create a private channel for accessing the internet.
access to baby monitors, medical devices, thermostats VPNs are necessary when connecting to public net-
and any other connected device. It’s intended to help works—even those at airports, hotels and coffee shops.
people learn how to secure their devices, but obviously it
can also be used against them. (See http://shodan.io). Virus
Malware intended to steal, delete or ransom your files.
Sniffing Mimicking the flu, this type of malware spreads like a
When you were a kid, if you drove around your neighbor- virus.
hood looking for open WiFi networks, you probably used
a little device or a special computer program. Those are Vulnerability
examples of sniffers, which are designed to find signals A weakness in computer software the hackers can ex-
and data without being detected. ploit for their own gain.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 078


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FIFTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

PRIVACY INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

055- 071
Key Insight 055
The General Data Protection Regulation Takes Effect
debate over consumer rights will heat up in 2018:
should consumers be given the right to eavesdrop
on what their own devices are saying, and who else
Americans express a consistent lack
Sweeping changes to data privacy regulations take is listening in?
of confidence about the security of effect in the European Union this year. Dubbed the
everyday communication channels and the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR), the
organizations that control them – particularly new rules affect how companies can collect and Should consumers be given
use customer data. Those who don’t comply will
when it comes to the use of technology. face hefty fines and litigation. The GDPR applies to
the right to eavesdrop on what
And they cite a deep lack of faith in the everyone who uses customer data, regardless of their own devices are saying,
organizations charged with protecting the where in the world you are.
and who else is listening in?
personal information they collect. While
056
three-quarters of Americans say that it’s
Right To Eavesdrop/ Be Eavesdropped On 057
important they know who’s in control of their
As we connect more and more devices to the In- Defining What Constitutes Online Harassment
data, most struggle to understand the nature ternet of Things—fitness trackers, mobile phones,
and scope of data that’s being collected. Fully cars, coffee makers—those devices are having The #MeToo movement brought to light thousands
extended interactions with each other and the of stories of sexual harassment and resulted in
91% of adults agree that consumers have the outing of more than a dozen high-profile men
companies who make them. Our devices aren’t just
lost control of how personal information is talking to each other anymore. They’re talking to throughout 2017. A shared Google document,
collected and used by third parties.2 one another, learning about us, and starting to talk dubbed “The Shitty Media Men List,” was at one
about us. Increasingly, consumers are being left out point circulating among female journalists, who
of the conversation, unable to listen in and make entered the details of men who have sexually
2
Pew Research Center, “The state of privacy in post-Snowden America,”
last accessed January 10, 2018. sense of how their data is exchanging hands. A harassed women in the real world. When the list

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TRENDS 055 - 071
titious looks at their friends, family and neighbors. the press. WikiLeaks continued dumping informa-
(See also: Drones Section). tion on the internet. Political activists prevented
leaks from other political activists from entering
059 the public. While many people seem eager to find
and share information—not everyone agrees on
Personal and One-To-Few Networks
what should be published, and by whom. The most
Personal networks are gaining momentum, though famous leak in modern history happened when
they are not new. Many closed networks have failed former National Security Agency contractor
to find a strong base of users. However, in reaction Edward Snowden leaked thousands of sensitive
to revelations about social media hacks and gov- government documents. U.S. Army Private Chelsea
ernment-sponsored surveillance programs world- (formerly Bradley) Manning uploaded a mountain
wide, private networks will gain momentum during of classified military and diplomatic documents to
the coming year. Journalists and others concerned WikiLeaks, which has become the politically-em-
Sweeping changes to data privacy regulations take effect in the about who might be looking through their email battled bastion for leakers. The U.S. government
European Union this year. have switched over to Signal, which is an encrypted officially accused Russia of hacking into the Demo-
network for small groups, while uProxy is a peer- cratic National Committee and releasing sensitive
to-peer proxy tool allowing users access to the emails. Meanwhile, the International Consortium of
was leaked, some pointed the finger at the women, open internet from repressive countries. In 2015, Investigative Journalists—a collaboration between
arguing that they were committing acts of online BitTorrent released a public beta of Project Mael- 370 journalists from 76 countries—who spent a
harassment simply by contributing to it. It’s clear strom, a web browser built on the same underlying year reporting on a massive cache of 11.5 million
that we don’t yet have clear definitions for what technology as BitTorrent. The idea was a distrib- leaked records showing the offshore holdings of
constitutes harassment. In the years ahead, we will uted internet system, circumventing traditional 140 politicians from around the world, 12 current
continue to wrestle with what behavior is accept- webhosts—and government agencies. Not too long and former world leaders, and more. The records,
able in virtual gaming worlds, in social media, in our after it launched, there was a major shakeup within known as a the “Panama Papers,” were sent from
mobile exchanges, and in general digital discourse. the company, so Maelstrom never had the chance a little-known law firm in Panama. In the summer of
to gain momentum. The site may be down, but the 2017, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security
idea is very much alive, especially in the wake of and Governmental Affairs issued a report entitled
058 net neutrality rollbacks in the U.S., since a distrib- “State Secrets: How an Avalanche of Media Leaks
Drone Surveillance uted browser system could prevent an ISP from Is Harming National Security” and cited 125 stories
Drones are now coming in all shapes and sizes, and throttling certain sites or users. In the social media with leaked information that the committee consid-
they can be used in a variety of settings for sur- category, keep watch on Alively, a private network ered damaging to national security. You can expect
veillance. Advanced camera technology can cap- to share videos started by Facebook’s former Face- to see more coordinated leaking efforts in the year
ture photos and video from 1,000 feet away, while book Live product manager, and MeWe, which offers ahead.
machine learning software can remotely identify private social networking and file sharing.
who we are and lock on to our bodies as we move 061
around–all without our knowledge. Interconnected 060 Blocking the Ad Blockers
drones will enable the mass tracking of people at Leaking
concerts, vehicles on the highway, amusement park Ad blockers are software that automagically re-
attendees—which we may already expect from law 2017 was the year of leaks, and given our cur- move ads from webpages. People who use ad block-
enforcement. What’s new for 2018 is that consum- rent political climate, we expect to see far more ers are doing so either because ads slow down a
ers will soon be able to use their drones for surrep- tech-enabled leaks in the coming year. Presidents site’s loading time, or because the ads served are
accused staff of leaking confidential information to offensive, inappropriate for kids, or aren’t safe

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PRIVACY CONT. company should consider itself a target. And in 2018,
every election committee and campaign team should
for the workplace. In 2018, Google will launch its take added measures to safeguard digital security.
Better Ads Experience Program, which includes a
native ad blocker built inside of Chrome. This should 063
have a profound ripple effect throughout the digital Anonymity
advertising and publishing world, since Chrome
accounts for more than half of the browser global Anonymity is one of the digital trends we’ve been
market share—it has significantly more users than tracking as it has evolved during the past decade.
Safari and Firefox combined. Everyday users won’t The world needs anonymity, as it enables whis-
be subjected to those annoying pop-ups, auto-play tleblowers to come forward, and it shields those
ads and prestitials with countdowns—websites who otherwise might be persecuted for their
who don’t comply will wind up with all of their ads beliefs. Digital anonymity allows us to band together
blocked. But new research suggests that web- in times of need, whether that’s to raise money for The “Shitty Media Men” list demonstrated that we don’t yet have
sites may just deploy advanced anti-adblockers, a good cause or to push back against injustices. clear definitions for what constitutes harassment.
by dynamically rewriting the JavaScript code that However, just as FTI forecast earlier, anonymity
verifies a clean site. also means it’s easier to leak sensitive information,
troll social media users, and leave disparaging or 065
libelous comments all over the internet. In 2015, we
062 forecast that most anonymous sharing apps won’t Differential Privacy
Organizational Doxing survive—indeed, Secret shut down, while Yik Yak Consumers share vast amounts of their data, most
“Doxing” is mining and publishing personal infor- came under fire for allowing cyber-bullying and for often without realizing it. The free email services,
mation about a person—“organizational doxing” is failing to prove that users real identities really are mobile games, online storage—it all comes at a cost.
when this happens to an entire company. It’s a term being protected. Our desire to post content anony- Providers get unfettered access to customer data,
introduced by security expert Bruce Schneier. This mously won’t abate, even as our desire for verifica- which they can monetize by advertising back to con-
isn’t about stealing credit card information, but tion grows. sumers, or packaging that data for others. In the
rather about making public the personal details of near-future, it should be possible to anonymize our
individuals, either to protest against policies, to 064 data while still providing a benefit to those compa-
embarrass companies or to blackmail companies nies whose free services consumers now rely on.
Authenticity It’s a technique called differential privacy, and it
into paying big ransoms to hackers. When WikiLeaks
published emails stolen from the Democratic Nation- Sometimes a trend becomes so powerful—like uses an algorithm to scramble data so that it can-
al Committee, it revealed troves of personal data digital anonymity—that it causes a fork, a divergent not be traced back to each individual. Differential
and committee secrets causing embarrassment, trend. As a result, we are now seeing new networks privacy is typically used alongside machine learning
some high-profile people lost their jobs, and it may and services launch that offer verification and au- to study a large group in order to spot emerging
have helped torpedo Hillary Clinton’s run for office. thenticity, proving that the content and sources are trends, and the next evolution of it—homomorphic
It’s one example of organizational doxing, but there reliable and accurate, even if they are anonymous. encryption—would allow a third party to submit an
have been several others in recent years: hackers We also expect to see changes made within social encrypted query and retrieve an encrypted result,
stole and published the personal information of 37 networks, which will prioritize accounts and posts obscuring the individual user (or users) along the
million AshleyMadison.com users and the North that come from credible sources. way. Microsoft and Google have been researching
Korean government stole and published an epic trove how to use these techniques for better security in
of corporate email from Sony Pictures. Every large the cloud, while Apple now uses differential privacy

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 081


TRENDS 055 - 071
tem isn’t keeping pace with technology, so we lack
norms, standards and caselaw on how data col-
lected from and produced by our wearables can be
used. To date, Fitbits, pacemakers, and smartwatch-
es have been used as evidence. In the U.S., judges
get to decide whether to allow data from wearable
devices—or whether individuals still have a reason-
able expectation of privacy if they’ve been actively
sharing their fitness stats on Instagram. In Germa-
ny, a murder suspect’s iPhone was used to corrob-
orate police theories that he’d dragged his victim
down a flight of stairs and dumped the body into a
river nearby. Data from the iOS Health App showed
that just after the murder took place, he was moving
down a flight of stairs in the same location.

068
SWATting at Trolls
Trolls are everywhere online—they’ve become
inescapable. 2017 seems to have brought out the
worst in us all. Politics, taxes, immigration, racism,
Project HyperFace is specialized fabric that confuses computer vision algorithms. homophobia and sexism led to hateful images, mes-
sages and videos being posted all over the internet.
Even the trolls got trolled. Blogger Milo Yiannopou-
to study our data so that it can shore up its operat- misclassification,” confusing the algorithms. The los, controversial for his far-right views, became
ing system and networks. What the company learns glasses succeeded in tests against the powerful famous for harassing people on Twitter. After a
will eventually trickle back down to users in the VGG and OpenFace deep neural network systems. A series of incendiary comments, which included a
form of more secure mobile systems. With the EU’s project called HyperFace showed that a specialized defense of pedophilia, he found himself besieged by
General Data Protection Regulation laws going pattern could be printed onto a hoodie to similarly an angry swarm of people and internet bots. You-
into effect this year, differential privacy will likely confuse computer vision algorithms. Tube star Logan Paul lampooned a suicide in Japan
emerge as the new normal. and his apology landed on deaf ears, as social media
067 users worldwide descended to attack. His business
066 Digital Self-Incrimination deals were suspended, series he had in the works
Anti-Recognition Cammo and Glasses were canceled, and his digital influencer’s channel
Fully 25% of Americans now own some kind of wear- was removed from Google’s Preferred premium
In response to our increasingly surveilled societies, able device, and we expect that a third of Americans advertising program.
some startups are developing specialized stickers, will own and use at least one wearable by 2022.
fabrics and glasses to help fool smart tracking Whether it’s a connected fitness device, a smart Our behavior online is seeping into the real world.
systems. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and at earphone, or a pair of smart glasses, consumers In 2017, gamer Tyler Barriss marketed himself as
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are will find themselves continuously monitoring—and a middleman to gamers wanting to take revenge
have built a special pair of glasses that “facilitate being monitored—by third parties. Our legal sys- by “swatting” for hire—prank calling in the kinds of

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 082


TRENDS 055 - 071
PRIVACY CONT. legislation throughout Europe, revenge porn cases
are still on the rise.
attacks that result in local police forces sending in
their SWAT teams. Barriss made a prank call to po- 070
lice in Witchita, Kansas, claiming that he’d murdered Eye In The Sky
his father and that he was holding others hostage—
but he accidentally gave them the address of an Beginning in January 2016, Baltimore police de-
innocent family, rather than the gamer he’d been ployed “wide-area surveillance” run by Ohio-based
hired to harass. The SWAT team showed up and Persistent Surveillance Systems. Aircraft carrying
opened fire, killing one. Without significant behav- high-resolution cameras fly over the city contin-
ioral changes, darker days are ahead. There may uously for up to 10 hours at a time, photograph a
be a tiny bit of light: one of Alphabet’s tech accel- 30-square-mile radius, and then send that informa-
erators, Jigsaw, has launched a number of projects tion back down to analysts on the ground. Wide-
hoping to make the internet safer, including Conver- area motion imagery technology allows police to Signal is an encrypted network for small groups.
sation AI and Perspective, which are tools intended surreptitiously track any person or vehicle within
to use machine learning to identify the language of the area, and it’s been requested by the Miami-Dade
abuse and harassment. Police Department and in cities elsewhere in the
world. The ACLU and a number of privacy experts
where we show the image to multiple law enforce-
have asked for a review of the system, citing the
ment officers and hope that someone recognizes the
SWATting: Prank calling in the infringement of constitutional rights.
suspect. This time, we ran the image through our
kinds of attacks that result in 071
facial recognition system and got four hits with more
than 80% similarity according to Amazon Rekog-
local police forces sending in Law Enforcement Using Recognition Algorithms nition. We noticed that one of the men looked very
To ID Faces familiar to us. We gave his name to the detective in
their SWAT teams. charge of the investigation. The detective did a quick
The Washington County (Oregon) Sheriff’s Office
search of Facebook and found a picture of him. In
has deployed facial recognition databases capable
that picture, we noticed many facial similarities. The
069 of figuring out whether someone’s ever been in
best part? He was wearing the same hoodie as the
the county jail—simply by scanning their face. The
Revenge Porn man captured on camera who was suspected of the
software was built using Amazon’s Rekognition,
As of publication, 38 states and the District of Co- theft.” Nationally, the FBI’s Next Generation Identi-
and image and video analysis engine that stores the
lumbia now have revenge porn laws in the U.S., yet fication Interstate Photo System, or NIG-IPS, is a
County’s repository of mugshots in Amazon’s cloud.
that hasn’t stopped the spread of hateful videos. giant database storing more than 30 million photos
In a blog post about the system, an information
Last year, we learned that hundreds of U.S. Ma- to support criminal investigations. Machine learning
systems analyst from the Sheriff’s Office writes:
rines had been sharing nude photos of female ser- algorithms are deployed to find and compare those
“Early in 2017, an unknown suspect visited a hard-
vice members from every branch of the military via photos to people who are thought to commit crimes.
ware store, filled a basket with expensive items, and
a private Facebook group and on an image-sharing There’s an obvious privacy concern: not everyone
scanned them at the self-checkout kiosk. Before
message board called AnonIB. Staff within the U.S. in the database is a criminal, and machines don’t
finishing the checkout process, the suspect picked
Senate, the U.S. Navy, and even President Donald always get matches right. They’re more likely to mis-
up the merchandise and walked out of the store. The
Trump’s Executive Office have accessed revenge read people of color than caucasians.
checkout kiosk’s camera captured a great shot of
porn websites. In the U.S., there is no national law him. Typically, this would initiate a manual process
banning revenge porn. Even with new and proposed

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 083


TRENDS 072 - 075
TENTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

DATA INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

072- 075
Consumers use their fingerprints and faces to unlock systems
and devices.

Key Insight 072 staff or consumers to make legitimate use out of


the data. In the near-future, companies will need
Data is a very large trend category with Data Retention Policies
to devote serious resources into shoring up their
numerous stakeholders, applications and Many organizations—from financial institutions to digital security, or risk losing millions of dollars
emerging ideas. In the coming year, Big universities, hospitals, veterinarians, churches, cleaning up after a breach.
Data will continue to be a buzzword and a Fortune 500 companies and beyond—store data for
compliance, business or customer convenience. In
trend throughout many industries and fields. 074
the year ahead, every organization will need to ad-
From collecting it to parsing it and making dress best practices in data retention, with an eye Who Owns Your Personal, Biometric Data?
it easier to search, we will continue to see toward security. You would be surprised to know Consumers use their fingerprints and faces to
lots of developments in 2018. Businesses how few organizations have responsive data reten- unlock their phones. They share their heartbeats
will want access to analytics tools in order tion policies that are updated according to security and steps with their fitness trackers. As our de-
to make important business decisions, while issues—and for that matter, how many organiza- vices become smarter, they’ll start collecting even
government agencies will rely on data to tions don’t have policies at all. more personal biometric data. But who actually
owns the rights to your biometric information? Is
determine funding for various programs. it a commodity that can be legally bought and sold
Consumers have become more aware how 073
without your permission? In the U.S., biometric data
much personal data they’re creating—and Encryption Management
falls under a bunch of different state and federal
who has access to it. Here are some data- We’ve seen dozens of big attacks in the past 24 regulations, and the issue will likely head to court
related trends worth tracking in 2018. months, and yet many of the organizations we in the near-future. That’s because of professional
entrust with our data are either not using encryp- athletes—and in particular the National Football
tion or are using tools that are out of date. Hackers League Players Association—who are making sure
know this, so we should expect more attacks in the that professional athletes get a say in who owns
coming year. While encrypting data makes it hard- their data, how it can be shared outside the teams,
er to hack, encryption can also make it harder for and whether it can be used to earn a profit.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 084


075
Global Data Scientist Shortages
“Data scientist” used to be a job that no one want-
ed, yet now it’s one of the most sought-after
positions. There just aren’t enough skilled data
scientists to fulfill all the work available—some es-
timates show a 50% gap between upcoming supply
and demand. Industries including pharmaceuticals,
finance, insurance, aerospace, foundations, gov-
ernment and travel are all in need of employees who
know how to work with the troves of data they’re
collecting. As a result, we’re facing a data scientist
shortage. As the needs for data scientists spike,
we’re going to either have to retrain wide swaths
of workers or wait for the next generation of skilled
workers to graduate from college. Some universi-
ties, seeing workforce needs changing, will launch
new graduate programs and centers in data sci-
ence. Ethics and diversity will hopefully be a man-
datory part of those programs, so that our future
data scientists are aware of possible algorithmic
discrimination and problematic data training sets.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 085


ADVANCED
ROBOTICS
076 Self-Assembling Robots
077 Robot Compilers
078 Molecular Robotics
079 Collaborative Robotics
080 Ethical Manufacturing
081 Soft Robotics
082 Human-Machine Interfaces
083 Smart Dust
084 Personal Robots and Butlers
085 Robot Abuse
086 3D Printing
TREND 076
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Self-Assembling INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Robots KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

076
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Robots at the Harvard University Self-Organizing Systems Re-


search Group take turns assembling for action.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


A new generation of robots are capable of self-as- Self-assembling robots offer a host of possibili- MIT CSAIL; Georgia Institute of Technology; Peking
sembly, enabling them to merge, split and repair ties for medicine, manufacturing, construction and University.
themselves. We’ll eventually ingest them to deliver the military. When it comes to applications for the
medications—and they’ll find work on construction future of health, CSAIL director Daniela Rus said
sites and factory floors. her team imagines “robots like this could become
mini-surgeons, squished into a pill that you swal-
Examples low.” Because magnetic fields are able to transmit
The MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelli- through our bodies without harming us, future
gence Laboratory (CSAIL) recently debuted Prim- surgeons could ask patients to ingest nanobots and
er, a tiny self-assembling robot that is controlled then direct them magnetically in order to deliver
by magnetic fields. The team has built a tiny robot targeted therapies.
that seems to act much like video game avatars:
it can put on exoskeleton parts to help it walk, roll,
sail or glide better, depending on the environment.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology
and at Peking University (China) discovered a new
technique that mimics automatic origami—in initial
testing, structures were able to fold and unfold on
their own using inexpensive liquid polymers and LED
projector bulbs.

3
“Shape-shifting origami robot swaps bodies to roll, swim or walk,”
New Scientist. Last accessed January 10, 2018.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 087


TREND 077
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
Robot INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE
Compilers

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

077
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

In the future, we’ll tell computer systems what tasks we need


completed, and they will automatically fabricate new robots for
the job.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Today, the process of designing, programming and Since fabricating programmable robots isn’t exactly MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence
building robots is time intensive—and the capabili- a simple, DIY weekend project, research into robot Laboratory (CSAIL); University of Pennsylvania;
ties are limited by the original specifications. In the compilers is incredibly promising—it could enable Harvard University.
future, advanced compilers will enable much faster people with limited technical knowledge to sketch,
conceptualization and fabrication for a host of dif- design, print, fabricate and control a robot from
ferent tasks. their imagination. There are also tangible appli-
cations for the enterprise: robot compilers would
Examples offer greater efficiencies, big cost savings and
Researchers from the MIT Computer Science and increased production for manufacturers in every
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Universi- industry.
ty of Pennsylvania and Harvard have been working
to develop new methods for rapid robot fabrication.
In 2016, they published their findings: 3D robotic
systems can be produced using basic software and
programmed using natural language commands.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 088


TREND 078
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Molecular INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Robotics KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
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078
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

A molecular robot consisting of biomolecules, such as DNA and


protein, has now been developed by a team of scientists at To-
hoku University in Japan.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


DNA can be used to make robots—but the process A team of scientists at Arizona State University Harvard University; Arizona State University; Johns
isn’t easy. and at Harvard are creating single-stranded origa- Hopkins University; Stanford University; University
mi shapes using one long strand of DNA—which is of Cambridge; Imperial College London; Nanyang
Examples capable of self-folding. It turns out that RNA can be Technical University; Georgia Institute of Technol-
Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically In- used, too—and both can be produced inside of living ogy; Tsinghua University; Tohoku University; Da-
spired Engineering at Harvard University have dis- cells. Molecular robotics will someday be used on all na-Farber Cancer Institute; NuProbe; Ultivue; Office
covered that robots and our DNA share the ability life forms to provide targeted therapies as well as of Naval Research; U.S. Army Research Office;
to be programmed in order to perform tasks. Just genetic augmentation. National Science Foundation’s Expeditions in Com-
like our next-gen robots, molecules are capable puting Program.
of self-assembly, they can react to their environ-
ments and they can be programmed. The question
for 2018: how might we use molecular robots in the
future?

