What does the future hold for 2017?

The future of futurology in an uncertain world.

It's the beginning of a new year, which means lot of tech predictions for 2017. This past week, the giant Consumer Electronics Show revealed some of the techno-wonders that may be in store such as the world's first smart hairbrush, a TV that rolls up like a newspaper and a bed that warms your feet as you fall asleep.

Amy Webb
So, how can we predict which trends will fizzle out while others will change our lives forever? Amy Webb is a futurist, author and founder of the Future Today Institute, a future forecasting firm. Her third book, The Signals Are Talking: Why Today's Fringe Is Tomorrow's Mainstream is about how to predict technological change––and what you can do about it in the present.
Donald Trump is a giant unknown, the mother of unwieldy variables. And that is going to make my job much more difficult.

Webb explains that futurists all have methodologies that they use and she has spent 11 years refining hers. The first and most critical step involves taking a trip to the fringes of the technology industry to find "unusual suspects." The next step is to understand what they are doing, make connections, and see a road map. "The more people who can do what I do and who have a basic understanding of how to use the tools of a futurist, the better off we're all going to be."

Webb says that we are living on the precipice of some incredibly important game-changing technologies. "What I'm most excited about is that we are still in charge, if you subscribe to the fact that we are not robots carrying out someone else's code," Amy says. "The future has not yet been written. We all have a stake in it. And what I'm most optimistic and excited about is living in this moment in time."

However, predicting tech trends in the age of President Trump will offer a whole new challenge for Webb. "My job is to reduce and manage the amount of variables. Donald Trump is a giant unknown, the mother of unwieldy variables. And that is going to make my job much more difficult."

As for what tech trends 2017 will bring about? Webb cites security, personalized medicine, automation writ large and collaborative robots. "Fake news is not going away, so we're going to be hearing a lot more of that in the coming year as well," she adds.


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