Gartner’s top tech predictions for 2018 and beyond

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For the third year running, Gartner has tried its hand at fortune-telling by setting out its top tech predictions for 2018. Will it be the year of AI or the IoT? Will voice search gain traction, or will VR take centre stage? With a collection of forecasts that range from genius to the obvious, Steve Andriole, writing for Forbes, weighs in with some rather sardonic insights. Here are six of our favourites.

Gartner tech predictions

Voice searches to surge in popularity

Gartner thinks that by 2021, voice search-enabled sites will increase their digital commerce revenue by 30%. While we’re sceptical about the statistics, people have always loved talking to machines. Additionally, such advancements are welcome, especially when it means technology will become more accessible to people with disabilities.

The legitimisation of cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are here to stay, with Gartner portending that they’ll venture ever-further into legitimacy. In fact, Gartner posits that by 2020, the banking industry will gain $1B of business value from the use of blockchain-contingent cryptocurrencies.

Counterfeit realities take over

Forget fake news – in a slightly strange prediction, Gartner states that by 2020, “AI-driven creation of ‘counterfeit reality,’ or fake content, will outpace AI’s ability to detect it, fomenting digital distrust.” Does this mean that people will reject the Matrix-like system, or will people reluctantly indulge a la Red Dwarf’s despair squid? To quote Forbes’ ruling on the fake reality, it’s a “Bizarre – and vague – prediction.”

Chatbots charge forwards

Gartner has grand plans for chatbots; by 2021, over 50% of enterprises will spend more per year on creating them than they will on conventional mobile app development. While the percentage is suspect, the prediction itself is fairly plausible – app downloads are on the decrease, while chatbots are gaining ground.

AI creates more jobs than it takes

Gartner makes the claim that by 2020, AI will have created more jobs than it rendered obsolete. The figures for this? Some 2.3m jobs will be formed, while 1.8m jobs will be lost. However, there’s a reason experts tend to avoid specifics when it comes to AI and jobs: we simply do not know. So yes, AI will continue making an impact, but whether it’s good or bad for employment is yet to be seen.

IoT witnesses meteoric adoption

By 2020, the IoT will be present in 95% of electronic products. Now, we agree that IoT connectivity will grow, but such an adoption rate is unheard of. However, its second IoT prediction holds more weight: by 2022, “half of all security budgets for IoT will go to fault remediation, recalls and safety failures rather than protection.”

Again, the statistics are purely speculative, but given that the IoT is particularly prone to hacking and according to GSMA, 47% of IoT developers name security as their chief concern, it wouldn’t be unfeasible to think that enterprises will continue to repair rather than prevent.

What are your predictions for next year? Do you agree with Gartner, or do you have ideas of your own? Let us know below!