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 089


TREND 079
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
Collaborative INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE
Robotics

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

079
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The next generation of robots will work cooperatively.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Robots that communicate in real-time and cooper- In the near-future, collaborative robots will play a Amazon; Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; EPFL;
ate on projects make a strong team. key role in warehouses and distribution centers, Sapienza Università di Roma; University College
automating the tasks previously performed by hu- London; Carnegie Mellon University; MIT’s Inter-
Examples mans. There are a number of other immediate use active Robotics Group; SoftBank Group; SoftBank
Robots are now able to work together, as a team, cases: collaborative robots will help on construction Robotics Corporation; Ocado Technology; iRobot;
without human intervention. Under the European sites, in factories, and during military operations. In KUKA; SpaceX; Robotshop; Festo; Lockheed Martin;
Union’s Horizon2020 project, researchers at the the farther future, collaborative robots will under- Northrop Grumman; Raytheon; DARPA; Autonomous
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, EPFL, Sapienza pin fully-automated supply chains, logistics services Solutions; Energid Technologies; Boston Dynamics;
Università di Roma, and University College London and deliveries. Denso; Hitachi; Kawasaki Heavy Industries; Mit-
have developed an autonomous humanoid robot subishi Electric; ABB Robotics; Aethon Inc.; FANUC
assistant for engineers that interacts with other Robotics; EPSON Robotics; Seegrid; Toyota; Honda;
robots and can learn from its human coworkers. ULC Robotics; VEX Robotics; Yamaha; University of
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have Tokyo; Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
built collaborative robots that are designed to
work together. In their recent work, a robot named
Baxter is stationed at a table working on a project.
Once completed, another robot on the team—Co-
Bot—picks up the item and hands it to a human.
Teams of collaborative robots can communicate to
each other, on their own, about when to wait, when
to move, to carry out an activity, or even to ask
what to do.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 090


TREND 080
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Ethical Manufacturing INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
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080
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Sewbo robot created a complete garment without human


assistance.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Could robots bring the end of forced labor and lead Look for a number of new advancements in robot- National Association of Manufacturers, Alliance For
a new era of ethical manufacturing? ics that further reduce the need for human labor, American Manufacturing, Tesla, Sewbo, Carnegie
such as the Sewbo, which is similar to a traditional Mellon University; MIT’s Interactive Robotics Group;
Examples sewing machine but also has a smart robotic arm, Alphabet (Google); Amazon; ABB Robotics; Aethon
Recent advancements in robotics are proving that allowing it to both sew and assemble an item of Inc.; ULC Robotics.
soon, humans may no longer be required to perform clothing. Elon Musk’s giant Gigafactory will soon
labor-intensive manufacturing jobs. While this cer- employ hundreds of robotic arms and “automat-
tainly means that people will be out of certain kinds ed guided vehicles,” essentially mobile robots that
of work, it does imply the end of bonded, forced and transport items from one area to another.
child labor—not to mention slavery—which unfortu-
nately has become commonplace in places like China,
the Philippines and Bangladesh. In October 2016, a
Canadian court allowed a lawsuit brought by Eritrean
workers against Nevsun Resources, a mining com-
pany: it was the first time in history that a tort claim
for modern slavery went ahead in Canada. Mean-
while, in September, the Associated Press published
a searing account of foreign fishing workers, con-
fined and forced to work on U.S. fishing boats. The
AP’s investigation revealed a disturbing present-day
reality: fishermen who were forced to use buckets
instead of toilets, suffered sores from bed bugs and
didn’t have enough food to sustain them.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 091


TREND 081
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Soft INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Robotics KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

081
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Harvard University researchers created a self-contained soft


robot.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


This is a relatively new field of robotics research. Soft robots mean that someday soon, we will be University of California at Los Angeles School of En-
Imagine robots that are squishy and can operate in able to enter and explore environments previously gineering; Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna; Worchester
unpredictable environments. unreachable by conventional methods: deep ocean Polytechnic Institute; Harvard Biodesign Lab; MIT’s
waters, the terrain of Mars, and perhaps even the CSAIL’s Soft Contact Modeling Group; MIT Media
Examples gushing rivers of blood inside our own bodies. But Lab; Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory;
Researchers at numerous universities are working soft robotics also offer promise to stoke survi- DARPA.
on hydraulically articulated soft robots. Some look vors—soft, robotic exoskeletons could be used for
like fish, while others resemble gelatinous cephalo- rehabilitation and as assistive devices. This tech-
pods. Bioengineering researchers at the Universi- nology could also be used to develop personalized
ty of California at Los Angeles developed a tis- tissue patches for heart attack patients.
sue-based soft robot that mimics the biomechanics
of a stingray. Scientists at the BioRobotics Institute
at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy,
created a robot octopus, capable of replicating
the animal’s agile motions. In order to replicate the
biology of an octopus, they built computer models
using exact measurements and then experimented
with a number of soft actuators to develop artificial
muscles. Researchers at Worchester Polytechnic
Institute have been working on a robotic snake.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 092


TREND 082
THIRD YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Human-Machine INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Interfaces KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
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082
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Elon Musk and his new company Neuralink are hoping to commer-
cialize human-machine interface technologies.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Researchers are finding new ways to connect Last year, Elon Musk announced Neuralink, a new Elon Musk; Neuralink; Duke University’s Center for
humans and mammals directly to computers. With company he founded to commercialize human-ma- Neuroengineering; University of Southern California;
these human-machine interfaces, people can com- chine interface technologies. His reasoning: Musk University of Washington’s Center for Sensorimo-
municate via thought alone, which promises new op- believes that humans should merge with machines tor Neural Engineering; Johns Hopkins University;
tions for those suffering from stroke and paralysis. as we enter the age of AI. Meanwhile, the team at Carnegie Mellon University; Starlab; Case Western
Duke is working on a “Brainet,” which would connect Reserve University; Penn State University; Johns
Examples the brains of a group of mammals to harness and Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; DARPA.
At the University of Washington’s Center for Sen- direct their neural activity. One successful experi-
sorimotor Neural Engineering, researchers built a ment: to see if networking rats together would allow
system allowing one person to transmit his thoughts researchers to solve a basic forecasting problem
directly to another person. Using electrical brain that individual rats struggled to complete on their
recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, one own. In every trial, the Brainet successfully solved
researcher sent a brain signal to another person the problem, and performance improved the more
elsewhere on campus, causing his finger to tap a the rats worked together. This work has a practical
keyboard. Meanwhile, researchers at the Center for and altruistic purpose: to help victims of stroke or
Neuroengineering at Duke University have built a traumatic brain injury regain their cognitive abilities
real-life Iron Man suit, allowing a young man suf- and motor function. Rather than having to relearn,
fering from complete paralysis of his lower body to they need only reload those memories.
walk out onto a soccer field and kick the first ball of
the World Cup.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 093


TREND 083
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Smart INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Dust KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

083
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Tiny computers the size of dust will be used to gather data,


record video and take photos.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


These are computers, no larger than a speck of Researchers believe that this technology will dra- University of Stuttgart; University of California
dust, that are light enough they can suspend in matically change our approach to medical imaging. Berkeley; Stanford University; University of Wash-
the air. They could someday also be injected or Rather than relying on our current endoscopic ington; Purdue University; USC Robotics Research
breathed in, undetected. technology, which is bulky and invasive, a patient Lab; DARPA.
could simply inhale smart dust. Beyond medicine,
Examples trillions of smart dust particles could be released in
If you watched the “Arkangel” episode of Black the wind to measure air quality or take photos. But
Mirror (season four), you’re already familiar with we must also consider other use cases: would you
smart dust. For years, researchers have been hard know if you’d inhaled rouge smart dust on a windy
at work on miniaturization, as they try to shrink day? In the farther-future, could this technology be
computers as much as possible, down to the size of used to track us surreptitiously?
sand or dust. Each particle-computer consists of
circuits and sensors capable of monitoring the en-
vironment, and even taking photographs. Scientists
at the University of California Berkeley developed
what they call “neural dust,” which are microscopic
computers that work alongside remote ultrasound
to send and receive data about the brain. Mean-
while, researchers at the University of Stuttgart
figured out how to print tiny 3D lenses—120 mil-
lionths of a meter in diameter, or about the size of a
grain of sand.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 094


TREND 084
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Personal Robots INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
and Butlers KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

084
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Pepper is a Japanese robot for use at work and at home.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


The first personal robots and butlers, capable of Within a generation, there will not be enough people SoftBank Robotics; Panasonic; Sony; Honda; Mitsub-
doing multiple tasks, are coming to market soon. to make Japanese society work as it does today—but ishi Heavy Industries; Eifer Elektro Firma; Fujitsu;
Japan isn’t alone in its demographic shift. Anyone AMY Robotics; COEX; Bioinspired Intelligent Mecha-
Examples interested in the future of robotics would be wise to tronics Lab, Ritsumeikan University; ARP; Microstar;
Many countries, including Japan, Italy, and Germa- look not to Silicon Valley, but instead to universities Koenn; Shinpo Electronics; LG; Sharp; Toyota; MIT
ny, are facing rapid demographic shifts. In Japan, and R&D labs in Japan, where extensive research on Media Lab; Buddy; Nanyang Technological University;
one in four people are now age sixty-five or older— the next generation of robot companions is already Sony; Tokyo University; Johns Hopkins Applied Phys-
there aren’t enough people working to support both underway. Out of necessity, robots—mechanical ics Laboratory.
retirees and children. Science and technology will systems, artificial intelligence, and automated ser-
eventually stand in for the lack of people: robots will vices—will act as productive, emotionally-intelligent
assist with everything from elder care, to medical stand-ins for a younger generation that was simply
assistance, to everyday companionship. Unsurpris- too small in numbers.
ingly, this first generation of companion robots is
being built in Japan. Panasonic and Japan’s largest
homebuilder Daiwa House created an AI-powered
robot that can sort and fold your laundry. Honda and
Sony have launched a fleet of personal robots in the
past year, offering both companionship and some
help with the housework.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 095


CATASTROPHIC PERSONAL ROBOTICS SCENARIO –
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HUMANS PREFER SEX WITH ROBOTS?
Amy Webb

Would you watch a robot stripper pole dance for dollar bills? It turns
out that a lot of people did at the Sapphire Gentleman’s Club in Las
Vegas earlier this year. The robo-strippers didn’t look exactly like
humans—in place of their heads were CCTV surveillance cameras
retrofitted with red lights—and only their torsos, buttocks, thighs,
forearms and calves were covered in plastic molded to resemble
realistic (but shiny) skin. But they were, of course, wearing high heels,
and their movements closely mimicked the real thing.

Pole dancing robots are gimmicky, but they could also portend a future
where social isolationism helps usher in an era of AI-powered personal
robots, programmed to learn from us, laugh at our jokes, and never
reject our advances. We’re already part way there. In 2018, Realbotix
adds a male sex robot to its lineup; Harmony, its female bot already on
the market, has a fully customizable body and personality. The male
bot will include a detachable penis, enabling the owner to dictate when
it’s aroused. It’s plausible that robots, as they become more lifelike
and socially acceptable, will prove a better option for casual sex—we
wouldn’t have to worry about sexually-transmitted diseases, unwanted
pregnancy or rape. We could wind up healthier. But since the robots
will be available in wealthy nations first, it’s plausible that it might take
longer to develop serious relationships with other humans. We could
see birthrates tank in the world’s largest GDPs—U.S., Japan, Germany,
the U.K., France, Brazil and Korea—which could eventually lead to new
immigration rules and a shift in geopolitical power.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 096


TREND 085
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Robot INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

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LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Robovie-II is bullied by children at a mall in Osaka.


[Image: ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories]

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Personal robots are still launching, and already we’ve When it comes to our interactions with robots, what University of Washington; ATR Intelligent Robotics
seen the first instances of humans bullying robots. constitutes a moral violation? What rights should ro- and Communication Laboratories; Osaka University;
bots have, given that so many companies are building Ryukoku University; Tokai University; SoftBank Robot-
Examples smart interfaces and cognitive systems? If we’re ics; Panasonic; Sony; Honda; Mitsubishi; Bioinspired
Researchers at ATR Intelligent Robotics and Com- teaching machines to think, and to learn from us Intelligent Mechatronics Lab, Ritsumeikan University;
munication Laboratories, Osaka University, Ryukoku humans, what are we programming into our future LG; Sharp; Toyota; MIT Media Lab; Buddy; Sony; Tokyo
University, and Tokai University, in Japan launched generations of robots? University.
an experiment to measure human empathy towards
robots. They deployed a small, assistive robot called
the Robovie-II through a mall in Osaka without a
human minder. If someone walked into the robot’s
path, it would politely ask the human to move. Adults
complied—but children didn’t. And if children were
unsupervised, the researchers found the were inten-
tionally mean, kicking the robot, yelling at it, and bul-
lying it. Another study, from the Human Interaction
With Nature and Technological Systems Lab (HINTS)
at the University of Washington, discovered that
children didn’t show the same kind of empathy they
do with other humans. In the study, 60% of the kids
thought that Robovie had feelings—and still, over half
of them thought it was fine to lock him in the closet.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 097


TREND 086
SEVENTH YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
3D Printing INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

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LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Scientists are already printing replacements for human tissue


and bone.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


3D printing has moved from the fringe to the main- If you’re thinking Star Trek Replicator, you’re not Autodesk; Kodak; Ethereal Machines; Northwestern
stream, offering new opportunities for medical and far off. Researchers are working towards scanning University’s Feinberg School of Medicine; University
biosciences, manufacturing and artists. and producing 3D objects in seconds—over time, this College Cork; Apis Cor; Organovo; MIT Media Lab; GE;
technology will be used in surgical centers, to rap- Formlabs; Aurora Labs; Arc Group; ExOne; Voxeljet;
Examples idly print replacement valves and knees using your Stratasys; HP; Shapeways; MakerBot; University of
3D printing isn’t just for keychains anymore. In own biomatter as models. Illinois Urbana; University College London.
2018, we’ll see new advancements allowing the
printing of different materials, as well as additive
and subtractive manufacturing. In the past year,
scientists have printed the scaffolding that match-
es human brain and lung tissue. In an experiment
at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of
Medicine, researchers successfully printed and im-
planted mouse ovaries which resulted in a success-
ful pregnancy. Russian startup Apis Cor 3D printed
an entire house. Researchers at the School of Food
and Nutritional Sciences and University College
Cork printed cheese from raw, natural materials.
In the next year, we’ll see companies custom-print-
ing orthotics and footwear, eyeglasses and athletic
equipment. Soon, “one size fits all” won’t need to fit
any one person ever again.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 098


TRANSPORTATION
087 Flying Taxis
088 Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs)
089 Drone Delivery
090 Increasing Patents and Calls For New Regulation
091 Drone Lanes
092 Personal Home Drone Surveillance
093 Sense And Avoid Technology
094 Microdrones and Drones Used In Dangerous/ Hard-To-Reach Areas
095 Drone Swarms
096 Clandestine, Disappearing Drones
097 Autonomous Vehicle Testing In Cities Around the U.S.
098 Armchair AV Mechanics
099 Assisted Driving Before Full Automation
100 Adaptive Driving Systems
101 Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications
102 Electric Vehicles
103 Cars as Interfaces
104 Solar Highways
105 Autonomous Vehicle Legislation
106 Flying Cars
107 Flights
108 Autonomous Ships
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DRONES INFORMS ACT

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087- 096
Key Insight
As 2017 came to a close, the FAA announced
087
Flying Taxis
DJI makes consumer drones for the masses.

designated task, it can decide whether to continue


or to return to base. AUVs can be used for a host of
purposes, from environmental mapping and texting,
that there were more than 1 million drones Don’t call them flying cars—because they’re not. to military support. Some have suggested AUVs
registered in its Drone Registry program. Fully In 2018, several companies will bring flying taxi might be used for more nefarious purposes, like
concepts to consumers. These autonomous vehi- transporting illegal goods.
878,000 drones were registered by individuals
cles—a high-tech cross between a quadcopter and
and enthusiasts, while the remaining 122,000 helicopter—hope to carry one or two passengers at 089
were drones used for public and commercial a time without needing a pilot. Startups including
Drone Delivery
purposes. Ehang, Volocopter and Uber Elevate are all testing
taxi drones. Towards the end of 2016, commercial drone deliv-
Drone demand is not only increasing in the eries launched. U.S.-based Zipline brought its drone
United States, but across Europe, Asia, and delivery system to Rwanda, where it delivered vital
088
other countries in North and South America. blood supplies. UPS, Amazon and DHL all tested
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) their own fleets of drones. Legislation will soon
The advancements seen in drone technology catch up with the technology. We anticipate that avi-
Researchers at MIT have developed underwater
are fueled primarily by anticipated military drones with cognitive capabilities, called AUVs. ation authorities will start to act in 2019-2020, at
and commercial uses. Widespread future use After giving them a series of parameters—how far which point commercial drone deliveries will finally
of commercial drones will likely depend on to stray, how far above the seafloor to move, what take flight in earnest. This means lots of new sto-
to explore and the like—these drones can function ries to cover, especially for reporters working lo-
standardizing regulations. If companies are
on their own. If something unforeseen happens gistics and business beats—and it potentially means
forced to comply with patchwork regulations in which impedes the drone’s ability to complete its the end of newspaper delivery by humans, forever.
different locations, it would make compliance
burdensome.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 100


090
NEAR-FUTURE INVISIBLE HIGHWAYS IN THE SKY
Increasing Patents and Calls For New Regulation
Whether drone delivery services ever get off the Roy Levkovitz and Amy Webb
ground largely hinges on legislation and cor-
porate development. If the number of patents Commercial operators like Amazon want to begin drone deliveries.
Amazon was awarded in 2017 for drone related From the Valley to DC, everyone will be talking about whether or
technologies (43+) is any indication, retailers are not the airspace should be regulated for hobbyists and commer-
anticipating government approval. Amazon was
granted a patent for a self-destructing drone that
cial drone pilots, which will prompt difficult conversations between
can disassemble itself in case of emergency, while technologists, researchers, drone manufacturers, businesses
Walmart was granted a patent for a drone that and the aviation industry, since each has an economic stake in the
delivers items off store shelves to people while
future of unmanned vehicles. We anticipate the sky being divided
they shop. In late 2017, the Trump Administration
announced it had authorized a three-pilot program soon: hobbyist pilots will have access to operate UMVs in the 200
to test drone traffic under different conditions in and below space, while businesses and commercial pilots will gain
“innovation zones.” In Europe, the E.U. has ten- exclusive access to 200 - 400 feet zone overhead.
tatively agreed to regulations, which at publica-
tion date was still waiting for authorization from
member countries. Canada, the United Kingdom,
and the International Civil Aviation Organization
are actively writing new regulations. The results
of these pilot programs will dictate the likelihood
of drone delivery in 2020 and beyond.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 101


TRENDS 001 - 027
DRONES CONT.
be programmed to navigate along the path of GPS 096
091 waypoints—and they’ll make decisions midair about
Clandestine, Disappearing Drones
the best path to take and when to avoid objects like
Drone Lanes In 2016, DARPA funded new research in drones
buildings, trees and mountains. Or other drones,
We’re about to have overhead congestion—which for that matter. capable of making deliveries—and then disappearing
means soon, you can expect invisible drone lanes into thin air. The agency’s Vanishing Programmable
overhead. Amateur drone pilots continue to cause 094 Resources (VAPR) program has already shown that
trouble for commercial and private airline pilots. it’s possible to program a small chip to shatter on
Currently, the FAA does not allow drones to fly near Microdrones and Drones Used In Dangerous/ command. What’s coming next is sort of like Snap-
the airspace of airports—but while there are no-fly Hard-To-Reach Areas chat for drones.
zones, there aren’t no-fly circumstances. In Singa- Industries are beginning to utilize smaller, rug-
pore, researchers are considering the viability of ged, AI-powered drones to access dangerous and
different options including “air-lanes,” the devel- hard-to-reach spaces. Drones are being used to
opment of “air-blocks” and “air-fences” to manage survey the insides of underground mines, ballasts
traffic. NASA and the FAA are working on initiatives of tanks, and inside nuclear facilities. Home and
scheduled to end in 2019 and 2025 respectively, building inspectors have also begun using drones
which could provide possible nation-wide solutions
for managing drone traffic. As sky infrastructure
to inspect rooftops and sides of buildings. Drone
adoption for these purposes could result in reduc-
MID-FUTURE SCENARIO:
gets designed and developed, look for a potential ing risk to human life, and cost savings associated DRONES AS A SOURCE OF RENEWABLE
emerging market for companies in infrastructure with shortened downtimes. Facebook’s launch of
management and for AI cloud-based monitoring of an internet-providing drone along with AT&T’s ENERGY
the friendly skies. successful use of a cellular signal drone in Puerto
Rico also highlight additional signals that drones Roy Levkovitz
092 could become a useful and prevalent tool in provid-
ing basic services to disparaged areas or locations Numerous companies have begun develop-
Personal Home Drone Surveillance ing drones that will harness wind energy.
lacking basic forms of infrastructure.
Why bother with fixed security cameras when a fly- There are various potential advantages
ing drone could patrol your home? Sunflower Labs 095
has developed a home drone surveillance system to using drones versus traditional wind
that includes flying and ground drones—think of Drone Swarms turbines. First is mobility: drones can be
them as roving security guards that don’t get tired Hundreds of micro-drones can be deployed at once sent to areas ravaged by natural disas-
or need bathroom breaks. and are now capable of moving as one, technologi-
cal organism in the sky. They’re so fast, that camer-
ters and provide immediate energy relief.
093 as have a difficult time capturing them in real-time. Secondly, drones can fly at higher alti-
This technology was developed by the military, and tudes than traditional turbines and collect
Sense And Avoid Technology
it’s been used for dazzling light shows at Disney
Robots harnessing neural networks and artificial
more energy from stronger winds. Finally,
Parks and during the Super Bowl halftime show. Of
intelligence can make inferences and decisions course, drone swarms aren’t always benevolent. drone-based wind collection saves compa-
when programmed to do so. That’s because of Early in 2018, a swarm carrying explosives, said to nies from having to install costly towers
sense and avoid technology. In 2018, drones will be controlled by Syrian rebels, attacked two Rus- and foundations.
sian military bases.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 102


TRENDS 097 - 106
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

CARS INFORMS ACT

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097- 106
Key Insight 097
Autonomous Testing In Cities Around the U.S.
098
Armchair AV Mechanics
2018 is the year of the electric vehicle—
There’s still a considerable amount of real-world Online learning platform Udacity launched an open
and it’s the year we will see autonomous testing required before all of our autonomous source self-driving car class. It’s a four-month
vehicle prototypes move from car shows to cars can take to the highways. In 2018, we will see program that teaches the essentials of building
showroom floors. Major automotive giants, dozens of pilots all around the country as manufac- a self-driving car, and it’s part of an engineering
turers test their self-driving vehicles in our com- “nanodegree” offered by Udacity. Udacity co-found-
including BMW, Audi, Ford and General munities. San Francisco has been a favorite in the er is Sebastian Thrun, who had previously launched
Motors, have announced they’ll begin selling past, because its roads offer sudden inclines, dense Google’s self-driving car program. The project isn’t
AVs within the next three years. If it passes traffic and fog, while Arizona is another popular about increasing competition in the marketplace,
testing ground because it has long stretches of but rather about advancing the skills of our future
through safety regulators, GM’s fourth- straight, empty highways. But for AVs to move from workforce. MIT now offers a Deep Learning for
generation Chevy Bolt may not feature the fringe to the mainstream, they’ll need to both Self-Driving Cars course, and Stanford offers a
traditional steering wheels and pedals. test and learn under more varied circumstances— Machine Learning for Autonomous Driving class
blizzards, torrential rain, ice storms, extreme heat (both are online and open to the public). While
The initial fleet of AVs is intended for ride- and cold, heavy wind. In the near-future, regulators Udacity’s program isn’t accredited, it does promise
hailing services, which means that Uber will work to establish a national testing center with to teach all of the skills required to work within the
could be facing competition from the auto a single set of standards and practices. Outside of burgeoning field of self-driving vehicles.
the U.S., manufacturers in Sweden, Germany, Japan
manufacturers themselves.
and China are rushing to set up their own facilities. 099
Assisted Driving Before Full Automation
What drivers will see in new 2019 and 2020 mod-
els—lots of assistive features, powered by artificial

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 103


TRENDS 086 - 094
CARS CONT. the road—when they’re not able to act fast enough, will find dense clusters of charging stations all
the system will take over. Adaptive systems, which throughout their cities. 2018 is the year of the EV.
intelligence. Cameras and sensors will bring more help drivers stay in their lanes, prevent them from
information to heads up displays and smart dash- driving too closely to another car, and parallel park, 103
boards, which will enable more assisted driving will be deployed into new vehicles in 2018.
functions (self-parking, lane departure control, Cars as Interfaces
voice controls). But we are still a few more years 101 Modern cars double as communication platforms,
away from what the National Highway Transporta- connecting us to our digital assistants (Amazon’s
tion and Safety Administration (NHTSA) calls Level Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications Alexa, Google, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Sync and
4 Full Self-Driving Automation. Level 4 vehicles Cars are able to broadcast their exact positions, Cortana), entertainment systems (Spotify, TuneIn,
are designed to perform all driving functions and speed, acceleration, steering wheel position, mo- Slacker Radio), and even our internet service
monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip—with mentum, brake status and a host of other infor- providers (many cars are their own WiFi hotspots).
the driver providing navigation input but not ex- mation to all of the other vehicles sharing a road Soon, cars will connect to each other in V2V net-
pected to be available for control at any time during within a set distance. Collectively, the cars use this works—and they will connect back to city hubs
the trip. That’s because there are external events, information and analyze it in real-time, to make and transportation infrastructure. As a result,
such as establishing and funding a new federal decisions about how and when to move. Building a digital and autonomous user interface design will
agency, or working through licensing and regula- V2V network does pose a challenge: it would need to play a key role in auto manufacturing going for-
tions, that could hold up progress for several years. be unfailingly reliable, fast and secure. Some cars ward—which means new partnerships between our
Other events—the availability of components, public equipped with transmitters will be on the road in technology providers, startups and traditional car
attitudes toward autonomous vehicle accidents, and 2018. manufacturers.
the like—will also impact momentum. We are in tran-
sition—the last years of human driving. One thing we 102 104
are certain of: in the U.S., there will eventually be a
Electric Vehicles Solar Highways
new federal agency to address autonomous vehi-
cles, something like a Federal Autonomous Vehicle Electric vehicles (EVs) are mechanically simpler Researchers have been working on roads capable
Agency (FAVA). It will be charged with working than their internal combustion cousins—they’re of producing their own energy. Think of them as
alongside the twelve existing agencies concerned cost effective, too. Drivers tend to save 36%—about smart, modular systems that can illuminate lines
with transportation, from highways to aviation. $11,000 over 10 years—compared to those driving and markings, keep ice melted, generate electric-
gas-powered cars. U.S. Speaker of the House Paul ity for EV power stations, and even communicate
100 Ryan once called electric vehicle (EV) tax credits data about whether any section of the road needs
“money wasted on losers,” but the $7,500 EV tax repair. In Jian, China, a new photovoltaic highway
Adaptive Driving Systems credit survived the final tax bill Congress signed at has already opened, joining France and the Neth-
Motorcycle injuries have increased in the past the end of 2017. (For those keeping track, we’re up erlands. In Poland, city planners are experimenting
few years, and the reason has to do with age. to $17k in savings.) General Motors is launching 20 with solar-powered, glow-in-the-dark bike lanes. In
Nationwide, 39% of motorcycle owners are 51 to new EV models by 2023, while BMW, Nissan, Jaguar, the U.S., Idaho-based Solar Roadways has a num-
69, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Volvo and Tesla will all ber of pilot projects in the works, including a solar
and at that age reaction time is slower than opti- have EVs out in 2018. As a result, we should see sidewalk in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and a portion
mal. Yamaha’s Motobot is designed with an aging more charging stations throughout communities of the Route 66 highway as part of Missouri’s Road
population in mind: Yamaha has partnered with SRI everywhere. Kansas City Power & Light is installing to Tomorrow initiative. Made from luminophores,
International to create a motorcycle that can drive 1,000 charging stations throughout Kansas City and which are made of small phosphor crystals, they
on its own. The technology being developed will more rural areas in eastern Kansas and western absorb sunlight during the day and illuminates a
eventually be used to help assist motorcyclists on Missouri, while drivers in San Diego and Seattle brilliant blue at night.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 104


TRENDS 055 - 071
105 FUTURE OF CARS: SCENARIOS FOR 2018 - 2048
Autonomous Vehicle Legislation
Given what we know to be true as of the date of publication, here are just a few plausible scenarios
In 2018, U.S. policymakers will debate whether
for the next few decades.
AV companies should be required to still offer
features that allow humans to take control in Future Today Institute Research Team
case cars fail. As General Motors and Alphabet’s
Waymo join Tesla in launching AVs with more
This year
autonomous capabilities, federal legislation would
By the end of 2018, cars will be equipped with software updates and new sensors that perform
be required to make the cars street legal across
state lines. As of now, not every state allows AVs more functions for the driver, such as parking and adaptive cruise control. In the U.S., Congress
to be operated. will fail to pass federal legislation allowing cars without traditional steering wheels and foot pedals.

