Predicting the Future from 2020
Sunday January 12, 2020
What's going to happen in the future? I will tell you. The future will be basically like now, but some things will be slightly better, and some things will be slightly worse.
- Joe Biden becomes Democratic candidate for US presidency.
- Democratic candidate wins US presidency.
- At least one hurricane leads to visit by US president.
- Foreign powers seek to influence US citizens via the internet, but this is hard to verify.
- None of FAANG are split up by government intervention.
- S&P 500 closes below 3,000.
- Ruth Bader Ginsberg is dead.
- At least one merger of streaming TV offerings.
- Chinese Communist Party represented in Hong Kong government.
- The "transformer" family of neural network architectures is generalized for arbitrary inputs (not just sequences) and continues to be interesting.
- There is no car that I can buy and have drive itself curb-to-curb across town.
- S&P 500 closes above 3,500.
- Donald Trump is dead.
- Russia is bigger (by territory).
- There is at least one new US law with ID requirements for posting online.
- US minimum wage at least 15 USD/hour.
- AI development has a clearer split between research and application: The forefronts of research are not immediately applicable to industry.
- S&P 500 closes above 4,000.
- At least one of DC and Puerto Rico have at least one full voting US senator.
- Inflation found to be related to minimum wage: raising minimum wage does not increase purchasing power of minimum-wage workers.
- The majority of new cars sold are electric.
- Product delivery to homes (like Amazon) as a utility, like electricity.
- US government-subsidized program to encourage people to move to inland cities.
- S&P 500 closes above 8,000.
General trends: Climate continues to change. Unemployment gets worse not because companies don't want to hire but because they can't find employees with positive marginal value. Rich continue to get richer while the poor are largely left behind. Some governments sell the poor totalitarianism as populism while others move toward socialism. Warfare is as targeted as possible; assassinations become more common. International psyops are generally opposed to wealth redistribution.
In thinking about these predictions, it's striking how much more significant my personal choices generally are (for me) than things that happen in the world. I'm very fortunate that even the biggest things in the news don't affect me very much. I've never been forced to migrate anywhere, for example, and I don't expect to be.
Most big changes in my life are independent of the news. Ten years ago I lived in Korea, five years ago I lived in New York, now I live in DC. For most of the last ten years I was a childless single renter, and now I'm a married homeowner with a daughter.
Most technology doesn't change terribly much. Ten years ago, I had an iPhone, I searched on Google, I translated things with Google Translate, and I programmed with Python. I drive a hybrid gas/electric car that's over ten years old. All these technologies are better today than they used to be, but they aren't fundamentally new.
One technology that has seen dramatic change over the last ten years is deep learning. It's been really neat to be a small part of that. I wonder what technology might be the equivalent in the next decade. I suspect it isn't going to be any of the buzz words (VR, AR, crypto, etc.). Maybe something biological?
I'm curious to hear predictions from others, and I look forward to reflecting on all these predictions in the future!