DaVinci predicted flying machines. Arthur C. Clarke imagined iPads. And, Ray Bradbury envisioned earbuds. All of those ideas were way ahead of their time. Now that we are in the year of vision – 2020, let’s consider some of the expert predictions for the coming year in the areas of social, finance, healthcare, tech and the cloud.
In 2020, The Verge says it’s likely metrics keep dropping off social, people are back as curators leaving algorithms behind, Discord hits mainstream, Facebook’s Oculus hits its prime and Congress legislates misinformation. Oh, and, some experts question whether regulators will seek to break up Facebook and Google. TikTok’s time is up as the new big thing with competition heating up with other short-form video apps entering the market. And, the internet continues to splinter into European, American and Sino-Russian-authoritarian internet, which will limit the size of any one social network.
Hold onto your hats as foldable phones (note not flip) and dual-screen laptops become en vogue and find a niche market as price remains a deterrent, according to The Street’s Real Money. 5G phones will become more available but won’t impact the market. Microsoft stock was strong the last two years, but in 2020, may slow its growth and continue slowing as the majority of its corporate office has migrated over to Office 365. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) sees interest from major internet/cloud giants with lots of cash and with major cloud storage needs and those companies will most likely be the key buyers of AMD’s Rome CPU. And, China starts buying local for chips, hardware and software since the US implemented restrictions.
HEALTHCARE & SCIENCE
Fast Company has many tech predictions, but we’re sticking to healthcare and science. Gene therapy will play an increasing role in the treatment of cancer as the technology was already approved for B Cell treatment and the goal is to use it for other cancers. And, AI will help make medical care less costly while also providing more access to excellent care. A new voice app will allow doctors to actually interact with patients while the virtual assistant takes notes. One expert is betting on biosensing and sees wearables predicting colds, interacting with pharmacies and getting you medicine before you are actually ill.
Companies will see the cost savings and safety of using the hybrid cloud and more will turn to it over private cloud in the coming year, according to expert predictions on TechRepublic. Meanwhile, Nextcloud, already the largest on-site deployed solution, is going to have a great year as more companies move toward the hybrid cloud approach. Open source already plays a huge role in the cloud, but in 2020, it’s predicted that by the end of the year it will run completely on open source software. Oh, and to top that, it’s expected that the biggest cloud breach ever will occur putting billions of users’ data at risk, but which could lead to new security features.
Libra will remain a horoscope sign as Facebook kills plans for its cryptocurrency, according to the folks at Fortune. Protesters afraid of being identified through facial recognition will be using fashion and special makeup, along with masks that look like other people, all designed to confuse the technology. So, may the odds be ever in your favor. Remember when cable was cheap? Sometime around 1982. As streaming gets pricier by the second, it’s expected piracy will make a comeback with people pissed about paying so much and getting “streaming fatigue”. In an election year, I think most folks are hoping we don’t have a repeat of 2016, with hackers impacting results. Hackers beware, you are on the radar of the U.S. Cyber Command. While WeWork was a fail, the office space leases may be taken over by none other than Amazon, who knows a bit about making lemonade.
A few other tech predictions from TechRepublic: An Android smartwatch will triumph over the Apple Watch. Also, Android phones, (Samsung) will lose the notch on the phone, offering full screen phone functionality. And, the Samsung Galaxy S11 will become the must-have device and skyrocket the company into the stratosphere.
So, here’s to 2020. Let’s hope the advances in technology make work smoother, life easier and all of our pocketbooks a little fatter.
What are your tech predictions for the next year?
iOS 15 beta has blur nude photos opt-in, but its not without fault
(TECH NEWS) To protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos.
In a move to protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos received in the Messages app. Amid privacy concerns, the feature has yet to be released.
This iteration of the feature is distinct from the original one insofar as it will no longer alert a parent or guardian when nude photos are encountered. While this may seem like a controversial change, several experts pointed out that exposing nude content on a child’s device in some households could result in abuse or, as Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Kendra Albert suggests, the outing of “queer or transgender children to their parents.”
With the most recent version of this feature enabled, children who receive inappropriate photos via the Messages app would be able to do two things: choose to avoid (or see) the content, and choose to send a report to a trusted adult if they see fit to do so.
Blurring photos is just one of several aspects of Apple’s Communication Safety suite, a feature that aims to prevent child sex abuse by making it easier for children to avoid and report predatory content.
Another feature that Apple has tested – but not released – is their Child Sex Abuse Imagery Detection (CSAM-detection), which scans and reports iCloud content that shows child pornography or abuse to Apple moderators for further review. As one can imagine, the feature drew mixed criticism, the majority of which came from privacy advocates.