Near-term: 1 - 5 years
106 New cars will be equipped with cross-path cameras to sense nearby objects and they will have adap-
Flying Cars tive cruise control for driving in stop-and-go traffic. They will offer many driverless functions—but
Though we’re likely to see new flying car pro- humans will still be in the loop, operate the car in neighborhoods and many city streets. Fully auton-
totypes in 2018 and 2019, it’s unlikely we’ll see omous taxi services will begin testing—we’ll hail them and pay for our rides with our smartphones.
true flying cars overhead anytime soon. Even
so, Alphabet co-founder Larry Page has built a Mid-range: 5 - 10 years
not-so-secret flying car factory, breathing new Advanced Lidar and WiFi technology will transmit your vehicle’s location and will recognize other
hope into a very old tech myth. Flying cars have vehicles sharing the road. This will begin to enable cars to drive themselves on highways and many
been a persistent, trendy theme within popular city streets.
culture on and off for more than a hundred years.
Waldo Waterman’s Arrowbile was the first to Long-range: 10 - 20 years
leave the street for the sky in 1937. Three years The highway system, which has long stretches of solar cells, will have been upgraded to work in
later, Henry Ford remarked confidently, “Mark symbiosis with semi-autonomous vehicles. Highways will create power for AV charging stations.
my word: a combination airplane and motorcar is On mandated autonomous highway lanes, people will be free to read, watch videos or conduct work.
coming.” Aviation publicist Harry Bruno clarified, Human drivers will take over on smaller streets. However extreme weather events will increase.
saying that cars of the future would look like tiny Because AV manufacturers didn’t hire climate scientists to be a part of the design and program-
“copters”; when school let out, they would “fill the ming team, our cars act in weird and unexpected ways during intense heat and cold spells, sudden
sky as the bicycles of our youth filled the prewar wildfires, blizzards, heavy rain and strong winds. With more EVs drawing power from the grid, utili-
roads.” In 1949 Life magazine featured the Air-
ty companies that failed to plan ahead buckle under heavy use, especially in the summer.
phibian, an aerocar that could fly from a backyard
airstrip to LaGuardia Airport and then transform Far-range: 20 - 30 years
into a convertible-like vehicle capable of driving to
Climate and electricity issues will have been worked through—but not before a few horrific inci-
Times Square. The dream of flying cars continued
dents, which spurred new regulations and caused us to question whether it was a good idea to
into the twenty-first century and up to the pres-
ent day as people built new prototypes with verti- fully surrender ourselves to machines. We will no longer own cars and cities will no longer operate
cal take-off and landing capabilities, super-strong transit systems. Instead, automated buses will be subsidized through taxes and will be offered at
carbon fiber bodies, ducted fan propulsion, and no cost. Those with the means to do so will subscribe to a transportation service, which operates
cheaper flight-stabilizing computer systems. vehicles that are fully automated and will transport us to destinations as required.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 105


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Supersonic INFORMS ACT

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Boom Technologies is developing a supersonic jet.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


A number of companies are bringing back supersonic Japan Airlines (JAL) has invested $10 million in Japan Airlines; All Nippon Airlines; Aerion; Lockheed
jet travel. Boom Technology to develop supersonic jets, which Martin; GE Aviation; Boeing; NASA.
will travel at 2.2 times the speed of sound—about
Examples twice as fast as a traditional aircraft. (JAL has al-
After years of successful Trans-Atlantic flights, ready pre-ordered 20.) All Nippon Airlines is similar-
the age of supersonic jet travel came to an end in ly researching supersonic flight. Aerion, Lockheed
October 2003, when British Airways permanent- Martin and GE Aviation are developing a supersonic
ly grounded the Concorde. Driven in part by the business jet that could carry 12 passengers. For
enthusiasm and excitement over faster, autonomous those who remember the loud crashing sound made
travel, supersonic jets are being tested once again. by the Concorde, NASA and Lockheed Martin have
been developing new ways to muffle sonic booms.
Flights are already being scheduled for 2023.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 106


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Autonomous INFORMS ACT

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The Yara Birkeland is an autonomous container ship.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


We’ve built autonomous cars—next up, large ships Early 2018, an oil tanker caught fire after colliding NOAA; Kongsberg; Marin Teknikk; ENOVA.
that captain themselves. with another boat in the East China Sea, killing more
than two dozen people. It’s another reason that
Examples companies are looking to automation in shipping.
Electric-powered ships that don’t require a human The Yara is one of several projects in the works, and
crew will take its first voyage in 2018. The Yara it will still take a few years and several test runs
Birkeland is an autonomous container ship which before starting fully autonomous operations. At the
is supported by radar, LiDAR, machine learning and moment, it costs far more to build and operate an
computer vision systems, an automatic mooring autonomous ship than a traditional one—but the lon-
system and a network for cameras. And, if all goes ger-term benefits are already clear. Electric ships
well, it won’t require humans at the dock—loading that don’t require people would offer a massive cost
and unloading will be done automatically using com- savings throughout the entire shipping supply chain.
puters and electric equipment. They’d be safer, would solve for labor shortages and
would be better for the environment.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 107


NEWS MEDIA,
BOOK PUBLISHING,
SOCIAL NETWORKS
AND THE FIRST
AMENDMENT
109 Natural Language Generation for Reading Levels
110 Computational Photography
111 Computational Journalism
112 I-Teams For Algorithms and Data
113 Voice Interfaces For News and Books
114 Proximity News
115 Crowdlearning
116 Digital Frailty
117 Radical Transparency
118 Limited-Edition News Products
119 One-To-Few Publishing
120 Notification Layer (A Tragedy of the Commons)
121 Journalism as a Service (JaaS)
122 Transparency in Metrics
123 Real-Time Fact Checking
124 Offline Is The New Online
125 Audio Search Engines
126 Synthetic Data Sets
127 Connected TVs
128 Decentralizing The Web
129 Streaming Social Video
130 New Video and Audio Story Formats
131 Media Consolidation
132 Social Tweaks To Social Network Algorithms
133 The First Amendment in a Digital Age
TREND 109
THIRD YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Natural Language INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Generation for Reading KEEP
REVISIT
Levels LATER
VIGILANT
WATCH

109
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

University of Washington developed an NLG model that convinc-


ingly showed President Barack Obama giving a speech that he
never actually gave in real life.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Natural Language Generation (NLG) is a processing As book publishers and news organizations search MIT-CSAIL; Arria NLG; Narrative Science; Expect
task, where computers generate the kind of lan- for new revenue streams, NLG will be used not just Labs; Automated Insights; Department of Computing
guage humans would use in a designated situation. to write stories—but to create different versions Science, University of Aberdeen; School of Science
NLG can be used to rewrite content for a variety of for audiences with varying reading skills. That’s and Engineering, University of Dundee; Research
different reading levels. because the basic corpus—the data that makes up Center on Information Technologies (CiTIUS), Uni-
the story—wouldn’t change, but the vocabulary and versity of Santiago de Compostela, Spain; School of
Examples amount of detail could be adjusted. For example, a Informatics University of Edinburgh.
Many companies—including Credit Suisse, Deloitte, single story about the results of Berkshire Hatha-
and a number of news organizations—were already way’s quarterly earnings could be rendered in many
using Narrative Science, an NLG provider. A basic different ways: for finance professionals, for high
set of data was processed with an NLG algorithm school economics classes, for beginning English as
to produce a readable story, which sounded no a second language learners, and for MBA students
different than if a human had written it. In 2017, in non-English speaking countries. Similarly, NLG
researchers at the University of Washington could be used to automate the current work-inten-
developed an NLG model that convincingly showed sive process to create book extracts and summa-
President Barack Obama giving a speech—that he ries. Using NLG to custom-write different versions
never actually gave in real life. of stories, enables organizations to scale their
operations for new audiences worldwide—without
hiring additional staff. But NLG can also be used to
create hyper-realistic fake news videos—something
to be on the lookout for in 2018.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 110


TREND 110
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
Computational INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE
Photography

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

110
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY
Image Credit: UCSB Mirage Lab
The Computational Zoom system makes it possible to automati-
cally combine wide-angle and telephoto perspectives into a single
multi-perspective image.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Computational photography is the convergence of New research from Nvidia and the University of Cal- MIT’s CSAIL; MIT’s Media Lab; Nvidia; University of
computer vision, computer graphics, the internet ifornia-Santa Barbara reveal a computational zoom California-Santa Barbara; Google; Apple; Samsung;
and photography. Rather than relying on optical pro- technique, which allows photographers to change Facebook; Synopsys; Industrial Light and Magic; LG;
cesses alone, it uses digital capturing and process- the composition of their photographs in real time. Huawei; Morpho; Qualcomm; Stanford University
ing techniques to capture real life. Photos are taken in a stack, and then rendered with Computational Imaging Lab; the Gcam team at Goo-
multiple views. This would allow photographers to gle Research.
Examples change perspective and the relative size of objects
Everyone with a smartphone now has access to within a photo after it has been taken. Other use
computational photography tools. In its iPhone 8 and cases of computational photography include seam-
iPhone X, Apple uses computational photography lessly removing or adding objects to scenes, chang-
to achieve a shallow depth of field, while Facebook ing shadows and reflections, and the like. Meanwhile,
automagically corrects any 360-degree photos you MIT’s CSAIL and Alphabet developed a technique
upload. that now automatically retouches and enhances
the photos we take with our mobile phones. Clearly
there are ethical implications here for journalists—
how much editing should be allowed and under what
circumstances? Likewise, journalists should develop
techniques to reveal how much editing has been
done to a photo—either intentionally or automatical-
ly—before using them for reporting or in stories.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 111


TREND 111
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Computational INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Journalism KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

111
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

IBM’s News Explorer is an example of a computational system for


reporting.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


What are the ways in which data and algorithms can We anticipate increased demand in computational Investigative Reporters & Editors; National Institute
enhance reporting? Computer Assisted Reporting journalism and journalists with complimentary skills for Computer-Assisted Reporting; Coral Project;
(or CAR, as its known by industry professionals) is sets. There are a host of stories waiting to be dis- Stanford Computational Journalism Lab; Duke
an investigative journalism technique. Reporters covered, written and produced. University; University of British Columbia; Univer-
find, clean and mine public records and documents, sity of Texas at Austin; Brown Institute at Columbia
crunch data and uncover hidden stories. Aided by University; Tow Center for Digital Journalism at
machine learning algorithms and AI, computational Columbia University; Philip Merrill College of Jour-
journalism is the evolution of CAR. nalism at the University of Maryland; Media Change
and Innovation Division at the University of Zurich;
Examples Annenberg School of Communication & Journal-
It’s one thing to find and mine public data—analyz- ism and the University of Southern California; Wall
ing what’s there, and connecting the seemingly Street Journal; New York Times; Washington Post;
unconnectable dots, is another challenge entire- Tamedia; ProPublica; National Public Radio.
ly. Computational journalism techniques such as
multi-language indexing, automated reporting, enti-
ty extraction, algorithmic visualization, multidimen-
sional analysis of data sets, flexible data scraping,
are allowing journalists to combine what they find
in the data and then see the connections between
facts, keywords and concepts. In this way, they can
reveal interconnected relationships between people
and organizations that they might not have other-
wise seen. 



© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 112


TREND 112
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
I-Teams For INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE
Algorithms and Data

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

112
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

AI systems rely on our trust.

Key Insight has to do with how arrest data is gathered, and Watchlist
News organizations need a new kind of special-ops how individual police departments have historically Brown Institute at Columbia University; Macrome-
team: investigative reporters who specialize in in- monitored their local communities. The model didn’t dia University of Applied Sciences; Tow Center for
vestigating the algorithms and data itself. include a rigorous check on bias in the initial data Digital Journalism at Columbia University; Algorithm-
sets. Reporters at the New York Times, Wall Street Watch.org; ProPublica; Philip Merrill College of Jour-
Examples Journal, ProPublica and Washington Post have been nalism at the University of Maryland; Media Change
applying the core practices and skills of reporting to and Innovation Division at the University of Zurich;
Algorithms, data sets and AI systems reflect the investigating algorithms. 


worldviews of their architects and trainers. This in- Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism
formation is used to help make decisions, to predict and the University of Southern California; Wash-
What’s Next ington Post; New York Times; Wall Street Journal;
behavior, and to generate answers to questions.
More of these systems now govern everyday life and We will soon reach a point when we will no longer National Public Radio; Investigative Reporters &
are used by law enforcement, universities, financial be able to tell if a data set has been tampered with, Editors; National Institute for Computer-Assisted
institutions and government agencies. Journalists either intentionally or accidentally. AI systems rely Reporting.
must begin to investigate how the data and algo- on our trust. If we no longer trust the outcome,
rithms intersect with daily life. And, to prevent bias decades of research and technological advancement
in reporting, journalists must gain a better under- will be for naught. Building trust and accountability
standing of who created the algorithms and data is a matter of showing the work performed. This
sets, and what their processes were. For example, is a complicated process, as understandably news
the PredPol predictive policing system, which is organizations would want to keep certain data and
used by police departments around the U.S., rec- reporting methods private.
ommended time and time again that departments
concentrate their efforts on neighborhoods that
were overwhelmingly poor and black. The problem

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 113


TREND 113
SIXTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Voice Interfaces For INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
News and Books KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

113
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Amazon’s Echo is an voice interface found in many American


homes.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


We are entering an era of conversational interfaces. Amazon’s Alexa is quickly rising to become the de- Amazon; Alphabet; IBM Research; Cognitive Hori-
You can be expected to talk to machines for the rest fault platform for voice, with thousands of compa- zons Network; Stanford University; MIT CSAIL; MIT
of your life. These systems use semantic and natural nies now integrating Alexa with their own products Media Lab; University of Texas at Austin; Apple;
language processing, along with our data, in order and services. That includes an unusual collaboration Microsoft.
to anticipate what we want or need to do next. with Microsoft, whose Cortana now opens Alexa.
Meantime, there is emerging research into using
Examples voice interfaces to help professionals understand
If you’ve ever used Siri, Google Now, Amazon’s different sides of an argument. IBM recently built
Alexa or even the microphone button on your a prototype that allows the user to ask a ques-
Comcast remote control, you’re familiar with voice tion—such as “do violent video games contribute
interfaces. Soon, you will find yourself talking to a to violent acts in the real world”—and receive a
host of connected devices, such as your home ther- spoken analysis. A system like this could one day be
mostat, your car, your refrigerator, your earbuds, an invaluable newsroom tool, allowing reporters to
even your connected water bottle. By 2023, 50% of hash out their reporting and analysis with a smart
the interactions North Americans have with ma- machine via a conversational interface.
chines will be using their voices.
Conversational interfaces can simulate the con-
versations that a reporter might have with her
editor, as she talks through the facts of a story. IBM
Watson’s various APIs, including Visual Recognition,
AlchemyLanguage, Conversation and Tone Analyzer
can all be used to assist reporters with their work.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 114


TREND 114
SIXTH YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
Proximity News INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

114
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Proximity networks are being built for content distribution.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


New technologies can be programmed to push or Apple’s Safari Technology release (#38) enabled Google’s Eddystone platform; Apple’s iBeacon plat-
receive information to/ from our mobile devices— the Beacon API by default and turned on Beacon form; IndoorAtlas; Unacast; Facebook; Blis; Snap-
and also our bodies—tethering us to an always-on features for iOS devices. Soon, we will be able to chat; Polytechnical University (China); MIT; University
ubiquitous information network. deliver proximity-based news via WiFi, which can of New South Wales (Australia); Oxford University;
now identify you just by bouncing signals around— BLIP Systems; Bluedot; Gimbal; Qualcomm; Intel;
Examples your unique shape and posture are used to reveal Amazon.
You’ve no doubt heard about beacons, which are who you are, even in a crowded room of people.
tiny devices that can be programmed to push (or Emerging research has shown that WiFi can be used
receive) information to/from mobile phones using to recognize what a person is saying or writing with
Bluetooth. They are located on nearby networks, as a pen—simply by analyzing the WiFi signals altered
sensors use our personal information and collect by our bodies. In a confined space, like a conference
data about our experiences. Beacons become aware center, sporting arena or airport, this would allow
once you’re near them. They’re used frequently for a news organization to recognize one of its news
marketing, however they can also be used during consumers and deliver stories just for her.
planned news/ culture/ arts/ sports events and
throughout cities to share news content with nearby
people. Think of it as proximity news.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 115


TREND 115
THIRD YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Crowdlearning INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

115
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Searches for “what is the eu” and “what is brexit” surged after
the U.K. election.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


You’re familiar with crowdsourcing: asking the Good crowdlearning sources are already available Google; Bing; Apple; Microsoft; Investigative Report-
public to contribute content or to assist with on- to us, and they include HealthData.gov, Google’s ers and Editors; National Institute for Computer-As-
the-ground reporting on an issue. Crowdlearning is busy times data for businesses and public spaces, sisted Reporting; various U.S. government websites;
a computational journalism technique that queries Waze, Wikipedia and more. We anticipate that more various state and local government websites; the
our passive data—our mobile and online activity, news organizations—as well as marketers, activ- websites of government agencies worldwide.
our public health records, our locations—to learn or ists and other groups—will start harnessing data in
understand something new. creative ways. That’s because our thinking results in
behavior (like searching for “what is the EU?”). Our
Examples behavior results in data. And that data can be used
In June 2016, the evening after citizens in the United to learn something about us.
Kingdom voted for Brexit, Google revealed sobering
search data: people in the UK were Googling “what is
the EU.” This passive data told an interesting story,
and it’s just part of what we’re now able to learn
from the crowd by monitoring various networks. Our
smartphone ownership has reached critical mass,
and so has our use of various networks. Our data
not only follows us around, it’s often available for
anyone to search, collect and analyze.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 116


TREND 116
THIRD YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Digital Frailty INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

116
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

A screenshot of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s


website taken on September 6, 2017.

Key Insight A Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series about Digital Frailty in Government and Public Information
In the past three years, we’ve seen the first wide- a collision that killed 20 children and devastated a American journalists watched as U.S. govern-
spread cases of important journalism being erased Colorado community went offline when the Rocky ment agencies removed studies, data and reports
from the web because of media consolidation or Mountain News went out of business. The Tampa throughout 2016, 2017 and 2018. Most notably,
because sites were no longer being maintained. Dig- Tribune, whose motto was “Life. Printed Daily,” kept the Environmental Protection Agency scrubbed its
ital Frailty is the phenomenon in which those digital its rival, The Tribune, hunting for important stories website of climate change information. This was an
assets published to a news organization’s website in the public interest, covering investigations into effort to support the Trump Administration’s ideas
are impermanent or easily broken. Tampa’s judges, legislators and law enforcement. and policies. A government website built to educate
Humanity operates on a continuum. After devastat- children, called “Energy Kids,” also scrubbed men-
Examples ing Texas, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near New tions of climate change. The Trump Administration
Perhaps not every Facebook post should be saved Orleans on the 12th anniversary of Katrina. Rising also removed LGBTQ content from federal websites,
in perpetuity, but might we need to look back on this From Ruin, an award-winning project by MSNBC, scrubbed a lot of civil rights information off of
moment in time and reflect on how our language— told the Katrina’s aftermath through the lenses of WhiteHouse.gov and scrubbed the HHS.gov website
how the very way we communicate—was shaped two small communities in Mississippi that weren’t of healthcare data. Federal agencies instructed
by our Instas, our Snaps, and our tweets? Will our covered by any other media outlet. It included a se- staff and grant recipients to avoid using certain
future historians look back, marveling at the amount ries of videos, maps, interactive elements, a forum phrases—“transgender,” “fetus,” “science-based,”
of anthropological data we were simultaneously cre- for residents—and since it only existed as a website, “evidence-based,”—citing concerns by the Trump
ating—and destroying? If this past election season there was no other way to see the stories. When Administration.
taught us anything, it’s that Twitter helped to shape Microsoft pulled out of its joint venture with NBC,
public opinion and the outcome of the election, even the project went offline.
as many controversial tweets posted by candidates
running for office, were deleted by their campaigns.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 117


TREND 116
DIGITAL FRAILTY CONT.

What’s Next Watchlist


Digital frailty is a phenomenon affecting journalists Axel Springer; Yahoo; Tumblr; Hearst Corporation;
everywhere. Digital frailty isn’t just about falling Time Inc; Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings; Tronc; Gannett;
revenue—sometimes, new technology obviates the Viacom; Hubert Burda Media; Comcast; Alphabet;
old, before anyone’s had a chance to convert files or Asahi Shimbun Company; Microsoft; Grupo Globo;
develop archives. News executive Mario Tedeschi- Advance Publications; News Corp; Univision; Baidu;
ni-Lalli explains how Italy’s largest news website, Bertelsmann; Twitter; Snap; Instagram; General
Repubblica.it, didn’t originally use a content manage- Electric; Bloomberg; Disney; Amazon; AT&T; Verizon;
ment system. When the site installed a CMS for the ESPN; Netflix; Hulu; The Onion; PRX; PRI; Internet
first time, everything published before it was lost Archive; news organizations everywhere.
forever. Tedeschini-Lalli, along with colleagues Nico-
las Kayser-Bril, Anne-Lise Bouyer, Pierre Romera
and Defne Altiok, launched the Offshore Journalism
Project—they hope to preserve national and private
“We’re not at war with the
archives and ensure that quality journalism lives
on, even if political appointees and governments
administration, we’re at
disagree. While some content can be retrieved via work. We’re doing our jobs.”
the Internet Archive, it is only taking snapshots of
content at a time. Libraries archive printed ma- – Marty Baron, Editor of the Washington Post
terial, but there is no central repository for all of
the digital content we are now producing. Perhaps
we don’t need to save every listicle and quiz. What
will a future society look like if our current media
landscape goes dark? Do we have an obligation to
preserve the digital conversations shaping society?
Should we be working harder to ensure that digital
archives aren’t lost?

