Gartner’s top strategic predictions for 2016 and beyond (my 2¢)
Daryl Plummer, VP of Gartner, announced Gartner’s Top Predictions during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando. It’s all about digital business, the race against competitive autonomous machines, IoT and smart devices talking to each other, the relationships between people and machines et cetera. Usual stuff, if you’re following. Therefore, let’s see what 27 analysts (!) have produced:
By 2018, 20% of all business content will be authored by machines.
Well, good and easy call. Business content is fuzzy enough and there already enough players in the market, wich are working on automated shareholder or market reports, press releases, sports news and white papers. Most likely.
By 2018, 6 billion connected things will be requesting support.
Interesting narrative development. They’ve probably thought: We’re oversaturated of simple IoT devices forecasts. So let’s add “they need support” and create something unique and new. Well done. I wonder what would happen if 6 billion devices request suppport at the same time? Denial-of-service.
By 2020, autonomous software agents outside of human control will participate in 5% of all economic transactions.
Hm. Just 5%? What about all the fintech bots and algorithmically driven agents that conclude deals in milliseconds, execute VC investment decisions, support financial advisors with automated advices and the general development of electronic trading? What about the Blockchain? And don’t forget the socio-tech trend, that rich people increasingly prefer to get their financial advice from robots. Pent-up demand.
By 2018, more than 3 million workers globally will be supervised by a “roboboss.”
Trending topic atm, so I’m surprised to see it here. But a quick internal search shows, that the issue had already been adressed last year. Furthermore, there are a lot of portents for a Mechanical Turk economy. In a probable future, we’ll only get jobs because we’re cheaper than machines. With the words of Lilly Irani: “Automation doesn’t replace labor. It displaces it.”. Highly recommended talk: Johannes Kleske - Mensch, Macht, Maschine. Automatophobia.
By YE18, 20% of smart buildings will have suffered from digital vandalism.
YE18? Do we see here the the emergence of a new calendar1? Anyway, digital vandalism in smart environments is just another term for hacked infrastructure. It’s an unsettling thought and YES we need better security and privacy systems for home automation, smart homes, offices, their APIs etc. But I’m looking forward to friendly art hacks where nobody gets hurt. And keep in mind: Not everything has to be connected. Be sure to read “Understanding the connected home” by Peter Bihr and Michelle Thorne for more informations about the ecosphere of smart homes, UX and future settings. Futures noir.
By 2018, 50% of the fastest-growing companies will have fewer employees than instances of smart machines.
Digital Transformations = speed, cost savings and productivity improvements. I don’t know current market stats and figures but if you’re looking at the success of UBER, WhatsApp, Airbnb, Alibaba etal and A16z presentations you’ll see the gigantic market power of software driven companies. The interface is where the profit is. Software is eating the world.
By YE18, customer digital assistants will recognize individuals by face and voice across channels and partners.
Ahm, I don’t understand this one tbh. According to Gartner, a customer digital assistant is powered by facial recognition, voice identification, emotion detection, natural-language processing and audience profile data. A pimped up Siri or PS4 if you like, that has access to your profile and interaction data. Think of a mobile (!) skype call with an animated character instead of using the amazon website. Confused.
By 2018, 2 million employees will be required to wear health and fitness tracking devices as a condition of employment.
Antoher futures noir prediction, if you ask me. Sure, wearables can provide remote monitoring of biometrics to send help immediately if required. But they internalize also the haunted spirit of 1984, if you’re thinking about insurances, corporate rules and national security fears. Smart systems for a convenient worklife balance or all-seing and surpressive eyes for efficient and productive work? Two face.
By 2020, smart agents will facilitate 40% of mobile interactions, and the post-app era will begin to dominate.
Another trending topic. Big fan. Instead of using apps, we’ll rely on textinterfaces and (human/bot) agents in the future. Hybrid AI, Intelligent Assistants, social robots, domestic AI, on-demand mobile Virtual Assistants, Personal Assistants or Assistive Intelligence. Call it as you like. We’ll have to face NLP- and machine learning driven software and hardware, orchestrating our life over APIs and hidden backchannels. But first we have to talk about trust. AI.
Through 2020, 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.
People have always been the greatest security risk. Don’t know why that should change, or is worth mentioning. No brainer.
You have to admit, that they know how to write predictions and forecasts, although 27 authors are 22 too much (somehow they have to justify their prices). No matter. There’s enough background material if you’re willing to sign up. The predictions are therefore more conjectures - reasoned speculations about the future - than mysterios omens based on augury or hepatoscopy (= hype cycle methods).
However, the underlying dystopian echo is surprising. A lot of the predictions advertise futures with a bad aftertaste. Even the summary sounds like a prelude to a mediocre near-future robo-corporate-surveillance-scifi flick:
The dramatic rise of smart machines and autonomous devices is driving radical shifts in business practices and individual behaviors. Enterprises and individuals face the urgent need to define and develop harmonious relationships between people and machines.
Either way. At the end, all of the predictions above are marketing material. If you’re afraid, ask Gartner. If you want to make money, ask Gartner. If you want to know more, ask Gartner. If you want to know what the future brings, ask Gartner. Don’t believe me? Here’s Gartner’s top 1 recommendation:
Use Gartner’s predictions as planning assumptions on which to base your strategic plans.
At least they’re honest. And now: Everyone please stand up and follow Gartner into the future.
Footnote: Spelling and Grammar unaudited.