While the vast majority of humanity can (hopefully) agree that fighting against child exploitation is a noble cause, these groups argue that scanning and reporting individuals’ personal photos via an algorithm opens the door to government interference and increased surveillance. Switching the algorithm’s baseline to scan for things like anti-government content, for example, would be easy, these groups posit, making the feature extremely dangerous in principle.
There is no current release date set for any of these aforementioned features, though iPhone users can reasonably expect them to drop at some point during iOS 15’s development.
Amazon Music debuts synchronized text transcripts for popular podcasts
(TECH) The first feature to hit Amazon Music is auto-generated and synchronized text transcripts for their most popular podcast shows. Sign us up!
Amazon set out to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts last year by acquiring the podcasting network, Wondery. Now, the company is doing just that with the launch of its auto-generated and synchronized podcast transcripts feature on Amazon Music.
According to an Amazon Music tweet, with this feature, you’ll be able to “Roll it back, jump ahead, and follow along” with the podcast you’re listening to. For instance, you can scrub through the transcript to find that line of text with that quote or movie and book suggestion you can’t quite remember. When you tap on a particular line of text in the transcript, you’ll be able to jump straight into that specific part of the podcast. I can already see all the time saved! But, if you just want to read along as you listen, you can do that, too. The transcript will match the audio as you’re hearing it.
Right now, the company is only rolling out podcast transcripts in the US on both iOS and Android devices. When it will expand to other countries isn’t known, and the feature isn’t available for all podcasts yet. For now, it is only available on a selection of popular podcasts like Smartless, Crime Junkie, This American Life, Uncommon Ground, and Modern Love, but more are coming.
To use it, all you have to do is open the podcasts tab on Amazon Music and select one of the podcasts you’d like to listen to. Of course, you’ll need to select a show with the podcast transcription feature to see it. When your show is playing, on the top of the album art and in fullscreen mode, the transcriptions will be available for you to read along to.
Oh, and if you’re worried about having to read through the ads, you have nothing to fret about. Ads won’t be transcribed. Instead, the transcription will read “audio not transcribed” when they are playing.
So far, Amazon seems to be going strong in the podcasting game with the release of podcast transcripts. The feature makes it easy to search and find what you are looking for in a show. And, for those on a long and noisy bus and subway ride, you’ll finally be able to read the information you previously couldn’t hear.
UX design: If you don’t have it, get yourself an audit made easy
(TECH NEWS) UX design is important. By conducting a simple audit to make sure your site is accessible, you can minimize the number of people that quickly go away.
A good UX design is essential in attracting and retaining customers. A seamless and positive experience will keep customers happy and bring your business many benefits, like increasing audience engagement and sales.
But, how do you know if your user experience is in need of help, so people don’t bounce away quickly? Well, if UX is not your forte, the best thing to do is to hire a good UX designer. Unfortunately, sometimes hiring one isn’t always within the budget.
So, what do you do then? The next best thing is to conduct a UX audit of your website or app. Not sure where to begin? Fulcrum’s Do It Yourself UX Audit kit is one place to start.
According to the website, this DIY UX audit “can help you gain valuable insights about the usability of your product.” The tool detects problems in your UX, prioritizes them for you, and finds out how you can fix any existing issues.
The tool is made out of free easy-to-use Notion templates. These UX audit checklists are all customizable, and you can print them or save them on your Notion dashboard to use later.
Inside each template, there are cards with descriptions and examples. Depending on if you meet certain criteria or not, you drag and drop the card into the “Yes” or “No” column. When you’re finished, you will easily see what issues you have, and you can work on fixing them.
The templates are divided into Junior and Middle-level templates.
The Junior level has templates for things such as field and forms, login, mobile UX, and architecture. Most of these templates help make sure you cover your basic UX bases. For instance, it looks at whether your website is desktop and mobile-friendly, and if each element makes sense and is easily identifiable.
The Middle Level dives in a little deeper. The “Visibility of system status” audit checks if you are keeping your audience informed on what’s going on. Things like battery life, loading, or Wi-Fi connection indicators can make a huge difference. No one wants to stare at a screen with no clue if what they clicked on is working or not.
If you can afford it and want a UX virtuoso to do the work for you, you can get a UX audit from Fulcrum. The experts will conduct a full-fledged UX audit and create wireframes with solutions for your UX issues.
However, no matter how you go about it, a good UX design is important. Higher rate conversions and user retention won’t happen if your product is just pushing people away.
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