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 118


TREND 117
THIRD YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Radical INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Transparency KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

117
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

In this age of technology, we need a nutritional label for news.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


In the past year, credible news organizations have Professor Ahmed Elgammal at Rutgers Univer- News organizations everywhere.
faced a crisis of confidence caused by Twitter bots, sity developed an algorithm that looks for novelty
political extremists, and elected officials. Radical in paintings and analyzes which artists influenced
transparency offers the public a full view of how the that work. His research has inspired others to
story was reported and produced. use similar network analysis, historical data and
machine learning to look for similarities in litera-
Examples ture, writing and news. A system like this could be
There are too many instances of “fake news” accu- deployed to look for explicit and hidden influencers
sations to list. In order for journalists to combat a on news stories. Now that news organizations are
growing, but unfounded, public distrust, they should relying on data, algorithms, and machine learning for
offer radically transparent reporting. PolitiFact, the various aspects of news gathering and publishing,
Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website, lists they should commit to radical transparency. There
all of the sources used for a story. ProPublica’s / are too many instances of bias in algorithms to list.
nerds blog explains some of the work behind data Just as consumers expect to see a byline on stories,
journalists, developers and reporters’ stories. because it creates a chain of accountability, they will
soon expect to know how stories were built. Report-
ers aided and augmented by smart systems should
explain what data sets and tools they used. Mean-
while, stories that were written in part or entirely
by computers should reflect that an algorithm was
responsible for the piece of content being read/
watched.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 119


TREND 118
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Limited-Edition INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
News Products KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

118
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

BuzzFeed’s BuzzBot was active during the 2016 Republican


National Convention.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Some organizations have begun to experiment with We anticipate seeing more temporary podcasts, News organizations everywhere.
temporary products: limited-run newsletters, pod- newsletters and chatbots that are deployed specif-
casts that only last a set number of episodes, live ically for just one event. Limited-edition news prod-
SMS offerings that happen only during events. ucts are revenue and audience engagement oppor-
tunities, as they are vehicles for data collection and
Examples targeted advertising.
News organizations creating limited-edition news
products, do not necessarily need to create many
labor-intensive, one-off templates and workflows.
Producers can develop templates that can be iter-
ated on and redeployed again. BuzzFeed stood up a
temporary chatbot during the political conventions
in 2016, while the New York Times launched a short-
term chat service for the Olympics.
Whether it’s a planned news event (such as local
elections, festivals or races), an annual conference
(ONA, SXSW, PopTech), a season (skiing, football,
baseball), or a big story that has a defined beginning
middle and end (such as a weather event), limit-
ed-edition news products are starting to be used by
news organizations.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 120


TREND 119
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

One-To-Few INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Publishing KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

119
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Bitter Southerner is a new breed of website with a highly


engaged niche audience that pays for content.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Newsletters, podcasts and niche networks that We anticipate seeing more and more niche networks REDEF Group; The Information; PRX; TinyLetter;
captivate smaller audiences made a huge comeback launch, whether they are individual newsletters or Mailchimp; Nautilus; Pacific Standard; Bitter South-
between 2015-17. What’s next is an expansion to podcasts. We also expect to see more niche-focused erner; New Inquiry; Aeon; Backchannel; Skype; Ga-
capture even more niche audiences. digital-only content products—private content net- rage Band; SoundCloud; Libsyn; Stitcher; Auphonic;
works, short-form podcasts, and augmented reality SpeakPipe; Twilio; PRI; RadioPublic.
Examples integrations—in 2018 and 2019. Smaller sites like,
Suddenly, it seems like everyone—from world lead- Nautil.us, Pacific Standard, Bitter Southerner, New
ers, to your next-door neighbor—has a podcast, Inquiry and Aeon produce exceptional content and
newsletter, a chatbot or all three. This is due in command very attentive audiences. Our research
part to services like Mailchimp, TinyLetter (owned shows that there is profit to be made, even though
by Mailchimp, and being folded into the Mailchimp audiences may be smaller in size. As many of the
platform entirely this year), Skype, Google Hang- one-to-few startups have proven in the past 24
outs, Garage Band, SoundCloud, Libsyn, Stitch- months, an influential network with sticky engage-
er, Auphonic, SpeakPipe and a host of affordable ment shows why dedicated attention matters more
smartphone microphone attachments. In 2017, we than a bunch of clicks, and that’s the metric that
watched new niche media empires take root: Jes- will matter most in the near future. Advertisers are
sica Lessin’s The Information publishes in-depth taking notice.
stories on tech and business. Former MTV chief dig-
ital officer Jason Hirschhorn expanded his REDEF
newsletter empire.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 121


TREND 120
THIRD YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Notification Layer INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
(A Tragedy of the Commons) KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

120
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

In January 2018, Hawaii emergency response accidentally sent


out a ballistic missile alarm notification.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Notifications show bits of information, including The problem is that notifications now come from News organizations everywhere; Android; Apple;
updates, reminders and messages from friends. everywhere—from the OS, government emergency Amazon; Microsoft.
They appear on the lock screens of mobile phones, services, weather apps, games, social networks,
wearables and connected devices. podcasts, and more. Notifications with photos and
emoji perform better, which is a show of how clut-
Examples tered the space has become. News organizations
Notifications are particularly attractive to news will need to develop new tactics and strategies to
organizations because they capture attention when ensure that their notifications don’t add to the exist-
our attention is most vulnerable. Leveraging our ing notification layer of clutter—and so they do not
FOMO, notifications tempt us to look at our screens alienate readers.
and to click through. Users who opt-in to receive
push notifications increase app retention rates by
2x or more, while opt-in users are twice as likely to
engage with the content teased. Most major news
organizations, as well as content-creators from
other sectors, are now engaging notifications to pull
users into content.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 122


TREND 121
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Journalism as a INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Service (JaaS) KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

121
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

News organizations will find new ways to generate revenue


through Journalism as a Service.

Key Insight economy—universities, legal startups, data science Watchlist


On the fringes, news organizations are beginning to companies, businesses, hospitals, and even big tech PRX; Twilio; REDEF Group; The Information; The Coral
provide journalism as a service, rather than tradi- giants. News organizations that archive their con- Project; MIT Media Lab; ProPublica.
tional news products. tent are sitting on an enormous corpus—data that
can be structured, cleaned and used by numerous
Examples other groups.

“Software as a Service” is a licensing and delivery What’s Next


model, where users pay for on-demand access. It’s a
model that in the near-future might be an inevitabil- News deployed as a service includes different kinds
ity. The central challenge within news organizations of parcels: news stories; APIs; databases that can
is that there are immediate, acute problems—but be used by both the newsroom and paying third par-
reasonable solutions will require long-term invest- ties; calendar plug-ins for upcoming news events;
ment in energy and capital. The tension between the systems that can automatically generate reports
two always results in short-term fixes, like swap- using the news org’s archives and databases and
ping out micro-paywalls for site-wide paywalls. In the like. Services work outside of the social media
a sense, this is analogous to making interest-only landscape, relieving news organizations of revenue
payments on a loan, without paying down the prin- sharing and allowing them to fully monetize their
cipal. Failing to pay down the principal means that services.
debt—that problem—sticks around longer. It doesn’t
ever go away. Transitioning to “Journalism as a
Service” enables news organizations to fully realize
their value to everyone working in the knowledge

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 123


TREND 122
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Transparency INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
in Metrics KEEP
REVISIT
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Photo Credit: http://www.adoraattack.com/fuzzy-numbers/
Historically, news organizations have kept audience data hidden
from staff, while third-party services haven’t always been trans-
parent about what numbers they’re counting.

Key Insight It goes without saying that metrics can influence Watchlist
Social networks are under pressure to offer more editorial and business decisions, not to mention how Nielsen; Chartbeat; YouTube; Google; Instagram; Snap;
transparency in the numbers they report back to the public interprets the popularity of a story. Most Facebook; Twitter; news organizations everywhere.
news organizations. While most companies that large news organizations have hired audience en-
publish content on the web are obsessed with met- gagement and analytics managers as go-betweens.
rics, historically they’ve kept audience data hidden
from staff. What’s Next
Now that Facebook has announced it’s weighing
Examples personal posts over news stories from publishers,
Metrics are neither easy to find nor easy to under- and Google is launching a native ad-blocking client
stand for many working inside of content organiza- in Chrome, everyone in the digital marketing and
tions. In 2016, Facebook apologized for displaying advertising space is wondering what’s next for
incorrect numbers of video plays to advertisers metrics. Already, publishers and advertisers will
and publishers, and said that it had been showing question the validity of metrics that they, them-
incorrect metrics for two years as it attempted to selves, cannot verify. Anyone creating content needs
challenge YouTube. Earlier in the year, current and to understand the ebb and flow of traffic and how
former Facebook staff alleged they were instruct- one piece of content fits into the broader scope of
ed to suppress conservative news from the site’s the organization. We also expect to see news and
“Trending Topics” area. During the summer of 2017, other content as organizations develop new models
Facebook offered new landing page views and page to bring transparency in metrics to staff—without
interaction metrics, which the company said would jeopardizing editorial integrity.
offer better insights for advertisers.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 124


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FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Real-Time Fact INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Checking KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

123
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Washington Post has been experimenting with faster


fact-checking.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Buoyed by charges of “fake news,” real-time Late in 2016, Google introduced a fact-check tag IBM Watson; Tencent; Baidu; Google; Amazon; Face-
fact-checking—powered by both people and algo- to its Google News service—readers can see fact book; Twitter; news organizations everywhere.
rithm—will be a priority for journalists in 2018. checks next to trending stories. As we now see
on a near-daily basis, inaccuracies and falsehoods
Examples quickly spread on social media masquerading as the
Digital tools have made it easy to report on a live truth. At least when it comes to citing numbers and
event and publish in real time, but adding context— data, artificial intelligence will soon allow news or-
such as whether or not a source’s statement is fac- ganizations to automate the fact checking process.
tually accurate—usually happens after. In 2011, MIT In a few years, AI systems will enable more sophis-
student Dan Schultz launched Truth Goggles, which ticated fact checking: explaining whether informa-
originally enabled users to fact-check stories on the tion was taken out of context, or exaggerated, or
Internet. Truth Teller was mechanized, transcribing downplayed.
videos using speech recognition, and it eventually News organizations have a tremendous opportunity
pivoted into a broader annotation tool. In 2016, the to use AI along with social media data and their own
presidential debates were fact checked by a number article databases, to build tools for real-time fact
of groups, including National Public Radio (NPR), checking, adding a critical editorial layer that’s both
the Washington Post, and even Hillary Clinton’s own good for the public interest and good for building
staff. The efforts were people-powered. In Febru- brand reputation.
ary 2017, Washington Post reporters fact checked
President Trump’s address to Congress with very
little lag.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 125


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Offline Is The INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
New Online KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

124
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

New techniques allow consumers to access news content, even


when they’re not on a strong network.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


As consumers shift to their mobile devices, develop- Until news consumers have ubiquitous access to Tencent; Baidu; Google Play; Pocket; Amazon; news
ers are making sure their apps work offline. 
 cheap, fast data, offline reading will be a necessity. organizations everywhere.
News organizations that include seamless, offline
Examples experiences will find sticker audiences.
In the U.S., consumers now spend an average of five
hours a day on their mobile devices. As consumers
move about our days—commuting, walking around
the office, or enjoying a Little League game—they still
find themselves offline. A number of news aggrega-
tors—including Google, Smartnews and Apple—want
to capitalize on the time consumers devote to their
screens, even when the WiFi signal is weak. The
Washington Post’s progressive web app cuts mobile
page load times from 4 seconds to 80 milliseconds
and allows consumers to read news stories without
a data or WiFi connection.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 126


TREND 125
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Audio Search INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Engines KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

125
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Audioburst uses artificial intelligence to index audio broadcasts


and make them easier for consumers to find.

Key Insight Startup Audioburst uses artificial intelligence to Watchlist


As news organizations venture into podcasts, new index audio broadcasts and make them easier for Audioburst; Amazon; Google; Apple; Advanced Media;
search tools allow the newsroom—as well as news consumers to find. Rather than searching for key- Viacom.
consumers—to find exactly what information they’re words, Audioburst uses natural language process-
looking for within audio-only content. ing to automatically discover the meaning conveyed
and to surface the right content. For example, if a
Examples consumer wants an update on how close the U.S.
is to a conflict with North Korea, she can ask a
While developers have learned how to quickly index voice-activated app (Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home),
and display web content, digital audio has always which will sift through audio information and deliver
remained an unsolved challenge. Now, rather than a set of clips.
searching for a topic and getting a bunch of hyper-
links to click through and listen to, consumers will What’s Next
instead receive a series of buttons that play the
exact snippet of audio that’s related to their search. With so much funding and development into voice in-
Better than buttons, consumers can also speak terfaces, audio search will quickly become one of the
their searches to a voice assistant and immediately most important tech trends in the years to come.
get to the podcast they were trying to remember,
to replay a news report they’d heard in the car, or
to get a series of clips related to a subject they’re
interested in.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 127


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SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Synthetic INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Data Sets KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

126
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Synthetic data sets could help programmers build software with-


out raising privacy concerns.

Key Insight Policymakers, in particular, are interested in getting What’s Next


In the wake of privacy scandals, researchers are better data to make our future autonomous trans- While some researchers argue that synthetic data-
starting to experiment with synthetic data sets to portation systems reliable and safe. At the moment, sets aren’t useful beyond testing algorithms and
perform meaningful analyses. This would increase companies like Uber, Lyft, Apple, Google and Waze computer models, we think that increased privacy
the value of datasets that everyone uses—such as hold an enormous amount of real-world data—hand- concerns will lead to the creation and use of more
the Census—while protecting their confidentiality. ing it over to the government would violate the pub- sets like the SynLBD. The Data Observation Network
lic trust. Instead, trip data could be converted into for Earth (DataONE) is working on datasets that
Examples synthetic data, modeled using trips that people take. can be shared by researchers all over the world.
Researchers from the Data to AI Lab at the MIT A number of agencies collect detailed information One future challenge: synthetic data still needs to be
Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems for the purpose of generating statistical models. For verified.
are developing a machine learning system to auto- example, the U.S. Census Bureau gathers a wealth
matically create synthetic data, which could then be of information, such as age, gender and income. It Watchlist
used to develop and test data science algorithms also collects similar data on businesses, including DataONE; National Association of City Transporta-
and models. They propose a Synthetic Data Vault, annual payroll and employment. While this informa- tion Officials (NACTO); World Resources Institute;
which would be able to learn and develop multivar- tion is vitally important to researchers, allowing U.S. Census; University of California-Davis; Purdue
iate models for any number of purposes. In their everyone access to it presents a privacy challenge. University; OECD’s International Transport Forum;
testing, the synthetic data gave the same results as For example, programmers need data sets to create Duke University; SharedStreets; University of New
real data—without compromising privacy. Synthetic and test new algorithms. But the numbers mat- Mexico; U.S. Geological Survey; ESA Data Registry;
data sets hold promise for lots of applications and ter—so creating a statistically identical set of 1000 Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity; SANParks
organizations, ranging from retail to healthcare to people without divulging their exact details has been Data Repository; U.S. National Science Foundation;
the federal government. a difficult task. During the past few years, a number Uber; Lyft; Alphabet; Apple; Waymo; Didi Chuxing;
of new approaches have been tried, including the Ofo; Mobike.
experimental Synthetic Longitudinal Business Data-
base (SynLBD) from the Census Bureau.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 128


TRENDS 127 - 129
EIGHTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY best user experience. If a video won’t display well on
your current device, you could be offered a different

VIDEO INFORMS ACT


version automatically. Because WebRTC works from
the browser, it’s also part of one of the other trends

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
we’re continuing to watch: connected machines.

Impact on media orgs and publishers


KEEP
REVISIT For news organizations, this means that rather
VIGILANT
LATER than bridging computers to networks, which must
WATCH
route and relay information along various channels,
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY WebRTC and similar peer-to-peer technologies

127- 129
could help computers talk to each other without
obstruction. This may seem like a subtle change in
Internet architecture, but consider the implications:
you would no longer need a third-party operator,
like Skype, to video conference with a friend—or to
broadcast live news to consumers. Videos would load
and play faster and would have no need to buffer.
Key Insight
eo, Roku, Hulu, YouTube, Showtime Anytime, iPlayer
U.S. and U.K. adults now spend close to (UK-only), All 4 (UK only), Playstation Now, HBO Now, 129
an hour a day watching online video, and Direct Now, iTunes, and of course, Netflix. Streaming Social Video
increasingly we’re using our mobile phones to Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter all
Impact on news media orgs and publishers
access that content. But not all adults prefer offer live streaming video services—to anyone, for
Streaming services will erode local broadcast news
video. A Pew Research Center survey found markets. These services will also disrupt lon- free. This means that for the first time in history,
that more Americans prefer to watch their ger-form television news broadcasts. But they do no technical knowledge or specialty equipment is
open the door for video adaptations of books, both required to broadcast the news. As a result, we are
news (46%) than to read it (35%) or listen
fiction and nonfiction. seeing a number of newsworthy events now appear-
to it (17%). Meanwhile, the 18-34-year-old ing, completely unfiltered, across social media chan-
American millennial spends three hours a day nels: funerals, arrests, political rallies, conference
128 speeches, encounters with public officials.
watching TV programming, which is more
Decentralizing The Web
time than they spend on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Impact on media orgs and publishers
Twitch, Facebook and Instagram combined. The web is growing decentralized. There are a num-
ber of new approaches to publishing and receiving Streaming social video is a good way for publishers
content that bypasses the usual centers of gravity— to extend their traditional platforms from books and
127 the blockchain, WebRTC, and private networks. ebooks to reach a broader audience. While everyone
Connected TVs can stream—and news organizations now have ac-
WebRTC is the real-time communications technol- cess to that content—we must ask whether every-
TVs that connect to the internet certainly aren’t ogy supported by Alphabet, Mozilla and Opera, and thing should be broadcast. News organizations need
new. What’s changed is penetration in average it powers Google Hangouts. WebRTC can be used a framework to determine whether rebroadcasting
households and the availability of streaming apps to connect your smartphone to the articles you’re a murder, suicide or violent act streamed via social
that bypass the standard list of cable and public reading on your desktop or tablet, displaying dif- video is in the public interest.
broadcasting channels, such as Amazon Prime Vid- ferent components depending on what offers the

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 129


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New Video and Audio INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Story Formats KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
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130
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Hardcore Henry is a science fiction movie experienced through


the main character’s point of view.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


With voice interfaces coming online, and new As consumers become more familiar with mixed Magic Leap; Amazon; Alphabet; Facebook; Nvidia;
technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality interfaces and devices, the old storytelling Sony; NextVR; Curio.io; Oculus; IrisVR; Imax; Micro-
reality moving from the fringe to the mainstream, formats won’t necessarily translate. Audio stories soft; Samsung; Qualcomm; Intel; LG; Huawei; Zeiss;
standard storytelling formats no longer apply. News intended for radio won’t necessarily translate to Xiaomi; HTC; Lenovo; HP; YouTube; Jaunt; Pie; Wevr;
organizations will start to develop new storytelling aggregrated clips played on digital assistants, such Cluster; ZeroLight; Hyve.
formats. as Amazon’s Echo or Google Home. News organi-
zations should begin experimenting now with POV
Examples storytelling templates and story formats specifically
Storytellers have started producing stories built developed for emerging technologies.
specifically for immersive environments. In 2016,
Lionsgate and SilVR Thread produced a short action
movie featuring a high-speed police chase—which
viewers experienced virtually through the central
character, played by Emma Roberts. Hardcore Hen-
ry, science fiction movie about a telekinetic warlord
who plans to bioengineer soldiers, was shot entirely
in the first person point-of-view and was intended
to be viewed in VR.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 130


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Media INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Consolidation KEEP
REVISIT
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131
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

News and media organizations are consolidating in the U.S., due


in part to regulatory changes.

Key Insight in favor of consolidation. The FCC reinstated what’s What’s Next
We are starting to see a handover of sorts: the called the “UHF discount” and has made it easier The next 24 months will be about rapid product cre-
shrinking of traditional media companies just as for broadcasters to consolidate ownership. It also ation and monetization in a rush for investment and
newer media organizations are consolidated under passed a media ownership order that now allows exits—driven by the FCC’s loosening restrictions and
single owners. In the U.S., FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has newspaper-broadcast and radio-TV cross-owner- a Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit blocking
made it easier for companies to consolidate. ship. It also removes a prohibition against two sta- AT&T from buying Time Warner. By the year 2021,
tions in a market being owned by one entity. it’s possible that AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Charter
Examples Univision won the bankruptcy auction for Gawk- and Amazon will have replaced CBS, Viacom, the
In the past two years, Sinclair, one of America’s er Media Group (and killed Gawker.com after the New York Times, Hearst and Conde Nast as the
largest local television station owners, agreed to sale). AT&T, which owns DirecTV, considered bids biggest news and entertainment media brands in
purchase Tribune Media for $3.9 billion plus debt, for Starz, Paramount Pictures, and in the end, won the U.S.
while AT&T agreed to buy Time Warner at a stagger- Time Warner. Re/code became part of Vox, which
ing $85 billion. Chicago-based Tronc, which was spun became part of NBC, which a while back became part Watchlist
off from Tribune in advance of the sale to Sinclair, of Comcast. Verizon acquired AOL. The Financial The FCC; Comcast NBC Universal; Amazon; Axel
acquired the New York Daily News for $1 (that’s just Times was acquired by Nikkei (for a staggering $1.3 Springer; Viacom; Baidu; Bertelsmann; Time Warner;
one dollar)—along with the tabloid’s pension liabilities billion). The New York Times acquired The Wirecut- News Corp; Discovery; Disney; SoftBank Capital; AT&T;
and operational debts. It would be difficult to over- ter, Complex was acquired by Hearst and Verizon in Vox; Vice; Netflix; Hearst Ventures; Facebook; Twitter;
state just how much movement and consolidation is a joint venture, while Thrillist, NowThis and The Dodo Alphabet; Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings; Tronc; Sinclair
underway. merged with Seeker, a division of Discovery Com- Broadcast Group; CBS Television; Nextar Broadcasting
munications, and formed Group Nine Media. Tech Group; Raycom Media; E.W. Scripps; Univision; Cox Me-
Efforts have been helped by the Federal Communi- startups Newsy and Storyful were both acquired by
cations Commission, which under commissioner Ajit dia Group; Meredith Corp; Hubert Burda Media; Asahi
E.W. Scripps and News Corp respectively. Shimbun Company; Microsoft; Grupo Globo; News
Pai has been in the process of changing key rules
Corp; Univision; news organizations everywhere.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 131


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Tweaks To Social INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Network Algorithms KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
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132
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Facebook announced in January 2018 that it would change some


of its policies to help root out fake news and misleading content.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


In the wake of 2017’s #FakeNews fiasco, social net- The challenge is that algorithm changes tend to Facebook; Instagram; Twitter; Snap; digital advertis-
works including Facebook and Twitter have promised happen in real-time, with live audiences. Not all sce- ers; digital marketers.
to tweak their algorithms to curb the spread of narios have been mapped and tested. This became
bot-generated content. Throughout 2018, we expect apparent when a fake story about a Muslim man,
to see various changes—not all successful. warning others about a planned terrorist attack
in Slovakia, went viral. Local police issued a state-
Examples ment correcting the story, but since it came from
In late 2017 and early 2018, Facebook was test- the official police station’s account, tweaks to the
ing different versions of its News Feed around the News Feed algorithm prevented Facebook users
world. News Feed includes content pulled from veri- from seeing it. As social media companies experi-
fied, professional news websites. The company said ment with better ways to curb the spread of fake
that it’s hoping to have “meaningful interactions” and misleading information, we are to see glitches
on its website—and as as a result will be demoting and potentially even more fake news stories being
content from publishers and brands. spread in 2018.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 132


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The First INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Amendment in KEEP
REVISIT
a Digital Age LATER
VIGILANT
WATCH

133
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Legal scholars don’t all agree on how to protect free speech in a


digital age.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


It may seem odd to include the Bill of Rights, which The problem isn’t just limited to the U.S. In 2015, European Union; Federal Communications Commis-
were ratified 225 years ago, in an emerging tech a bot programmed by Amsterdam-based Jeffrey sion; Google; Facebook; Microsoft; Apple; Amazon;
trends report. But recent discoveries in how our van der Groot autonomously wrote and tweeted a Snap; Instagram; YouTube; Twitch; broadcasters;
technology renders speech will result in First death threat, which resulted in Dutch police having newspapers; radio stations; digital media organiza-
Amendment challenges in the years to come. to figure out whether or not a criminal charge was tions; Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional
even possible. As of January 2018, there were more Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School;
Examples than a dozen active lawsuits challenging hate speech Margot Kaminski, Assistant Professor, Moritz Col-
In the aftermath of violent, racist demonstrations distributed via digital media. We anticipate legal lege of Law, The Ohio State University.
at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottsville, Go- challenges worldwide in the next several years.
Daddy and Google dropped services to neo-Nazi
websites. Earlier, in March 2016, Microsoft’s Tay.
ai bot went on an anti-Semitic, homophobic, racist
rampage. The bot was decommissioned within 24
hours, but screenshots of its automatically-gener-
ated tweets are all over the internet. It proved to be
a temporary headache for Microsoft, but the legal
questions continue to perplex Twitter, Facebook,
Snap, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch. How does
the free speech apply to bots? Who’s libel? The bot?
The bot’s well-meaning developer? The brand? The
First Amendment clearly applies to the government
suppression of speech—but does it relate at all to
speech distributed by ISPs and search engines?

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 133


ENTERTAINMENT
MEDIA
134 Holograms
135 Virtual Reality
136 360-degree Video
137 Augmented Reality
138 Mixed Reality Arcades
139 MMOMRGs
TRENDS 134 - 137
FIFTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

MIXED REALITY INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

134-137
Key Insight
Mixed Reality (MR) combines the physical and
134
Holograms
Magic Leap, which continues to raise investment funding,
launched its SDK and developers platform.

135
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer simulated envi-
digital realms and encompasses a number of In the summer of 2017, researchers at the Univer-
ronment. As a tethered experience, VR is experi-
technologies: augmented reality (AR), virtual sity of Rochester unveiled the Illumyn 3-D Display,
enced wearing a pair of goggles, and it can stim-
reality (VR), 360-degree video and holograms. a system that uses laser projection to generate 3D
ulate sensations of being physically present in the
images in midair—sort of. They’re contained in air
scenes a user is viewing. VR can be experienced
that’s enclosed within a glass sphere field with a
What You Need To Know About MR metallic vapor. RED, the professional camera maker,
untethered as well, by slipping a mobile phone into
a special mask. In 2017, a number of headsets went
AR, VR, 360-degree video and holograms aren’t built a holographic phone called the Hydrogen that
on sale from Google, Microsoft, HTC, Oculus and
new. But in the year ahead, we’ll see more generates holograms. Microsoft’s long-awaited
Sony. Because the environment is still very new,
devices being made available to consumers and much-hyped Hololens headset and SDK became
with relatively few content offerings, the relative
available for developers in 2017.
at affordable prices—and we’ll see a number value of VR HMDs (aside from Google’s Daydream
of new content providers building out stories Bottom Line View) isn’t yet attractive for average consumers.
and experiences for each platform. This is a Hologram technology is still in development and too Bottom Line
prioritized summary, based on our research early for most organizations.
The VR marketplace become mature, but it’s still
and analysis, of how news organizations should early for widespread adoption. VR presents greater
invest their time and money. opportunities for entertainment, movies, shows and
gaming.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 135


136
360-degree Video
360-degree video is created with a special cam-
era system capable of recording 360 degrees of a
scene simultaneously. Once the video is rendered,
viewers can use a mouse, their fingers, or gesture
to watch the video from any perspective or angle.
YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo offer 360-degree
videos, and we expect more platforms to offer it in
the year ahead.

Bottom Line
Because 360-degree videos don’t require separate
hardware for viewing, it offers a cost-effective
alternative to VR that has greater market potential
in the immediate term.

137
Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) doesn’t simulate an entirely
new environment, but rather overlays information
right onto your field of vision. But you need a lens
and screen of some kind, whether that’s a mobile
phone or a pair of glasses. In 2017, every major
tech company, from Alphabet to Facebook to Snap,
made big announcements about investing heavily in
the future of AI.
Meantime, Magic Leap, which continues to raise in-
vestment funding, launched its SDK and developers
platform—and it will be using a new kind of lightfield
chip. Magic Leap projects light directly into the
user’s eye, which makes it seem as though digital
objects exist in the real world.

Bottom Line
AR offers the greatest market potential for organi-
zations in the near-future.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 136


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Mixed Reality INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Arcades KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

138
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Mixed Reality arcades are bringing games to everyone using new


business models and cutting-edge equipment.

Key Insight kyo, VR Park offers more than basic games—play- Watchlist
There are a host of fun, interactive mixed reality ers can opt-in to swinging harnesses, flying plat- Intel; Grand View Research; HTC; Samsung; Viveland;
games on the market—but not everyone can afford forms and platforms that simulate bungee jumping, Oculus; Facebook; Alphabet; VRNISH; Inception VR.
the computer and gaming equipment necessary flying and yes, even falling off skyscrapers.
to play. As a result, a new kind of arcade for the
next-generation of gamer is coming to a venue What’s Next
near you. Mixed Reality arcades are proving to be a big busi-
ness. We expect that as the MR market matures,
Examples we’ll see additional arcades opening up every-
In the 1980s, video game arcades became popular— where. One distinction that might keep MR arcades
at first with geeky kids and then the mainstream from going the way of Pac Man—all the haptic inter-
masses, as Pac Man, Galaga and Space Invaders faces. As games become more immersive, players
consoles popped up all around the world. They took will need to update more than their headsets and
off because kids and adults alike both loved playing consoles. At some point, it might be easier and
them—and because early at-home consoles and more cost effective to buy a membership rather
computers were still too costly for the average than a new flight suit every few months.
person. We’re in a similar transition in 2018, as VR
games move from the fringe to the mainstream.
Mixed Reality gaming parks are opening up every-
where, giving everyone the ability to strap in to a
host of games—but this time around, they don’t take
quarters. Startup Virtual World Arcade offers a
membership packages for unlimited VR time. In To-

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 137


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FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

MMOMRGs INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

139
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Second Life players built an MMO inside of it called Remnants of


Earth.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


MMORPGs—massively multiplayer online role-play- Sony’s CSL has built a mixed reality headset, Ubisoft; Sony CSL; Sony PlayStationOrbus VR;
ing games—have been a staple of the online gaming allowing collaborative play between players who Oculus; HTC; Survios; Alphabet; Apple; The Void;
community for years. A huge number of players can see each others’ views. Orbus VR is an early Harmonix; Otherside Entertainment; ILMxLAB; VRX
interact with each other in a virtual environment. attempt at a new kind of game allowing players to Networks; Steel Crate Games; Playful Corp; Micro-
World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy are incredi- move around their rooms, go on quests with friends soft; Magic Leap; CCP Games; Activision Blizzard
bly popular MMORPG’s. Second Life was a virtual and chat with others. It’s likely that a new breed of Entertainment; Electronic Arts; Tencent.
world—and in 2015, players even built an MMO inside MMORPGs—a sort of hybrid Second Life and EVE
of it called Remnants of Earth. What’s coming next Online—could be lurking just around the corner. This
are MMORPGs that are built using mixed reality. could also set the stage for future MMORPGs that
offer more than quests and dragons—specialized
Examples worlds could be built for online dating, training and
Creating a virtual world is difficult enough. Making even diplomacy.
that world immersive, so that you can enter it using
VR or AR, and still interact with other avatars under
a wide variety of circumstances, is incredibly com-
plicated. Another hallmark of MMORPGs is that they
take a really long time to play. It’s hard to imagine
wiring in to a gaming system and physically moving
your body around for hours at a time, swinging vir-
tual swords at goblins or running to catch up with
friends.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 138


Virtual Vocabulary:
A mini-glossary for the virtual reality terms
you’ll need to know in 2018

Cinematic VR Haptics Head tracking


VR created with video and images from the In addition to a VR headset, hand-held con- Some HMDs are equipped with special sensors
real world. (The alternative is computer-gen- trollers are often used. Some are equipped that track the exact movements of the user’s
erated graphics). with haptic feedback, which gives the user the head. The sensors then send feedback to the
sensation of touching something in the sim- system, which moves the images and audio a
Eye tracking ulated environment or receiving touch-back user experiences in her field of vision in re-
A system that can read the position of the reactions. al-time.
user’s eyes while using VR. Eye tracking soft-
ware allows a user to aim correctly with her Head mounted display (HMD) In-ear monitors (IEM)
head while in a simulation. This is the headset you’ve seen people wear- These are earbuds that work with head mount-
ing. It typically includes a strap both around ed displays that don’t offer built-in head-
Field of view (FoV) and over the head, which secures the screen phones.
What a user can see in her visual field while in to your face. Some HMDs include built-in head-
a simulation. The viewing angle for an average, phones as well as sensors for head tracking. Latency
healthy human eye is about 200 degrees, so Sometimes, the system isn’t capable of show-
a field of view close to or greater than that ing the images in exact synchronization with
is optimal, because it creates a true sense of the user. When that happens, a user moves her
being within an environment. head, but the images she’s seeing lag behind a
few fractions of a second. This lag is a rea-
son why some people experience “simulation
sickness.”

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 139


Virtual Vocabulary:
A mini-glossary for the virtual reality terms
you’ll need to know in 2018

Presence Social VR VR face


When a user feels as though she’s fully im- When two or more people are wired in to a VR When a user has been in a simulation, a few
mersed within a simulation, like she’s actually simulation and able to share the experience by things happen: the head mounted display tends
there, she’s achieved “presence.” observing each other, interacting or partici- to leave a temporary imprint on the skin, not
pating in joint activities. unlike a pair of swimming goggles. Users also
Refresh rate tend to relax into a slack-jawed look, with their
How quickly the images are updated. Higher Stitching mouths slightly agape.
refresh rates cut down on latency and provide The process of combining video from differ-
a more realistic simulation. Ideal refresh rates ent cameras into one, spherical video suitable
are above 60 frames per second. for VR. This typically requires a tremendous
amount of editing to fill in gaps, reorient
Room scale scenes and seamlessly meld video streams so
This is the tethered version of VR that offers that the simulation looks authentic.
users the capability of walking around a room
and interacting with virtual items, as they walk
around in the physical world. So if you take
a step in the real world, you’re also taking a
step in the virtual simulation. For this to work,
rooms need to be mapped in advance.

140
MARKETING
AND
ADVERTISING
TECHNOLOGIES
140 VR For Marketing
141 AI For the Creative Process
142 FOBO
143 Retail APIs
144 Digital Associates
TREND 140
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

VR For Marketing INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
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140
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

VR is being used for both B-to-B and B-to-C marketing.

Key Insight What’s Next


Emerging research suggests that virtual reality sto- VR is being used for both B-to-B and B-to-C market- course, highlights an impending ethical challenge.
rytelling, when it’s done well, rewires all of us—we ing. Key Technology, which manufactures food pro-
VR headset sales jumped 75% year over year in
are likely to develop new belief biases as a result. cessing systems, built a VR marketing experience
2017, and we anticipate more growth in the coming
to help vendors see its digital food sorting platform
year. In 2018 brands will have a unique opportu-
Examples in action. Lowes stores offers virtual skills training
nity to tap directly into our minds, persuading us
For more than a decade, scientists have been in VR, guiding DIYers through home improvement
through immersive storytelling.
studying “virtual reality exposure therapy,” which projects. Both BMW and Volvo have created apps
has been used extensively to treat veterans suffer- allowing would-be buyers to test drive one of their
Watchlist
ing from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Because cars. But unlike the usual test drive with a nag-
ging salesperson trying to convince you to buy the HQSoftware; Deep VR; 360 Profilms; Light Sail VR;
VR is completely immersive, it can closely simulate
upgraded sport model package, you instead interact Perception Squared; TaKanto VR; Circos VR; He-
nearly any scenario. Patients, guided by trained
with the vehicle on gorgeous open roads, in the best lios Interactive; Rewind; Reverge VR; BBH; Goodby
therapists, are embedded into VR stories that
possible weather, all by yourself. Spend enough time Silverstein & Partners; VirtualSKY; Leo Burnett;
represent a trauma they’ve experienced. Over time,
with the apps, and your belief bias will shove your BBDO; Facebook; Droga5; Ogilvy & Mather; Razorfish;
this therapy results in new neuropathways—beliefs,
logical mind into the back seat. You might start to Weiden+Kennedy; GSD&M; VML; Critical Mass; Three
attitudes and reactions are changed, for better or
think that inside one of those cars, every day is a One Zero; Valve; Wevr; Alphabet; Innerspace VR;
for worse. This presents an interesting opportunity
traffic free holiday where you have the driving skills StartVR; Epic Games; Survios.
for marketers.
of Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton. This, of

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 142


TREND 141
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

AI In the Creative INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Process KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
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141
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NSynth is an AI-powered music composition tool from Google


Brain.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Can AI learn to be creative? In the past few years, “Break Free” is a single from the album IAMAI, Alphabet; Rutgers University; Facebook; College
we’ve already seen examples of AI systems creat- which was written, produced and performed using of Charleston; Sony; IBM; Amazon; Baidu; Tencent;
ing something from scratch—music, dress designs, artificial intelligence. Sony’s Flow Machine worked Alibaba.
bicycles, and more. along a human lyricist and together, they created a
popular song. YouTuber Taryn Southern used the
Examples Amper AI system to create her latest songs. Aiva
Last year, researchers from Rutgers University, AI is a composer intended to help film directors,
College of Charleston, and Facebook’s AI Research advertising agencies and game studios create orig-
Lab created an AI system whose purpose was to inal scores for their projects. Magenta, a project
make art. The result was so convincing that human from Google Brain, is being used to create art and
art critics couldn’t distinguish between the AI-gen- music—anyone can use its NSynth tool to generate
erated works and those made by humans. That new music. AI being used in creative fields has some
research builds on an earlier study (from Rutgers worried, especially since some of the robo-created
and Facebook’s AI Lab) that trained an algorithm to works seem to appeal to humans as much as flesh-
identify a work’s artist, genre and style of art. and-blood artists. Creative uses for AI is an import-
ant step in advancing the entire body of work and
research, as we transition from artificial narrow
intelligence to artificial general intelligence.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 143


TREND 142
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

FOBO INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
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142
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

FOBO will appear in the WHO’s upcoming 11th International Clas-


sification of Diseases.

Key Insight Emerging research shows that ubiquitous connec- Watchlist


If you’re the kind of person who feels uneasy when tivity, our mobile devices, and social media have World Health Organization; Center for Internet and
your phone runs out of battery or when you can’t created new neural pathways causing us to feel Technology Addiction; University of Connecticut
get a decent WiFi signal, you’re suffering from varying levels of anxiety when we’re prevented from School of Medicine; CalSTRS; tech companies every-
FOBO, or the “fear of being offline.” taking a peek. where.

Examples What’s Next


The World Health Organization now recognizes Psychologists and mental health professionals warn
“gaming disorder” as a mental health condition, and that our FOBO and susceptibility to digital distrac-
it will appear in its upcoming 11th International tion isn’t going away anytime soon. This is good
Classification of Diseases. While the WHO stopped news for anyone in marketing—we are a captive
short of classifying internet or digital addition in audience, growing weaker by the day. But consum-
general, Australia, China, Japan, India, Italy, Korea ers should think about how our current addiction will
and Taiwan all officially recognize “tech addiction” affect our ability to unplug in the longer-term.
as a disorder. In 2013, Japan’s Ministry of Education FOBO could have implications for business. Some in-
created “internet fasting camps” for young people vestors and activists are now likening our devices to
who couldn’t go offline. China operates 300 treat- Big Tobacco court cases, calling on tech giants like
ment centers, and there are 200 tech addiction cen- Apple, Google and Facebook to publicly admit that
ters in South Korea. Numerous professional psycho- they’ve gotten us all hooked. The California State
logical associations around the world, from the U.S. Teachers’ Retirement System, which controls about
to Australia, are now encouraging their members to $2 billion of Apple shares, are calling on Apple to
consider internet addiction as a behavioral compul- study the long-term consequences of using iPhones,
sion worthy of treatment. and they’re asking for new tools to help parents
limit phone use.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 144


TREND 143
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Retail APIs INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
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143
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Curbside ARRIVE API helps retailers predict when customers


will arrive to pick up their products.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Retailers are making their data available to develop- Retailers need to expand their reach beyond brick MuleSoft; CVS; Walgreens; Mastercard; Wayfair;
ers in the form of APIs in order to provide consum- and mortar stores, and also beyond the traditional Zendesk; Walmart; Hershey’s; Amazon; Lowes; Home
ers and partners a host of new services. e-commerce site. The Curbside ARRIVE API helps Depot.
retailers predict when customers will arrive to pick
Examples up their products. APIs could give retailers a reason
Application programming interfaces, or APIs, are to keep their brick and mortar stores open—as more
tools for building software applications. Retailers shopping shifts to online, APIs could be used as a
are using APIs to help customers and partners dis- clever way to keep consumers engaged in the physi-
cover them more easily online, learn about products cal world—using their digital devices.
and services and to interact with the customer
even when she’s not shopping. In October 2016,
Mastercard debuted a developer platform with 25
APIs to make it easier for startups and developers
to integrate its payment services. Through its API
program, Walgreens works with more than 275
partners. Home furnishings retailer Wayfair offers
an API so that developers can build a 3D library—the
goal is to help the company’s expansion into virtual
and augmented realty.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 145


TREND 144
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Digital Associates INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
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144
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Alibaba is already testing smart kiosks and smart digital assis-


tants in China.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Like Digital Assistants, but with specific objectives. Don’t expect these digital assistants to completely Alibaba; Tencent; MasterCard; SoftBank; IBM; Lowes;
Digital Associates—found in augmented reality supplant the human salesforce in 2018—at least not Keonn; Oak Labs; eBay Enterprise; MemoryMirror.
mirrors, roaming robots, and smart kiosks—will give entirely. Any digital tool that makes the in-person
consumers a reason to shop in the real world during shopping experience easier and more enjoyable for
2018. consumers is likely to court investment, not to men-
tion brand loyalists.
Examples
New smart mirrors are helping shoppers in the fit-
ting room—suggesting which colors match a pair of
pants, how to accessorize outfits and even showing
alternate colors and patterns of an item being tried
on. Nordstrom, Top Shop and Nieman Marcus have
piloted the technology so far. Meanwhile in Japan,
SoftBank’s Pepper robot has been taking orders at
Pizza Hut. In China, consumers interact with smart
kiosks to order and pay—without having to pull out or
swipe a credit card.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 146


ENERGY
145 Green Tech
146 Charging Stations
147 Ultra-High-Voltage Direct Current and Macro Grids
148 Better Batteries
TREND 145
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Green Tech INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
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145
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

New green tech initiatives are launching worldwide.

Key Insight Musk is partnering with a number of companies to Watchlist


Electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines—even build attractive solar panels that look more like slate Canadian Solar Inc; First Solar Inc; Atlantica Yield
with a White House that repeatedly demonstrates shingles than the reflective rectangles we’ve seen PLC; Vestas Wind Systems; Xinjiang Goldwind Sci-
its hostility to green technologies, 2018 will bring to date—he, and others, are also developing new ence and Technology; GCL-Poly Energy Holding Ltd;
momentum to clean power. methods to create and store energy using battery Pacific Ethanol; Renewable Energy Group; Toyota;
systems. CropEnergies AG; GCL-Poly Energy Holdings; Schnei-
Examples der Electric; Johnson Controls; ABB Ltd; Motech;
What’s Next Tesla; SolarCity; Panasonic; Vestas; Bombardier
In 2017, President Donald Trump pulled America out
of the Paris Climate Agreement, saying that the U.S. Extreme weather events and ongoing climate Phillips; Emerson Electric; Dong Energy; Xinjiang
would instead rely on coal and oil. The statement change have a lot of very smart people seriously Goldwind Science; Frist Wind Solar; Samsung; Saudi
earned him support from his base (not to mention worried. The International Energy Agency says that Arabia Government; SoftBank; Apple; Amazon; Global
widespread ridicule from others). Regardless, the renewable energy will make up about 40% of the Pvq SE; Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd; Inox
rest of the world has decided to move in a different global power grid by 2040. We should see faster Wind; Hiangsu Akcome Science & Technology Co.
direction. China is installing a record number of so- growth in green tech over the next five years than
lar projects and wind turbines, to deal with crippling we have seen to date.
smog. The Chinese government is investing $560 Even Saudi Arabia is working on a detailed, long-
billion over the next two years to make green tech term plan to help diversify its economy and move
more accessible not only within China, but for its ex- away from oil. To do this, Crown Prince Mohammed
port partners around the world. The U.S. is banning bin Salman has bold visions for the future of his
fossil-fuel cars by 2040; in France, the ban takes ef- kingdom: allowing women to drive and to work in
fect in 2030. Across Europe, the Ionity network will private employment, selling shares of Aramco (the
bring 400 charging stations online by 2020—in the Saudi state-run oil monopoly), and a “utility scale”
U.S., we can expect to see 20,000 by that time. Elon solar project.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 148


TREND 146
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Charging Stations INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
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146
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Tesla plans to launch thousands of new charging stations around


the U.S. in the next few years.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


In the coming year, we’ll see an unprecedented num- Everyone in the gasoline supply chain should get Tesla; Ionity; Blink CarCharging; Envision Solar; Aero-
ber of new charging stations for electric vehicles. It ready for disruption. Gas stations provide more than Vironment; SemaConnect; ChargePoint; PlugShare;
will be the beginning of an uncomfortable disruption just fuel—they sell lottery tickets, cigarettes, main- Saudi Aramco; Sinopec; China National Petroleum
for all those in the gasoline supply chain and retail tenance items, chips, sodas, sweets and more. Once Corporation; Petro China; Royal Dutch Shell; Exxon
business. consumers no longer need to stop for gas, all of the Mobil; BP; Lukoil; Kuwait Petroleum Corporation;
adjacent industries will see an economic hit. Chevron Corporation; Valero Energy; Conoco Phillips;
Examples Now is the time for gas companies to envision their Royal Farms; Wawa; Suncor Energy; vendors to gas
The E.U. is banning fossil-fuel cars by 2040; in future business models. stands; EV car manufacturers worldwide.
France, the ban takes affect in 2030. General Mo-
tors is launching 20 new EV models by 2023, while
BMW, Nissan, Jaguar, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen,
Volvo and Tesla will all have EVs out in 2018. As
a result, we should see more charging stations
throughout communities everywhere. Supercharg-
ing stations will help the EV market take off—there
will be hundreds of new charging stations in Europe
and upwards of 20,000 here in the U.S. by 2020—but
it will start to have a chilling effect on independent
and corporate gasoline station chains, as well as on
the local communities that are supported by them.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 149


TREND 147
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Ultra-High-Voltage INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Direct Current and KEEP
REVISIT
Macro Grids LATER
VIGILANT
WATCH

147
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

ABB has developed a new way to transmit power long distances.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


In the near-future, we will transport clean ener- A national direct-current macro grid could drasti- ABB; China; OPEC countries; TransWest Express
gy from production sites to areas where power is cally lower emissions in an affordable way, without Transmission Project; U.S. Department of Energy;
needed, using a new kind of power grid. compromising our access to electricity. Meanwhile, the DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative.
China has already moved ahead of the U.S. China is
Examples an enormous country, and it’s heavily investing in
In the U.S. and throughout Europe, electricity is green technologies. The first 800,000 volt line, from
generated at a power station and then transmitted a dam in Yunnan Province to Shanghai, has already
using alternating current. But AC is inefficient over been completed. Next up, the Changji-Guquan sys-
very long distances, and even smart grids haven’t tem, which can carry half the entire power use of
always been able to cope with climate change and Spain spanning the east-west expanse of the coun-
our increasing consumer demands for heat and air try. China has made it known that it plans to trans-
conditioning. A new kind of transmission system—ul- port clean energy all around the world. Fifty years
tra-high-voltage direct current (UHVDCs)—is being from now, it’s conceivable that we’re all reliant on
tested in China, which has invested $88 billion to China—rather than OPEC countries (Saudi Arabia,
build the future of UHVDCs and macro grids. the UAE, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Ni-
geria, Qatar, Algeria, Angola and Ecuador) for our
energy needs.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 150


TREND 148
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
Better Batteries INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

148
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Alphabet’s Project Malta aims to capture more clean energy


when it’s produced by using salt to store it on a large scale.

Key Insight Musk’s battery is the size of an American football ing with gold nanowires housed in a gel electrolyte,
It’s a common first-world problem: our devices field—not exactly the right size for your mobile which can last significantly longer than today’s
never seem to have enough battery life, and just phone. But there are a number of researchers and batteries. Spanish startup Graphenano has built
when we need power the most, we either forget startups hoping to bring new kinds of batteries, ca- a battery out of graphene, while researchers at
our chargers or can’t find a spot to plug in. Building pable of storing renewable energy, to market soon. Toyota are looking at a solid state battery that uses
a better battery has been an elusive challenge for sulfide superionic conductors. If you’re someone
decades—that might start to change in 2018. What’s Next constantly looking for a place to plug in, you won’t
The problem with modern batteries isn’t about need to worry for too much longer.
Examples making the power—it’s how to store enough of it.
Startup Ossia Inc. built a wireless charging system Watchlist
In 2016, South Australia suffered a massive black-
out, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull blamed that can power AA batteries from 30 feet away. Al- Tesla; Alphabet; Baseload Renewables; University
on renewable energy targets—the push towards phabet’s Project Malta aims to capture more clean of California-Irvine; Toyota; Nissan; Graphenano;
renewables is what led to the problem, he argued. energy when it’s produced, by using salt to store General Motors; Huawei; Energous Corp; the Fed-
In response, Elon Musk offered to build a massive it on a large scale. Luxury watchmaker Ressence’s eral Communications Commission; Qualcomm; U.S.
battery farm, capable of storing enough wind and Type 2 e-Crown Concept smartwatch collects and Department of Energy; MIT Department of Materials
solar energy to power all of South Australia when stores energy created when you walk, as well as Science and Engineering; Ossia Inc; Khosla Ventures;
usage grew too high—and that he’d do it in 100 days, solar energy when you’re outdoors. Cambridge, Founders Fund.
or the whole thing would be free. The local govern- Massachusetts-based startup Baseload Renew-
ment accepted his offer, and Musk delivered on his ables is working to market batteries that can store
promise, and the system has been up and running renewable energy in a battery. Lithium-ion batteries
since November 2017. have limits, though, which is why researchers at
the University of California-Irvine are experiment-

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 151


CLIMATE
AND
GEOSCIENCE
149 Anthropocene
150 Extreme Weather Events
151 Human Migration Patterns Shift
152 Geoengineering
TREND 149
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Anthropocene INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
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IMMEDIATE IMPACT
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149
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Earth’s new geological layers show that humans have left a per-
manent mark on the planet.

Key Insight Examples What’s Next


An international, independent team of scientists, Scientists within the AWG and outside have deter- Recognizing that humans have made a permanent,
called the Anthropocene Working Group, has now mined that humans have left a permanent mark on visible mark on the planet is the first step in study-
found enough evidence to support the official decla- the planet. The new geological layers we are creat- ing the future implications to our planet.
ration of a new geological epoch. The group, com- ing are riddled with chemicals and industrial waste,
prised of scientists who were both in favor of and pavement, plastic, nuclear fallout, dams, everyday Watchlist
against declaring a new epoch, reached a consensus garbage, pesticide runoff and more. We’ve caused Anthropocene Working Group; the Union of Con-
in early 2018. our sea levels to rise and our lakes and rivers to dry cerned Scientists; the International Union of Geolog-
up, and extreme weather events are a normal part ical Sciences; the Nature Conservancy; U.S. Geolog-
of daily living on Earth. ical Survey.
A new epoch is defined following a cataclysmic
event—like the asteroid that collided with Earth and
led to the end of the dinosaurs. It significantly and
permanently alters the underlying sedimentary
and rock layers beneath the surface of the planet,
resulting in visible changes that can be seen and
measured.
The “Anthropocene” (anthro for “man,” and cene for
“new”) marks a new geographic epoch. (Our previ-
ous epoch was called the “Holocene,” which began
11,700 years ago just after the last ice age).

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 153


CATASTROPHIC SCENARIO –
THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF CHOOSING A NAME
Future Today Institute Research Team

We humans are Earth’s first species to wield planet-scale influence. Us-


ing the term “anthropocene” going forward may be a call to arms for
some—but it could result in others simply giving up and giving in to climate
change. For those who find more comfort in fatalism than in having to gen-
erate bold new ideas for the future, agreeing that we’re in this new epoch
could result in global apathy. The sins of generations who came before us
can’t be reversed now, so what’s the point? We’ll either need to find anoth-
er host planet, or agree that humanity is nearing an end.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 154


TREND 150
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Extreme Weather INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Events KEEP
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150
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

In 2017 and 2018, California residents battled extreme wildfires,


brought on by severe drought.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


An extreme weather event is one that falls outside As we’re likely to see more extreme weather events National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
the norms of typical weather patterns. They became in the years to come, now is the time for communi- (NOAA); NASA; Department of Energy; Department
a worldwide phenomena in 2017. ties to prepare their citizens for weather-related of Homeland Security; House Armed Services Sub-
emergencies. It’s also time to talk about business committee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities;
Examples and economic disruption. The Trump Administration Columbia University’s Earth Institute; United Nations’
Bomb cyclones. Hurricanes off the coast of Ireland. continues to deny climate change and scrubs federal Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Euro-
Sudden wildfires that can’t be contained, followed by websites of facts and evidence-based reports, and pean Geosciences Union; University of North Car-
mudslides that ravage entire communities without it has withdrawn support for initiatives to com- olina at Wilmington; Potsdam Institute for Climate
warning. In India and Pakistan, hundreds of people bat extreme weather. As a result, American cities Impact Research; National Center for Atmospheric
died when temperatures spiked. These were just a are threatening to sue some of the largest energy Research.
few of the extreme weather events we saw in 2017, suppliers. New York City filed a lawsuit against BP,
and you can expect more of the same in the years to Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal
come. Dutch Shell for damages caused by climate change,
and in early 2018 the city council for Los Angeles
Scientists at the University of Arizona and the debated whether they should do the same.
Swiss Federal Research Institute have been study-
ing climate change and discovered that the polar Meanwhile, air and road travel, as well as cruises,
jet stream has been fluctuating more frequently will see more weather-related delays, diversions
since 1960. The dramatic fluctuations—further north and cancellations. Logistics and delivery companies
and south—are connected to our warming oceans. will need to contend with delays and backups due to
Strong hurricanes, sudden freezes and droughts storms—this will mean unhappy customers as well
all plagued the U.S. in 2017, causing $306 billion in as hardships for vendors and retailers alike.
damage, making last year the costliest on record.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 155


PLAUSIBLE SCENARIOS FOR THE NEAR-FUTURE
OF U.S. AGRICULTURE
Amy Webb

In the future, extreme weather could shift the U.S.’s breadbasket states
far north into Canada, and our citrus production from Florida and Califor-
nia to Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. Existing farming communities could
be devastated within a generation. Another possibility: genomic editing
makes it possible to produce more fruits, grains and vegetables, so our
farms shrink in size and move underground and into buildings capable of
withstanding big storms. Most of our agricultural sector is automated—col-
laborative robots and smart sensors plant, monitor, and harvest what we
need. Our food is grown hyper-locally, year-round.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 156


TREND 151
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Human Migration INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Patterns Shift KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

151
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

We must prepare for a future wave of climate refugees.

Key Insight A study by researchers at Columbia University, Watchlist


Climate change is forcing people from their homes published in the journal Science, showed the cli- Environmental Justice Foundation; United Nations;
and communities. To date, we don’t have an offi- mate change could lead to 1 million climate refugees UNHCR; Cornell University; European Union; Center
cial designation for “climate change refugees,” but migrating into the European Union every year by For Migration Studies.
that’s likely to change in the near-future. 2100—creating breathtaking changes to our exist-
ing cities and infrastructure. Throughout the world,
monsoons, droughts and scorching heat are driving
Examples
millions of people away from their homes in search Climate change could lead
2017’s Hurricane Maria triggered a mass exo- of more hospitable environments.
dus from Puerto Rico, causing one of the largest to 1 million climate refugees
migration events in U.S. history. As of December, an
estimated 215,000 Puerto Ricans fled the island for
What’s Next migrating into the European
The EJF worked with national security experts and
the U.S. mainland. Researchers from the School of
International and Public Affairs at Columbia Uni- retired military leaders to model scenarios for the Union every year by 2100—
versity looking at new flows of migrants worldwide, future of climate change and human migration and
concluded that the number of climate refugees
creating breathtaking
found that people who applied for asylum between
2000 and 2014 were increasingly on the move due could dwarf the number that has fled Syria in recent changes to our existing
to “weather shocks.” A recent study by the Environ- years. We could see a wave of migration from Afri-
mental Justice Foundation (EJF) says that tens of ca, the Indian Subcontinent and from island nations cities and infrastructure.
thousands of Bangladeshi families could soon face into Europe and the U.S. It would be wise for inter-
becoming climate refugees within their own coun- governmental organizations to begin talks about
tries. It’s a problem that could soon get worse—a adopting official designation—as well as the corre-
one-meter sea level rise could result in a 20% loss sponding protocols necessary—now, in preparation
of Bangladesh’s current landmass. And it’s not just for near-future waves of climate refugees.
Bangladesh at risk.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 157


TREND 152
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Geoengineering INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH
Harvard physicist David Keith and his team are planning an
experiment this year that would spray a small amount of material

152
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY
(water, initially) into the stratosphere. Then it will fly through the
spray with instruments to measure how those particles interact
with the atmosphere, so scientists can start to understand
whether geoengineering is even feasible.

Key Insight slow some from melting. Another possibility is oce- Watchlist
To counteract extreme weather and climate change, anic iron fertilization—dumping enormous amounts Princeton University; NASA; National Oceanic and
researchers are looking to geoengineering—large- of iron sulfate into large swaths of the ocean. Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Department of
scale technological and scientific interventions to Theoretically, it would stimulate the growth of Energy; Department of Homeland Security; Columbia
counteract the damage we’ve caused to the planet. phytoplankton, the tiny sea life that absorb carbon University’s Earth Institute; United Nations’ Inter-
dioxide, release oxygen and are gobbled up by other governmental Panel on Climate Change; European
Examples creatures. Some scientists have proposed launch- Geosciences Union; Potsdam Institute for Climate
ing enormous, mirrored parasols into the strato- Impact Research; National Center for Atmospheric
It probably sounds terrifying—or at the very least, sphere, which would reflect sunlight back into space
like a plot from a big-budget sci-fi movie. Scientists Research.
and (again theoretically) could cool the Earth’s at-
are quietly researching massive geoengineering mosphere over time. One of the most controversial
projects that could help stave off sea-level rise and ideas is to have a fleet of jets fly around the planet
curtail our planet’s warming temperatures. One constantly and inject sulfur dioxide gas overhead,
project from Princeton University scientist Michael which could reflect the sunlight back.
Wolovick involves building massive piles of sand or
other materials dumped to the sea floor, to build What’s Next
walls around glaciers—sort of like a scaffolding to
prevent them from collapsing. Farther beneath the Scientists can run simulations using available
surface of the ocean is warmer sea water. As it data, but it’s impossible to predict the second
moves closer to glaciers, it destabilizes the foun- and third-order implications of geoengineering in
dation, causing pieces to break off and melt into advance. Even so, the fate of the whole planet is at
the ocean. Shoring up their foundation could keep stake. No one country can—or should—take the lead
glaciers submerged in the icy upper layers of water, on geoengineering. U.S. Secretary of State Rex
and—theoretically—prevent them from melting. It’s Tillerson said that climate change is “just an engi-
not a perfect method for all glaciers, but it can help neering problem”.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 158


AGRICULTURAL
TECHNOLOGIES
153 Indoor and Outdoor Plant Factories and Microfarms
154 Deep Learning For Farming and Food Recognition
155 Smart Farms
156 Terraforming
157 Cultivated Food and Beverage
TREND 153
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Indoor and Outdoor INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Plant Factories and KEEP
REVISIT
Microfarms LATER
VIGILANT
WATCH

153
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Microfarms will test autonomous growing techniques throughout


2018.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


With extreme weather hampering traditional ag- According to the latest U.N. estimates, we’re going Japan Plant Factory Association; Japanese Ministry
riculture, new kinds of indoor and microfarms are to need to produce 70% more food by 2050 to meet of Economy, Trade and Industry; Iwatani Agrigreen;
endeavoring to see whether produce and grains can global nutrition needs. Genomic editing techniques National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative As-
be grown in spite of climate change. that are moving from the fringe to the mainstream, sociation (Japan); Mistubishi; Chiba University; Aer-
combined with AI and vertical staking techniques, oFarms. Bright Farms; Detroit Dirt; Fujitsu; Grove
Examples could very well result in a future where we have Labs; Tomiyama Corporation; Monsanto; Sungenta;
Japanese researchers in Kameoka, Koto are one of microfarms housed underground, in our office Bayer AG; DowDuPont; BASF; Del Monte; Komatsu;
200 plant factories—indoor microfarms—that can buildings, and on neighborhood blocks. While it would Claas; John Deere; AGCO.
now grow enough hydroponic lettuce to feed local disrupt our existing business models and the agri-
communities. The lettuce is grown without soil or cultural supply chain, it would mean better access to
sunlight and it takes only 40 days to mature before fresh, nutritious food in urban and rural communi-
ties alike.
We’re going to need to
it’s shipped to supermarkets around Japan. At the
Kansai Science City microfarm location, much of the produce 70% more food
work is automated: raising seedlings, replanting,
watering, adjusting the light and harvesting is all by 2050 to meet global
done using artificial intelligence and collaborative
robots. nutrition needs.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 160


TREND 154
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Deep Learning For INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Farming and Food KEEP
REVISIT
Recognition LATER
VIGILANT
WATCH

154
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Researchers are testing robotic harvesting systems that use


image recognition.

Key Insight before you take your first bite. Researchers at the Watchlist
Deep learning is being used to help identify food for University of Massachusetts are using deep learn- Abundant Rotobics; Plantix; FFRRobotics; Blue River
a number of reasons: to help computers have more ing for computer-assisted dietary assessments, Technology; John Deere Labs; Microsoft; Prospera;
robust conversations with us about what we’re eat- while scientists at Microsoft have already incorpo- IBM; Alphabet (Google); University of Massachusetts;
ing, to calculate the number of calories in a dish, and rated their deep learning prototypes for recognizing Apple; Carnegie Mellon; MIT Media Lab; University of
to spot spoiled or tainted food. popular Asian and Western foods into Bing local Tokyo; Penn State University; University of Maryland;
search engine. At the MIT Media Lab, students are PlantVillage.
Examples working on an organic barcode that’s invisible to
us, but could be read by machines—it could be used
Indian farmers can now snap and upload photos to help consumers more easily trace produce as it
of their problem crops to Plantix, a cloud-based AI moves around the world.
system that automatically recognizes the plant and
likely disease, pest or nutritional deficiency. It’s a What’s Next
game-changer for local farmers. California startup
Abundant Robotics and Israeli-based FFRRobotics This technique can be used to find and sort bad
are both developing automated picking systems that products on food assembly lines, and it can help
scan and “read” produce to determine when it’s growers better identify crop disease. Deep learning
ripe. Blue River Technology, recently purchased by for food recognition could soon mean a number of
John Deere Labs, is using deep learning to automat- opportunities for agricultural companies, farmers,
ically detect and spray weeds. food manufacturers, restaurants and those watch-
ing their diets.
On the consumer side, deep learning will soon be
used to help us learn what’s in the food we eat—and
even where it came from. Computer models will be
able to calculate the nutritional value of your meal

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 161


TREND 155
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Smart Farms INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

155
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

New and emerging technologies will power farms.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


In order for traditional agriculture to meet the glob- A number of new and emerging technologies can UN Food and Agriculture Organization; USDA; Tyson
al demand for food, researchers are trying to make be used to power farms with data and to automate Foods; Alico Incorporated; Agria Corporation; Adler
farming look more like modern manufacturing. labor. For example, moisture sensors can contin- Seeds; American Vanguard; Monsanto; Dow Chemical
uously monitor the moisture level of soil and com- Company; University of Maryland; Purdue University;
Examples municate with an irrigation system to increase the Iowa Farm Bureau; OpenAg Initiative at MIT; DNV GL;
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization pub- water supply. Editing the genomes of seeds can Cargill; Alltech; Bernard Matthews Farms; BASF;
lished an alarming report in 2009 stating that by the allow them to flourish, even in unpredictable weath- AVEBE; Archer Daniels Midland; Marrone Bio Innova-
year 2050, global agricultural production must rise er conditions—which are becoming more frequent. It tions; Syngenta; Honeywell; DuPont.
by 70% to meet projected demand. Current farms can also match seeds to specific soil types, to gen-
won’t meet the mark without getting a little smarter. erate an optimal crop of vegetables. Advancements
in agricultural drones will, in the near-future, assist
with planting, harvesting and pest control.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 162


TREND 156
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
Terraforming INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

156
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY
Photo courtesy: NASA.
NASA is already studying terraforming on surfaces far away
from Earth.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Terraforming—literally, “Earth shaping”—is a concept The keys to terraforming could be in our current NASA; SpaceX.
from science fiction. People reform another planet microbes, which are capable of surviving harsh
to make it resemble Earth, so that it can support environments like the Atacama Desert. Of course,
human life. we might even invent entirely new forms of life using
synthetic biology. In order to advance terraform-
Examples ing from theory to reality, we’ll need a host of new
The average temperature on Mars is -67 °F, which robots capable of being trained to mine for resourc-
might have seemed like an obstacle before the es and build an ecosystem that can sustain human
winter of 2017 when Mount Washington, New life. And we’ll need powerful rockets that can power
Hampshire recorded a wind chill of -90 °F. (Sci-fi, spacecraft to transport those robots to space so
meet reality.) Some people believe that human life that they can break ground.
is unsustainable on earth in the far-future, and that
humans will need to colonize another planet in order
to survive. In September 2016, Elon Musk, CEO of
SpaceX, delivered his plan to both get us to Mars
and to terraform it once we arrive. It will be several
years before humans pack up and move to space—
but NASA has already moved ahead on several proj-
ects to study terraforming the Moon.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 163


TREND 157
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Cultivated Food INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
and Beverage KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

157
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

This chicken was grown in a lab and prepared by chefs in a tradi-


tional kitchen.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Say goodbye to tofu imitations of traditional meats. The clean meat movement is heading towards Clara Foods; Hampton Creek; SuperMeat; Finless
Scientists are getting closer to culturing meats and acellular agriculture, which doesn’t require starter Foods; Memphis Meats; Impossible Burger; Future
beverages in a lab. cells extracted from muscle biopsies, and brews Meat; Just; University of Maastricht; EU; FDA; the
meat from microbes. This will allow researchers to governments of China, Israel, the U.S., Japan and EU.
Examples someday cultivate milk, chicken and eggs. Last year,
In 2013, the University of Maastricht introduced the Impossible Burger launched at restaurants in New
world to the first lab-grown hamburger patty, and York City—it’s a meat patty grown using plant ma-
it cost $330,000 to create. Since then, a number of terials, and consumers report that they really can’t
startups have been working on various techniques tell the difference. Finless Foods is working on a
to culture—rather than harvest—meat that has the lab-grown fish product. It will be 10-15 years before
same chemical structure as what would have other- producers are able to scale production to meet our
wise come from an animal. Within just a few years, demand, but by that time we might be printing our
we should be able to buy lab-grown meat in the U.S. own hamburgers at home.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 164


BIOTECHNOLOGIES,
GENOMIC EDITING
AND
BIOINTERFACES
158 Genome Editing
159 Biological DVRs
160 Human DNA-Powered Devices
161 Using Our DNA As Hard Drives
162 Nanobot Nurses
163 Custom-Crafted Microbes
164 Precision Medicine Just For You
165 Running Out Of Space For Genome Storage
166 Genome Editing Research Clashes With Public Opinion
167 Nootropics and Neuroenhancers
168 Microbiome Extinction
169 Building A Comprehensive Human Cell Atlas
170 Biointerfaces Laminated Onto Our Skin
TREND 158
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

GENOME EDITING INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

158-167
Key Insight
Biology is one of the most important
What You Need To Know About
Genome Editing
through future generations, and so that
millions of humans in high-risk regions no
longer suffer from the disease. There are
technology platforms of the 21st century. Genome editing is a quickly-developing,
therapeutic possibilities in human medicine
Advancements in genome editing will game-changing field promising to influence
as well. Editing our genetic code could mean
have a profound affect on all living things, the future of life on our planet. Mapping the
eradicating certain genetic diseases—like
potentially helping us to live longer, human genome has been a long and difficult
cystic fibrosis—so they can’t be passed along
healthier lives. process. Recently, sequencing technology
to future generations. Liver cells could be
has become more accessible and affordable
edited so that they lower the bad cholesterol
to research labs, which would enable them
levels in families that have inherited
to work towards personalized medical
mutations.
treatments for vexing diseases like cancer.
In 2017, there were a number of important
Eight years ago researchers unveiled a gene
advancements—as well as a paper that
editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9, which
showed the potential limits of CRISPR.
allows scientists to edit precise positions
The first human embryos in the U.S. were
on DNA using a bacterial enzyme. New
modified using CRISPR at Oregon Health
technologies make CRISPR gene editing more
and Science University. Researchers
affordable. The implications are tremendous.
successfully corrected a genetic mutation
Mosquitoes carrying malaria could be edited
causing a deadly heart condition. World-
so that they no longer carry the disease
renowned geneticist George Church and

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 167


his team used CRISPR to modify pig organs, Types of Genome Editing:
making them safe to be used for human
liver, kidney, heart and lung transplants. CRISPR-Cas9
Meantime, researchers at Stanford What it stands for: Clustered Regularly
University found that some people could be Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat or
immune to part of the CRISPR process. One CRISPR. Cas9 is an endonuclease used an
of the primary tools used, Cas9, is created RNS-guided gene-editing platform—it’s a
typically using the same bacteria that cases bacterial process.
strep throat. Some people have immune ZFN
systems that are capable of naturally
What it stands for: Zinc Finger Nucleases.
fending off infections, and this research
They’re engineered DNA binding proteins
calls into question whether the CRISPR
that can introduce a break at a designated
technique could be effective across all—or
location.
just part—of the human population.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, we will see rAAV
a number of companies further develop What it stands for: Recombinant Adeno-
biological technologies. However, this is Associated Virus. It allows researchers to
another example of an emerging technology precisely target and edit any cell. Scientists
that’s developing faster than our ability are now working on a hybrid CRISPR-rAAV
to have meaningful conversations for the biological editing platform.
future. Genome editing warrants meaningful
Language Matters:
planning, as it could alter life for millions of
• Gene-edited and GMO: gene-edited means
people around the world.
that an organism’s native genome has
been edited, while “genetically modified
organism” (GMO) means that foreign DNA
sequences have been introduced into an
organism. Geneticist George Church and his team used CRISPR to modify
• Gene drive: this is the practice of pushing pig organs.
the inheritance of desired genes through
generations in order to permanently alter
the entire population of an organism.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 168


FUTURE SCENARIOS: PROMISES AND CONCERNS
Amy Webb

Very Near-Term
Pest Control vs Ecological Weaponization
Genome editing can be used in mosquitos, which carry malaria—that disease kills
millions of people worldwide each year. The technique alters a section of the DNA,
making it impossible for future generations to spread malaria to humans. Howev-
er, some security experts warn that the same process could be used in reverse—
to rapidly spread a biological weapon that could be impossible to stop.

10 – 15 Years Away
Longer Lifespans vs Overpopulation
Some argue that genome editing could be used to give humans longer lifespans
and to lower mortality rates—which would result in a devastating strain on our
global supply of food and greater environmental degradation. On the other hand,
genome editing is also being researched to create heartier plants and dou-
ble-muscled livestock for human consumption.

20 Years Away
Healthier Babies vs Super Humans
Genomic editing will someday help eradicate heritable diseases—like cystic fibro-
sis, Tay-Sachs disease, Huntington disease, Leigh Syndrome—from the popula-
tion. The same techniques could be used additively, tweaking our musculoskeletal
composition and I.Q. Very wealthy parents might be offered options to edit and
enhance their future children. On a grander scale, this technology could be at-
tractive to world leaders who play the long game in geopolitical power. Develop-
ing a population of Super Humans—physically strong, mentally powerful—would be
a huge strategic advantage.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 169


159 Researchers at Columbia University and the New
York Genome Center think that DNA could potential-
Biological DVRs
ly be used in advanced computer systems. They’re
DNA is where we store all of our information, but the not alone. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research
problem is that sometimes we humans have tem- Projects Agency (DARPA) announced its own DNA
porarily-varying biological signals. Researchers at storage project in 2017. It seems like a weird branch
Columbia University have discovered that it might of biological science, but there are practical reasons
be possible to record and store information about for human computing: DNA could solve our future
cells as they age. The technique—a sort of biological data storage problems. It’s durable (evolutionary
DVR—can be recorded by the CRISPR-Cas system scientists routinely study DNA that is thousands of
over a period of days. In the future, this could allow years old to learn more about our human ancestors).
researchers to very closely study how, exactly, we It’s ubiquitous. And it’s cheap, even if the current
age. If we can quantify aging at a cellular level, maybe process is cost-prohibitive.
we can reverse it. The CRISPR editing process.
162
160 Nanobot Nurses
Human DNA-Powered Devices
Tiny robots capable of delivering medicine to only a
It’s relatively simple to design and fabricate a new specific area of the body, or assisting with mi-
product using computer-assisted design soft- cro-surgery, are on the horizon. Caltech scientists
ware and a 3D printer. Some are hoping that in the developed an autonomous, molecular robot, made of Bioworks build custom-crafted microbes for their
near-future, it’ll be just as simple to design and a single strand of DNA, that treats the inside of the customers, which have included designer bacteria
build new medicines and therapeutic treatments at human body like a distribution warehouse. The na- enabling crops to fertilize themselves. Zymergen is
a molecular scale. Researchers are now working on nobot can walk around, pick up molecules, and de- developing original microbes for making specialty
building programmable devices out of our DNA, RNA posit them in designated locations. Scientists have polymers, which have applications in military equip-
and proteins. These molecular programs would allow been working on nanobot technology for the past ment and electric vehicles. The University of British
doctors to “talk” to our cells in order to diagnose decade. Researchers at the University of California Columbia-Okanagan is developing realistic human
complex diseases, or to test new treatments. Asi- San Diego proved in 2015 that a nanobot, propelled hearts that can be used for surgical trainees.
mov, an MIT startup, is developing a set of biological by gas bubbles, successfully delivered medicine in-
tools that would allow you to build a sort of biological side of a live mouse without causing injury. The hope
circuit board. A team at Harvard University’s Wyss is that someday soon, nanobots will replace one-
Institute is researching this fantastical-sounding size-fits-most medications and therapies, treating Biology is quickly emerging
technology for its practical uses, like curing cancer. our specific ailments without causing side effects.
as one of the most important
161 163 technology platforms of the
Using Our DNA As Hard Drives Custom-Crafted Microbes
To date, scientists have stored a $50 Amazon gift Synthetic biology is an emerging field that builds
21st century.
card, an operating system and a film (L’arrivée new life: replacement organs and soft tissue, as
d’un train en gare de La Ciotat, a short black-and- well as entirely new kinds of organisms never be-
white French film made in 1896) on human DNA. fore seen on Earth. Synthetic biologists at Ginkgo

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 170


TRENDS 159 - 167
GENOME EDITING CONT.

164 166
Precision Medicine Just For You Genome Editing Research Clashes With Public
This is a new approach to personalized treatment Opinion
and prevention, allowing doctors to design a treat- In China, human CRISPR trials have been under-
ment strategy using our own genes as guides. In the way for several years. Sichuan University began
future, there would no longer be a single medication testing modified cells on people with lung cancer
for all, but rather an individualized treatment for as early as 2015, while in Guangzhou, researchers
each one of us individually. The market for precision from Sun Yat-sen University published the results
medicine is enormous, attracting new partnerships of their tests on human embryos in 2016. All of
between corporate behemoths. In January 2018, these stories raised concerns for ethicists and
GE Healthcare and pharma-giant Roche announced biologists in other countries, and yet we still have Scientists stored French movie L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La
a joint venture to co-develop precision medicine no global norms or a global agreement detailing Ciotat in DNA.
products for cancer and critical care. In the U.S., how we should experiment with and use emerging
the National Institutes of Health created All of Us, a biological technologies. In the U.S., U.K. and Europe,
national program aimed at gathering data from one CRISPR trials will begin in earnest during 2018.
meant to boost your mood. Australia-based Smart-
million Americans to help accelerate precision medi- As the results of trials are published, we expect
Cap is a tracking system that uses voice warnings
cine advancements. some amount of public outcry, which could lead to
and vibrations to keep you alert while on the job.
the spread of misinformation, eventual calls for
Canadian startup InteraXon’s Muse headband uses
165 regulation and the stifling of research and funding.
neurofeedback to help manage stress and improve
There’s precedent for our forecast: remember Dolly
Running Out Of Space For Genome Storage athletic performance. The Emotiv Epoc+ and Emotiv
the sheep?
One of the fastest-growing datasets in the world Insight and mobile EEG devices monitor your brain
is made up of our human genetic data. By 2025, activity and analyzes cognitive performance. Dop-
167 pel, which is worn on the wrist, uses electric pulses
researchers at the University of Illinois at Urba-
na-Champaign estimate that we may be out of data Nootropics and Neuroenhancers to augment your energy. The pulsations, which you
storage space for human genomes. As precision In the next few years, a number of drugs (also dial in based on your needs, are supposed to have
medicine, CRISPR and gene therapy technologies called “nootropics”) and devices, intended to en- a similar effect on your brain as music does. The
continue to advance and improve, our storage needs hance our cognitive ability and manage stress, will Thync Kit is a series of electrodes and a triangular
will explode along with the computing power and be made available to the public. device that you stick on to your head—and a mobile
requirements for acquiring, distributing, analyzing, app synching you to your smartphone. It delivers
Nootropics are dietary supplements that have been low-grade electric pulses to influence either your
encrypting and safeguarding our genomics data. As shown to improve cognitive function—even if they’re
technology becomes increasingly intertwined with sympathetic (fight or flight) or your parasympa-
not officially regulated or approved by the FDA. Ba- thetic (rest and digest) nervous system.
biology, we’re realizing that we didn’t plan ahead for copa monnieri, panax ginseng and ginkgo biloba are
adequate storage capacity, and that we didn’t create all being marketed to help promote mental clarity, And for those who want to get more meta: South
good technology workflows for storing all that data. focus attention and retain information. Korean startup Looxid Labs is building a headband
Australia’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research to gather metrics while you’re on nootropics or
is looking into different processes and workflow to Neuroenhancer devices are intended to record wearing neuroenhancer devices. It promises to
reduce the genomic data footprint going forward. brain waves and send feedback. Some promise to collect all the data necessary to tell you whether or
help you become more productive, while others are not you actually relaxed.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 171


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Microbiome INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Extinction KEEP
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LATER
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168
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Researchers now think that we’re causing the extinction of a


large potion of the human microbiome.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


We may all be guilty of causing a mass genocide, We humans are complex, composite organisms, Microbiome Center at the University of Chicago;
which is happening right now, in our guts and in the made up of layers and layers of cells. Researchers Stanford University’s Sonnenburg Lab; Viome; SENS
environment. The widespread use of antibiotics, now think that our gut microbiome is directly linked Research Foundation; uBiome; U.S. Food and Drug
along with diets rich in processed foods, have led to to everything: our metabolism, immune system, cen- Administration; University of Pennsylvania; the
a staggering decline of microorganisms in wealthy tral nervous system, and even the cognitive func- American Gastroenterological Association Cen-
nations. tions inside our brains. It’s an inherited problem: ter for Gut Microbiome Research & Education; The
most of our microbiota are passed from our moth- American Gut Project; OpenBiome.
Examples ers through the birth canal. There are a number of
During the past 12,000 years of human evolution, researchers now looking at the future of our micro-
we’ve shifted nature’s balance—our diets are rela- biomes. San Francisco-based startup uBiome has
tively narrow, compared to our far-distant ances- launched several at-home microbiome tests (though
tors. Recently, scientists studied modern hunt- you still need a subscription to take one). The Ameri-
er-gatherer tribes in Tanzania, Peru and Venezuela, can Gut Project, the American Gastroenterological
whose microbiota have 50% more bacterial species Association and OpenBiome will track 4,000 pa-
than people do in the West. Unlike those tribes, we tients over 10 years to learn about fecal microbiota.
no longer hunt and eat wild flora, fauna and animals. Investors have poured more than a billion dollars
Those from wealthier countries now eat very little into microbiome startups since 2016. It’s a field
dietary fiber, limited variety of fruits and vegetables that’s also attracting talent: last year, IBM Watson’s
and only four species of livestock: sheep, poultry, former head of AI research Guruduth Banavar left
cattle and pigs. Our microbiomes are shrinking. to join startup Viome as its chief technology officer.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 172


TREND 169
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Building A Comprehensive INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Human Cell Atlas KEEP
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LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Human Cell Atlas team will create the first map of all the cells
that make up the human body.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Researchers are working on the first-ever compre- The team working on the atlas believes that they can The organizing committee and academic institutions
hensive map of all of the 37.2 trillion cells that make draw comprehensive reference maps for all human of the Human Cell Atlas.
up the human body. cells in the body. A human cell atlas would give the
medical community a new way of understanding how
Examples our bodies work and how to diagnose, monitor and
A large team of scientists—including 130 software treat disease.
engineers, mathematicians, computational scien-
tists, biologists, clinicians and physicists — hailing
from Israel, the Netherlands, Japan, the U.K., the
U.S. and Sweden, are hard at work mapping the hu-
man body on a cellular level. Although a cell atlas had
long been theorized, new biological tools and more
compute power have turned this one-time vision into
a reality.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 173


TREND 170
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Biointerfaces Laminated INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Onto Our Skin KEEP
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LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Takao Someya team at the University of Tokyo is testing


ultra-thin wearable biointerfaces.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Ultrathin electric mesh, pressure-sensitive fabrics, Biointerfaces are being tested for medical purpos- Daegu Gyeongbuk Insistute of Science & Technol-
optical sensors and bio-acoustic sensing arrays will es, but there are communication applications as ogy; University of Tokyo; MIT; Stanford University;
soon provide a persistent window into your health. well. Researchers at the Design Lab in Berlin have Design Lab; Carnegie Mellon; University of Michigan;
developed a glove that has embedded pressure sen- University of Pennsylvania’s Nano/Bio Interface Cen-
Examples sors, which could soon give the gift of limitless com- ter; the Center for BioInterface Resarch at Georgia
Tiny, temporary biointerfaces that include biochem- munication to deaf-blind people, who currently rely Tech.
ical, light-based and electrical sensors could allow on a system of tactile (hand-to-hand) sign language.
us to use our bodies in entirely new ways. Biointer- Software translates the sign language alphabet into
faces could someday be used to monitor our vital digital text and is connected to the Internet—mean-
signs, blood sugar levels or even provide persistent ing that anyone will be able to communicate freely
connections between our bodies and the physical with people who are deaf-blind.
world. Researchers at South Korea’s Daegu Gyeo-
ngbuk Insistute of Science & Technology (DGIST)
and at the University of Tokyo in Japan are test-
ing ultrathin, gas-permeable sensors that can be
directly laminated onto human skin for long periods
of time. This could enable doctors to continuously
monitor their patients, or even patients to monitor
themselves.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 174


HEALTH
TECHNOLOGIES
AND
WEARABLES
171 Patient-Generated Health Data
172 Touch-Sensitive Prosthetics
173 Smart Thread
174 Bioelectronics
175 Wearables
176 Smart Glasses
177 Hearables / Earables
178 Head Mounted Displays
179 Smart Bras
180 Smart Helmets
181 Smart Gloves
182 Tattooables
183 Thinkables
184 Ingestables
185 Smart Fabrics
186 Smartwatches
187 Smart Shoes
188 Wireless Body Area Networks
TREND 171
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Patient-Generated INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Health Data KEEP
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The doctor will see you—and your smartphone—now.

Key Insight trying to find ways to make good use of what we’re storm, which caused a spike in emergency room
Patients are creating a trove of data that could creating. Differential privacy measures could enable visits, and there was a local flu outbreak.
contribute to their healthcare provider’s overall hospital systems to anonymize our private details Not all future scenarios are bleak. Our health data,
assessment. Packaging all that data—and figuring while still making our data useful to researchers. combined with artificial intelligence, could soon allow
out how to make use of it—is still a challenge. So is New software from companies like Validic, allow doctors to provide us better preventative care.
making sure it’s secured. doctors to collect this other data and incorporate it
into their medical records—as long as patients give Watchlist
Examples their consent. GE Healthcare, Meditech, Allscripts,
eClinicalWorks and Cerner are all building products GE Healthcare; Meditech; Allscripts; eClinicalWorks;
As of this report’s publication date, the key pro- to make better use of our data. Cerner; Validic; HumanAPI; Vivify; Apple; IBM; Micro-
visions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were soft; Qualcomm; Tactio; Alphabet; Medicare; Medic-
being debated in congress, while the Trump Ad- What’s Next aid; national health systems; insurance companies.
ministration continued in its efforts to dismantle
the program. Even if the ACA is repealed, all of the Healthcare systems and providers will need to shore
electronic medical records systems that were put up security fast. On a near-weekly basis, hackers
in place to meet compliance regulations, are likely to are targeting hospitals and doctors, holding patient
stay. data for ransom. In May 2017, hackers used the
WannaCry malware to break into the U.K.’s National
Anytime we visit a doctor’s office, all of our health Health Service, crippling the nation’s hospitals and
data is filed electronically. We’re also creating clinics. In January 2018, hackers used the remote
troves of health data via our fitness trackers, cars, access portal to break into a rural Indiana hospital.
smartphones and watches, which monitor our They demanded 4 bitcoin to release the data. The
behavior. All of this data has to be stored, and the timing was awful: there had just been a serious ice
medical community and public health sector are now

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 177


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SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Touch-Sensitive INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Prosthetics KEEP
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Photo courtesy: Ortiz Catalan et al., Science Translational Medicine
In the near-future, prosthetics will both move and communicate
the sensation of touch.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Researchers are developing new prosthetic limbs Interdisciplinary researchers at the Center for University of California at San Diego; Lausanne and
that restore not just movement—but touch as well. Wearable Sensors and the Center for Brain and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies; University
Cognition at the University of California at San Hospital Agostino Gemelli; National Academy of Sci-
Examples Diego are combining materials science, and psy- ence; FDA; University of Chicago; Duke University’s
Humans are capable of distinguishing between var- chophysics, to map exactly how humans perceive Center for Neuroengineering; University of Southern
ious surfaces—and we’re quite sensitive. Research- touch. This research lays the groundwork for California; University of Washington’s Center for
ers have been amassing a body of knowledge to help advanced prosthetics in the future. We’ve already Sensorimotor Neural Engineering; Johns Hopkins
them develop electronic skin, and prosthetic body seen some exciting developments. Neuroscientists University; Carnegie Mellon University; StarLab;
parts that deliver haptic, tactile sensations. at the University of Chicago are experimenting Case Western Reserve University; Penn State Uni-
with touch-sensitive robotics and rhesus monkeys, versity; DARPA.
whose neural-sensory biology is most similar to
humans. They successfully simulated the sensation
of touch by stimulating certain areas of the brain. A
team of scientists from the Lausanne and Sant’An-
na School of Advanced Studies and the University
Hospital Agostino Gemelli developed a bionic hand
that transmits a realistic sense of touch; it’s already
in use, restoring sensation to a woman who lost her
hand in an accident 25 years ago.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 178


TREND 173
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Smart Thread INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
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173
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Smart thread can change color and transmit data.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


“Smart thread” uses electrical currents and trans- Smart thread is just coming out of experimentation, Tufts University; University of California at Berke-
mits information to doctors after surgery. but initial tests results show that it can be success- ley’s School of Information; Harvard-MIT Division of
fully used as a diagnostic device. Health Sciences and Technology; Harvard Universi-
Examples ty’s Wyss Institute.
Think of “smart thread” as a sort of temporary,
smart system that connects to a smartphone or
other medical device and reports on your glucose
levels, diagnoses an infection and alerts hospi-
tal staff if your body is chemically out of balance.
Researchers at Tufts University have embedded
nano-scale sensors and electronics into surgical
thread, that can be used for suturing. Meantime,
at the University of California at Berkeley’s School
of Information, researchers are experimenting
with smart threads that can change color. These
non-surgical threads are coated with thermo-
chromic paint that changes color when jolted with
electricity.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 179


TREND 174
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Bioelectronics INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
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174
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences is helping to bring a new branch


of health science to the mainstream.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Bioelectronics is a new scientific field in which tiny, Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences is partnering with Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences; Stanford University
ingestable and implantable devices are used to treat a lot of health-tech and pharmaceutical companies School of Medicine; Alcon; Dexcom; IBM; GSK; 3M;
a variety of ailments. to develop new products. Its venture with glucose AstraZeneca; University of California Los Angeles;
monitor maker Dexcom could lead to a new kind of Novartis.
Examples continuous glucose monitor. Verily is working with
Stanford University’s School of Medicine is re- contact lens maker Alcon to create smart contacts
searching biosensors that could help us predict that both correct our vision and monitor our blood
when we’re about to get sick. One of the doctors sugar. Already, Verily and UCLA have developed a
involved in the project became his own research wearable microscope that can be used to detect
subject. On a flight to Norway, he noticed a change certain kinds of cancers. Just as complex comput-
in his heart rate and blood oxygen levels, though he er networks can be analyzed and fixed by isolating
wasn’t symptomatic. Remembering that a few weeks specific nodes—bioelectrical engineers believe that
earlier, he’d been in rural Massachusetts, he decided the human body can be similarly addressed to stim-
to find medical attention as soon as he landed. It’s ulate our immune system, slow the progression of
a good thing he did: the biosensors picked up Lyme disease and extend human longevity.
disease well before he’d have otherwise known he
was infected.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 180


TREND 175
SIXTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

WEARABLES INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
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VIGILANT
LATER
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LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

175-188
Magic Leap’s new MR glasses will sent to developers in 2018.

Key Insight 176 178


As of January 2018, the Future Today Smart Glasses Head Mounted Displays
Institute is tracking 538 wearable devices, in This will be the year that developers start exper- Virtual reality headsets are wearable devices.
imenting with Magic Leap, whose smart glasses What’s next: they will soon collect your biometric
various stages of development—from fringe
project light directly into the user’s eye, making data and other personal information in order to
experimentation to mass-market sales. The it seem as though digital objects exist in the real provide added functionality. The HTC Vive tracks
Future Today Institute estimates that by the world. Don’t force connections between Google your movement, while controller sticks send haptic
end of 2018, 345 million wearable devices Glass and what comes next. Glass was a successful signals to your brain as you work your way through
technology in search of a market. simulated environments. Beyond videos, there is not
will be sold worldwide. More than half are
much additional opportunity to integrate news with
dedicated to fitness or biometrics, while others HMDs.
177
are intended for gaming, work and medical
Hearables / Earables
monitoring. Global sales should generate 179
revenue of $38 billion in the coming year. In-ear computers, otherwise known as earables,
Smart Bras
are here. Bragi’s wireless Dash earbuds give users
As of now, nearly all wearables require a access to Android’s and Apple’s digital assistants, Smart bras, intended for athletes and fitness en-
smartphone or computer to see and report responding to gesture as well as voice. For ex- thusiasts, captures biometric data to track cardiac
ample, an incoming phone call can be accepted and pulmonary activity. One startup, OMsignal, cre-
data, adjust settings and archive information.
by shaking your head yes, or declined by shaking ated a smart bra that creates an individual base-
Those coming to market in 2018 and 2019 will your head no. Future versions of Apple’s EarPods line for the user, then monitors activity looking for
continue to service our fitness and lifestyle will monitor temperature, perspiration and heart abnormalities. The system can detect early signs of
needs with our mobile phones as a hub. rate during exercise or sports—and those earbuds pulmonary conditions and sleep apnea.
will be used to control electronic devices (like our
phones) using head gestures.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 181


TRENDS 175 - 188
180
Smart Helmets
The National Football League and Air Force both use
smart helmets, but now that technology is coming
to everyday people. Islamabad-based startup Let’s
Innovate has developed a smart motorcycle helmet
that automatically calls for an ambulance in case of
emergency. Nearly half of Pakistani households own
motorcycles, but only 10% of riders wear helmets—
and about 15 people every day die in motorcycle ac-
cidents. A smart helmet capable of calling for help
could save lots of lives in Pakistan, not to mention in
other areas around the world.

181
Smart Gloves
Canadian researchers at Simon Fraser Univer-
sity designed a set of interconnected gloves to
help transmit a sense touch through the internet.
When someone moves her fingers in one glove, her
actions are sent to her partner wearing the other.
Sony has been filing patents for haptic glove con-
trollers, which would simulate the physical sensa-
tions of slicing, punching and shooting.

182
Tattooables
Medicine will start to look very different. Ta-
tooables—temporary skin that can store data and
deliver drugs—have entered trials. Researchers at
the Institute for Basic Science and Seoul National
University in South Korea, the University of Texas
in Austin, the University of Tokyo, Stanford and the
University of California at San Diego are all work-
ing on electronic second skins. MC10 has already
created microscopic, organic semiconductors and
carbon nanotubes that stretch and flex and can
be powered wirelessly. Called BioStampRC, it’s far

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE


TRENDS 175 - 188
WEARABLES CONT.

thicker than a tattooable, but the idea is the same— up to its Health App. There may be other projects
and it’s only a matter of time before the technology in the works—recent European patent filings show
shrinks. that Apple is researching smart fabrics for wallets,
arm bands and cushions. Google’s Project Jacquard
183 partnered with Levi’s and launched a smart jacket,
which it’s now selling in retail locations around the
Thinkables
U.S. Biofabricate is growing fabrics in a lab. Projects
Thinkables will soon allow more adventurous in the works include drug-releasing medical textiles
gamers to control games using only their thoughts. and fabrics that regulate moisture in our skin.
Boston startup Neurable created a brain-controlled
VR game called Awakening that lets you control the Bragi’s hearables double as digital assistants.
186
game with your thoughts. The 4D Force platform
detects brain waves, capturing EEG/ EOG/ EMG Smartwatches
signals and converting them into signals a comput- There are lots of smartwatches now in the market,
er can understand. though Apple dominates sales worldwide. In 2017,
Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin all released new models, 188
184 and we anticipate even more launches in 2018. Luxu-
Wireless Body Area Networks

ry brands like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany, Armani,
Ingestables Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs) commu-
Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Montblanc are now getting
In the next few years, we’ll see several new ingestible into the business, launching on the Android platform. nicate information from your wearable devices
and implantable devices that deliver drug therapy, back to medical servers, app manufacturers and
monitor our vital statistics, stimulate our brains, help your home computer. Sensors, such as devices to
187
manage pain and bladder control and more. (See also: monitor your heart rate or oxygen level, collect
Advanced Robotics and Genome Editing sections.) Smart Shoes data and send it back to a central hub (most often,
In early 2018, Baltimore-based Under Armour your smartphone) which then relays the informa-
launched its next-generation set of connected tion to a medical team or health care monitoring
185
running shoes, whose foam soles include an accel- service. There are a lot of benefits: rather than
Smart Fabrics moving into an assisted living facility or spending a
erometer, a gyroscope, a battery and a Bluetooth
A new breed of weavables and connected fabrics— module. The shoes collect and store data, allowing lot of time in the hospital, patients can instead move
textiles woven with sensors and other technolo- you to go out for a run without having to bring along back home while being provided with virtual care.
gies—will provide haptic feedback for a number of your smartphone. They also set a baseline the first While some of the established medical devices use
practical purposes. Japan-based Xenoma created time you use them, and then track distance, stride strong encryption algorithms, many new wearable
a set of smart pajamas for people suffering from length and your running cadence over time. Others devices don’t. They’re sending a lot of unencrypted,
dementia. It would offer patients greater freedom of in the market include Altra IQ for fitness, Orphe for unsecured personal data – including our locations
movement by geofencing them in a designated area, light shows at night, and Solepower to generate – across the Internet. As the hacking community
without needing to confine them to hospital rooms. power for your cell phone while you hike. becomes more sophisticated, it’s started target-
Apple is researching smart fabric watch straps and ing hospitals and clinics. The U.S. Department of
other kinds of interactive garmets, which would sync Homeland Security has been investigating several
cybersecurity cases related to WBANs.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 183


SMART HOMES
AND THE
INTERNET OF
THINGS
189 Privacy Laws, Net Neutrality and Hackers
Threaten the Internet of Things
190 Searching The Internet of Physical Things
191 Intelligent Cameras
192 Our Appliances Will Have Digital Assistants
193 Smart Appliance Screens Are Coming
194 Home Appliances Will Talk To Each Other
195 Wireless Kitchens
196 Smarter Home Security
197 Smart Remotes
198 Smart Mirrors
199 Our Smarthomes Become Weaponized
TREND 189
SIXTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Privacy Laws, Net Neutrality INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
and Hackers Threaten the KEEP
REVISIT
Internet of Things LATER
VIGILANT
WATCH

189
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Key Insight bandwidth and processors—as well as the now-ubiq- with no immediate solution. Meanwhile, in the U.S.,
FTI has been tracking the evolution of the Internet uitous availability of smartphones and WiFi in if internet service providers are legally allowed to
of Things (IoT) for a decade. This year, we see a con- industrialized nations. Even the internet itself got throttle access and speed, it could cause latency
vergence pitting the IoT’s growth against the seri- an upgrade to something called Internet Protocol and hiccups in our connected devices. This could
ous challenges posed by hackers and policymakers. Version 6 (IPv6), which is helping to expand the IoT frustrate Alexa and Google Home users—conver-
so that there are enough usable addresses to go sations with digital assistants could face constant
Examples around. International standards organizations are interruption and lag. But it also means security risks
working on a future open standard, just as HTTP for everyone. If you’re away from home and a smart
Billions of smart sensors and devices in our homes, and FTP play critical roles in how we move content smoke detector sends you a notification that your
offices, schools and cars are talking to each other, around on the web today. garage is on fire, you—and the fire department—
monitoring information and activity, and automat- would want that message right away. If our ISPs
ing tasks in order to make your life easier. These What’s Next determine which accounts, services and devices get
devices and their protocols make up the Internet of priority, that could spell disaster.
Things (IoT). In the next few years, there could be as New privacy laws in Europe and net neutrality
many as 30 billion connected devices and machines rollbacks could seriously impact all of this prog- Securing the IoT will continue to be a challenge in the
online: fitness trackers, traffic lights, bras, autono- ress. Once the General Data Protection Regulation coming year. IoT devices are considered ideal tar-
mous vehicle components, farm equipment, parking (GDPR) goes into effect, it will change how devices gets, because consumers are purchasing more and
meters, coffee machines, personal drones, shoes, can collect and use human data. It’s unclear whether more connected devices without also learning about
doorbells, fish tanks, bicycles, pajamas—we could fill a smart thermostat in someone’s home will meet how to secure them. Just as your computer can be
another hundred pages of this report just listing the compliance standards once the regulations are in hijacked by a botnet, so can your smart doorbell. In
diverse ecosystem that will soon become the IoT. place. Now think of all the billions of devices that rely October 2017, researchers at Netlab 360 found the
on human-generated data, or that send data with IoT_reaper botnet, which was infecting an aver-
Why the sudden explosion? It has to do with the personal attributes back to us through mobile apps— age of 10,000 new devices a day. In 2016, the Mirai
sharply-decreased cost of components, sensors, that could be a catastrophic compliance problem botnet infiltrated tens of thousands of DVRs and

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 186


The Mirai botnet infiltrated tens of thousands of DVRs and web-
cams, which helped it successfully take down a large swath of
the internet.

webcams, which helped it successfully take down a


large swath of the internet.
There will be calls for increased security and reg-
ulation in the coming year, when the IoT nears an
inflection point—and development starts to outpace
our ability to secure it.

Watchlist
Qualcomm; Cisco; Symantec; Bitdefender; Global
Cyber Alliance; Alphabet; Amazon; Apple; Honeywell;
IFTTT; GE; Intel; Cisco; IBM; Sony; Samsung; LG; Ha-
doop; Arduino; SmartThings; AT&T; Verizon; Erics-
son; Atmel; littleBits; National Cybersecurity Alliance;
European Union; U.S. Congress; Federal Commu-
nications Commission; Federal Trade Commission;
internet service providers.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE


TREND 190
FIRST YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Searching The INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Internet of KEEP
REVISIT
Physical Things LATER
VIGILANT
WATCH

190
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

The Internet of Things is becoming easier to search.

Key Insight What’s Next distributed network. But what if the real-world gets
The Internet of Things—that massive interconnection Shodan and Thingful are search engines for IoT hacked? It’s possible that someone could re-label
between all of our smart devices and the internet— devices. It was intended as a security tool to help IT contaminated medication as pure. As the searchable
is growing at breakneck speed. We already have professionals keep track of all the devices connect- physical IoT grows, we will need a new system to
billions of physical devices connected to the inter- ed to a network—but hackers also found that they verify searches.
net, but what about also searching for real-world could remotely access baby cameras and garage
things? doors. German lighting manufacturer Osram built a Watchlist
tiny chip that can scan a bar of chocolate to deter- Shodan; Thingful; Qualcomm; Intel; Alphabet; Micro-
Examples mine how much cacao is inside. Its chip helps power soft; Apple; Tencent; Alibaba; Baidu; Amazon; Osram;
Several years ago, Amazon updated its mobile app a consumer-grade molecular spectrometer built Consumer Physics; MatchMaker Exchange.
to allow people to shop for real-world objects by by Israeli startup Consumer Physics, which allows
scanning their barcodes. Its next iteration let users anyone to extract information out of food and pills.
take and upload a photo. Now, you only need to wave This could enable you to scan a piece of chicken in
your smartphone near an object you want to get order to search the fat and calories on your plate.
more information on, or you can directly add it to Their research is also able to recognize prescription
your shopping cart. Online search giants like Google and over-the-counter drugs in order to spot coun-
and Bing have made it easy to find just about any terfeits. Osram expects that there will be consumer
information in the digital realm. The idea is to let products able to search the physical world launch-
us search real-world objects, as well as all of the ing in the next few years. Meantime, MatchMaker
devices connected to the Internet of Things. Exchange is an “Internet of DNA,” matching the DNA
from sick people around the world to help research-
ers discover rare genes. It’s not unrealistic to say
that in the near future, everything you see (and even
the things you can’t) will become searchable via a

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 188


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Intelligent INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Cameras KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

191
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Amazon Web Services launched a $250 AI-powered camera


called DeepLens.

Key Insight August smart lock, created a new home security Watchlist
Cameras themselves are getting smarter, and they camera called the Hive View—it automatically sends Amazon; Alphabet; Microsoft; Qualcomm; Intel; Ten-
now have on-device AI capabilities. They are able to smartphone notifications when it detects any unusu- cent; University of Washington; Microsoft; Camera
listen to and watch what’s in the frame, then make al motion or sound. Engineers at the University of Culture Research Group at the MIT Media Lab; In-
decisions based on that information. That might Washington have developed a system of networked stitute of Anthropomatics & Robotics at the Karl-
include locking a door, recording a conversation, or cameras that can automatically track people as they sruhe Institute of Technology; National Instruments;
following a robber as he runs down the street. move. Combined with facial and object recogni- Electronic Frontier Foundation; Austrian Institute of
tion algorithms and AI, smart cameras will provide Technology; University of Birmingham.
Examples unprecedented security opportunities. They will be
used in our cars, bringing us one big step closer
Late in 2017, Amazon Web Services announced to hybrid-autonomous vehicles, where drivers will
In the near-future, smart cameras
a $250 AI-powered camera called DeepLens that choose to take control of the wheel or allow the car with on-device AI capabilities will
includes optical character recognition, as well as to drive itself during stop-and-go traffic.
image and object recognition. A smart camera would connect with the IoT and make
enable companies to remotely count and monitor What’s Next autonomous decisions, like when to
warehouse inventories. They could also let confer-
ence organizers and Hollywood movie studios gauge Advancements in smart camera technology are criti- lock the doors, whether to close off
the level of enthusiasm during performances (no cal to the future of our AI ecosystem. Soon, they will
more focus groups or having to beg attendees to be able to see in the dark. Recognition algorithms bridge access, and which roommate
fill out post-conference surveys!). Google launched will do more than spot people and pets. They’ll gets the last slice of pie.
AIY Vision Kit, a smart camera kit that works with connect with other IoT devices, making autonomous
Rasberry Pi—the company is hoping that DIY en- decisions—like when to lock the doors, whether to
thusiasts and developers will start building smart close off bridge access, and which roommate gets
camera applications. Yves Béhar, who designed the the last slice of pie.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 189


TRENDS 192 - 199
THIRD YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

SMART HOMES INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

192-199
Urbaneers developed a smart kitchen prototype with wireless
devices and in-counter charging pads.

Key Insight 192 194


Our Appliances Will Have Digital Assistants Home Appliances Will Talk To Each Other
The global, addressable smart home market
Samsung announced that all of its appliances will As the Internet of Things matures, more of our
could top $140 billion in the next five years.
include Bixby—the company’s digital assistant—by smart home appliances will offer interoperability,
Driven by lifestyle changes, energy and 2020. Apple has opened up its HomeKit require- resulting in more automation. For example, the
cost savings, we should see an increasing ments, making it easier for manufacturers and Bosch Home Connect smart kitchen line connects
demand for in-home connected appliances, developers to incorporate Siri. Both Amazon and to Nest Protect. If you forget that pizza in the oven
Google are partnering with appliance manufactur- and it starts to catch fire, your Nest smoke detec-
devices and locks. ers en masse, which will soon allow us to turn on tor will tell the oven to turn itself off. In the coming
As of now, nearly all wearables require a our dishwashers and see how much time is left on year, we’ll see more integrations across brands and
the dryer. appliances.
smartphone or computer to see and report
data, adjust settings and archive informa- 193 195
tion. Those coming to market in 2018 and Smart Appliance Screens Are Coming Wireless Kitchens
2019 will continue to service our fitness Major appliance manufacturers are including smart As appliances and devices start to take over our
and lifestyle needs with our mobile phones screens in upcoming models, supported by Alexa and counters, we could wind up tangled in wires. That
as a hub. Google Assistant. The Samsung Family Hub smart might not be a problem in the near future. Man-
refrigerator and Whirlpool Cabrio washing machines ufacturers are researching options for wireless
will allow users to interact with them via touch charging, which include in-counter charging panels
screens and smartphones. The smart screen inter- and more energy-efficient appliances. Urbaneer,
faces offer customization—new specialty cycles and a Michigan-based home furnishing designer, is
programs can be downloaded from the internet. working on a suite of connected furniture that can
charge nearby devices.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 190


TRENDS 192 - 199
196 198 199
Smarter Home Security Smart Mirrors Our Smarthomes Become Weaponized
All of the screens in your connected devices will Want to know how you really look before you leave We’ve already seen one big case of our smart
soon double as security cameras. Researchers are for the office? Several new AI-powered mirrors, homes becoming weaponized. In 2016, the Mirai
building new software that connect smart screen- capable of image and object recognition, are com- botnet infiltrated tens of thousands of DVRs and
equipped devices—such as your television, your ing to market this year. They’re more like tablets webcams, which helped it successfully take down
Chromecast, your Echo Show, your refrigerator— than traditional mirrors, offering beauty, fashion, a large swath of the internet. In May 2017, an
with security systems. In practice, this means that news and weather app. Haier’s Magic Mirror helps 11-year-old was able to infiltrate Bluetooth-enabled
you could remotely monitor any part of your home you keep track of your wardrobe and closet—not teddy bears. All the smart devices in our homes
without having to purchase a camera for every unlike Cher’s famous closet computer in the mov- are considered ideal targets, because we’re pur-
room. Taiwan-based D-Link, which builds home net- ie Clueless. The HiMirror Mini creates a baseline chasing more and more of them—and because too
working equipment, is launching home cameras that measurement for your skin, and over time it tracks often, manufacturers don’t issue regular firmware
integrate with either Google Assistant or Alexa as progress towards your goals. We anticipate a host updates, or they aren’t proactive enough in helping
well as other screens in your home. of new smart mirror applications, which will help consumers apply security patches.
coordinate outfits, learn makeup and hair tutorials,
197 assist you with flossing properly, and more. Many
smart mirrors include digital assistants, which play
Smart Remotes the news and display the weather when asked.
Subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity already have
access to voice-controlled remote controls, which
allow users to search for actors, ask questions
about shows, and bypass the menu system to quickly
find what they want to watch. We tend to associate
remote controls just with our televisions, but you can
expect to see new uses for remotes in the years to
come. Startup Flic debuted a bottle cap-sized button
that you can customize to trigger actions around
your home. For example, if you want your Amazon
Echo to play Spotify, just touch the button. The
Nanoleaf, designed to work with Apple’s HomeKit,
is a modular remote control with 12 programmable
buttons. As digital voice assistants become more
integrated with our everyday lives, smart remotes
could play a critically important role for people who
can’t speak due to illness or age, or whose accents
prevent them from being understood easily.

Samsung’s Family Hub includes a


connected refrigerator with a large
touchscreen.
© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE
WORKPLACE
AND
LEARNING
TECHNOLOGIES
200 Universal Basic Income (UBI)
201 AI in Hiring
202 Productivity Bots
203 Adaptive Learning
204 Nanodegrees
205 Sharing Economy & Lendership
TREND 200
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Universal INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Basic Income KEEP
REVISIT
(UBI) LATER
VIGILANT
WATCH

200
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Finland concludes its two-year UBI experiment at the end of


2018.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


The idea of an unconditional guaranteed income for An interesting thing to note about the UBI debate Finland; Scotland; Y-Combinator; The Roosevelt In-
everyone within a country is now being discussed is that it has supporters and detractors from both stitute; Facebook; Mark Zuckerburg; Elon Musk; The
again both as a means of encouraging entrepre- the liberal and conservative sides of the aisle (both Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts,
neurial innovation and in the wake of automation, in the United States and internationally). For UBI Manufacturers and Commerce; Stanford Center for
advanced robotics, and artificial intelligence. optimists, this bipartisanship represents an oppor- Philanthropy and Civil Society; American Enterprise
tunity to craft UBI policies that could be instituted Institute.
Examples legislatively.
In 2016 Finland launched a two-year UBI pilot study, The UBI discussion has also become more popular in
offering a randomly-selected group of 2,000 - 3,000 academia, with a 53% increase in the number of ar-
citizens a monthly stipend of 560 Euros (or about ticles published from 2016 to 2017 on Google Schol-
USD$600). Following up on the initial UBI pilot being ar. Think tanks have also continued to assess the
conducted in Finland, the end of 2017 saw Scotland economic benefits of a UBI either as a stand-alone
and its First Minister Nicola Sturgeon embrace the policy or as an alternative to existing social welfare
idea of conducting a UBI pilot locally. The proposed programs. With Finland’s two-year experiment set
Scottish pilot has already generated support in the to end in December 2018 and findings expected in
form of a £250,000 grant (about USD$346,000) to early 2019, results of this experiment could signal
study its feasibility. how other countries approach UBI moving forward.
Silicon Valley also remains bullish on the idea of
UBI. In his 2017 commencement address to Harvard
University’s graduating class Facebook’s CEO Mark
Zuckerburg continued to affirm his support of a UBI
and the “freedom to fail” that a UBI could provide.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 193


TREND 201
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST

NEWS INDUSTRY
HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

NEWS INDUSTRY
AI in Hiring INFORMS ACT

IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMPACT
IMPACT ON THE

ON THE
LONGER-TERM

IMMEDIATE
IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT

LONGER-TERM
LATER
WATCH

201
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

AI systems are being used to help in the hiring process.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools are As our economies grow, so will the need to fill new LinkedIn; Interviewed; Facebook; Amazon; Talent
being used in the hiring process with the hopes of jobs. LinkedIn alone averaged 20 million views a Sonar; HireVue; FAMA; SkillSurvey; Avrio; Alphabet.
identifying more qualified candidates, eliminating week with over 14 million of those submitting job
human bias, and reducing time spent on automat- applications. There are numerous companies and
able tasks. startups in the space that will attempt to offer
suites of products to companies and recruiters.
Examples Larger companies will consider AI to help opti-
There are numerous ways that companies and mize and streamline unruly amounts of applicant
recruiters (both large and small) are using artificial information and to attempt to make better hiring
intelligence throughout the hiring process. Resume decisions. Smaller companies with more limited
reviewers can quickly analyze resumes for desig- resources will rely on AI to conduct hiring tasks
nated keywords, years of experience, and gram- that take humans longer to complete. Recruiters
matical errors, while also attempting to remove might begin to rely on AI more to differentiate their
potential bias from factors such as gender, race, candidates versus the competition.
or nationality. Companies can automate the pre-in- But AI in hiring does not come without risks. The
terview process by mapping a person’s internet first: AI solutions are only as good as their initial
presence and also via assessments with tailored programming and the datasets being used. Second-
questions to evaluate a potential candidate’s ly, if the hiring process relies more on automation,
responses. This screening can also help larger the potential arises for applicants to game their
companies find qualified candidates who might not resumes and responses based on what they think
have applied for the original job posting. AI is also the AI systems will preference.
being used within the interview process to analyze
responses to particular questions.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 194


NEAR-FUTURE SCENARIO FOR AI IN THE HIRING PROCESS
Roy Levkovitz

The most probable future is that AI is used in varying degrees by companies to improve
hiring decisions while freeing up resources of HR teams to do more “human” tasks. But
it would not be surprising to hear that some companies have shrunk their HR staffs or
employed a completely automated hiring process free from human interaction in the very
near future.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 195


TREND 202
THIRD YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Productivity Bots INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

202
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Slack is a popular platform enabling productivity bots at work.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


Productivity bots aim to help teams and individuals Automation and productivity tools like Slack will likely Slack; Rocket.Chat; MatterMost; X.ai; Workbot; Obie;
operate more productively by automating tasks that continue to move toward the mainstream during Microsoft; Howdy; Standup Alice; Geekbot; Meekan;
are time consuming and often mundane for individu- 2018— cannibalizing traditional office technology, Skype.
als—but perfectly suited for bots. like email.

Examples
With over 6 million daily users, Slack is by far the
most popular platform integrating hundreds of
productivity bots with the workplace. The Obie bot
is used as an onboarding tool, allowing new employ-
ees to find answers to simple questions about the
company. Scheduling bots like Meekan sync up with
coworkers’ calendars to provide possible meeting
times. If you’re trying to reduce wasted time that a
stand-up meeting takes up, bots send out a request
for an update from team members and pushes out
a report once everyone has sent theirs in. Bots like
Lunch Train help coordinate team lunches and their
locations. Slack isn’t the only platform being used:
MatterMost and Rocket.Chat allow companies to
host all content locally, rather than in the cloud.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 196


A NEAR-FUTURE SCENARIO FOR EMAIL-FREE COMPANIES
Roy Levkovitz

With teams constantly needing to be connected, e-mail will be viewed as a slower and
less efficient form of communication. Because of this, companies will move away from
email entirely. But for companies that must keep a paper trail, what would the legal
considerations be once employees are chatting and using bots? It’s possible to create
logs, but they would be difficult to sift and sort through. For those companies that
monitor staff email for regulatory reasons, messaging systems like Slack could make
compliance difficult.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 197


TREND 203
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Adaptive Learning INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

203
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Harvard is testing adaptive learning software.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


An interactive teaching method powered by arti- K-12 schools alone have spent over $41 million NovoEd; Everwise; HarvardX; Pearson; Dreambox;
ficial intelligence that can be used by businesses on adaptive learning technology, or three times IBM; Microsoft; Knewton; Axonify; Qstream; Intrepid;
and educational institutions to tailor curriculum for the amount that was spent in 2013.4 Despite this Geekie.
individuals based on correct and incorrect respons- increase in funding, widespread adoption of adaptive
es to questions. learning in schools will still likely lag behind the cor-
porate setting due to the relative lack of resources
Examples and infrastructure.
In a 2017 course on the open course platform Har- We expect to see adaptive learning technologies
vardX, students who were placed into the adaptive more deeply integrated into staff training and talent
learning track outperformed the control group by development during 2018.
19%—in fact, they outperformed their peers across
different key learning objectives. In a business
setting, adaptive learning systems are being used
by employers to onboard new staff, train employ-
ees, help hone specific skills and understand an
individual’s specific strength and weakness. These
systems adapt to the individual learning patterns
and cognitive skills of students. Content and exams
are customized in real-time, as the system autono-
mously determines where a student needs additional
focus. Current systems let instructors know where
more personalized attention is needed. 4
EdTech Magazine, “School Districts Have Tripled Spending on Adaptive
Learning Technology.” Last accessed January 19, 2019.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 198


TREND 204
THIRD YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Nanodegrees INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

204
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Udacity offers nanodegrees and enrolls thousands of students


worldwide.

Key Insight What’s Next Watchlist


The study of a specific topic area or industry nor- One of the biggest hurdles for people pursuing Udacity, Google, Amazon, Coursea, altMBA, Stanford,
mally done through an online institution, with the nanodegrees is a relative lack of awareness or un- Harvard, AT&T.
goal of increased knowledge in the area and some derstanding of the programs amongst HR and hiring
form of certification of completion. staff. But that’s changing fast. Large corporations,
including AT&T, Google, and Disney, have launched
Examples nanodegree programs to provide employees with
Nanodegrees are being pursued by individuals as an additional training and career advancement skills.
alternative to a traditional 2 or 4-year degree, more As more corporate training programs follow suit,
expensive and time consuming masters programs, the value of nanodegrees will also rise. We could
or simply as an approach to receive a certified also see the development of alternative learning
understanding of a topic. Udacity, one of the most programs, such as Seth Godin’s altMBA, to prolifer-
popular platforms to earn nanodegrees, current- ate to other areas of study as early test cases move
ly enrolls more than 50,000 students in various from the fringe to the mainstream.
programs that take approximately 6-12 months to
complete. These programs tend to be more cost-ef-
fective, too: they’re billed per-term or on a month-
to-month basis. Nanodegrees tend to be clustered
around technology: data science, skills for develop-
ers, and digital marketing.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 199


TREND 205
FOURTH YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

Sharing Economy INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
& Lendership KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

205
LOW DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

WeWork is a collaborative workspace housing sharing economy


startups.

Key Insight What’s Next But a digital divide still exists. Developing markets
People are increasingly comfortable renting goods The sharing economy is expected to continue grow- still need better, cheaper access to the internet—
and services versus needing to own them. Across ing in the coming years, but this growth will likely and they need smart phones. As more citizens gain
various industries, service providers or communi- occur in different ways. In countries like the U.S., access to smart phones, we anticipate a spike in
ties have begun to pool resources for a fee. where a large percentage of the population already sharing economy growth. It’s already starting to
has access to the internet and smartphones, the happen across Latin and South America, with local
Examples sharing economy market is already fairly mature companies like Komlep helping to build the infra-
and robust. Further growth will come in the form of structure for sharing and lendership.
Uber, Rent The Runway and Airbnb are just three of
the thousands of sharing economy companies used more unique B2B, B2C and C2C services. Compa-
nies will optimize resources by renting out unused Watchlist
by 56 million Americans in 2017. Sharing economy
companies are everywhere: transportation, real equipment to each other and sharing workspaces. Crowd Companies Council; Facebook; Etsy; Luxe;
estate, retail, professional services, even biotech- Likewise, we expect to see a new crop of companies Peerspace; Zaaryl; LawnLove; Rent The Runway;
nology. The sharing economy is becoming meta: We- that exist to provide shared services for upcoming Airbnb; Komlep; WeWork; Style Lend; PoshMark;
Work is a collaborative workspace that houses many niche industries (baby stroller rentals for traveling Funding Circle; Sparkbox; FarmLink; Toys Trunk;
sharing economy startups. It earned a $20 billion families). The success of these newer companies Uber; Lyft; Postmates; Saucy; NeighborGoods; Vay-
valuation in late 2017. will depend on how consumers value their services— able; ToolLocker; Trustify; Seateroo; Scribendi and
and importantly, whether local, state, or federal many others.
entities see the need for regulation.

© 2018 FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE 200


FINANCIAL
TECHNOLOGIES
AND
CRYPTOCURRENCIES
206 E-Resident and Location-Independent Digital Business Identity Cards
207 Social Payments
208 Cryptocurrencies
209 Blockchain
210 Open Banking
211 Financial Inclusion and Targeting the Underbanked
TREND 206
SECOND YEAR ON THE LIST HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY

E-Resident and Location-Independent INFORMS ACT

LONGER-TERM IMPACT
STRATEGY NOW

IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Digital Business Identity Cards KEEP
REVISIT
VIGILANT
LATER
WATCH

206
LOW DEGREE