What Are Your Predictions for the New Year and the New Decade?

What Are Your Predictions for the New Year and the New Decade?

Find all our Student Opinion questions here.

Welcome to 2020, a new year and the start of a brand-new decade. What predictions can you make about what will happen this year — and this decade? What do you think will happen globally, nationally or locally? What do you think will happen in your personal life? Why?

In the Opinion essay “No More Phones and Other Tech Predictions for the Next Decade,” Kara Swisher expresses her belief that technology will bring positive changes in the next few years:

We haven’t quite dealt with all of the repercussions of tech’s domination of the past decade — there will be regulations, a lot of tech is still addictive, and digital hate will continue to travel halfway around the world before the truth gets out of bed — but there are some big, positive ideas that I think you will hear a lot more about in the coming years.

While I have been a strong critic of tech, and it is easy to chew over what’s gone wrong — it makes for a large meal — I think it is more helpful, as 2020 dawns, to put forth five predictions that I hope will allow us to live more peacefully with the tech that we love and hate.

With regard to climate change, she writes:

More investment in tech that addresses climate change. With all due respect to Greta Thunberg and the efforts of young people across the globe to bring attention to climate change, governments may never agree on how to properly address our lurch toward environmental suicide. Which is why it is critically important that tech turn its focus toward creating products that will save us.

About jobs, she writes:

Automation for good. There has been a lot of discussion about the job-killing potential of tech, including how an unholy combination of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence will be the death of employment. Many jobs will, in fact, be replaced by tech, especially ones that are rote and also many that are high paying in medicine, law and more. But this is also an opportunity to rethink the entire way we imagine employment and education.

And, she imagines a brighter future for social media:

Is there a business in depolarization? I get that the forces of cynicism, manipulation and hate are forever on the digital march, but I am convinced that there is money to be made in appealing to our weariness with how our tech lives have been shaped. There are ways to foster digital interaction that do not have to incite rage. The reason much of social media feels so toxic is it has been built for speed, virality and attention grabbing rather than for context and accuracy. While it seems impossible to imagine a new kind of social-network product in the shadow of Facebook, TikTok, for all its controversy as a Chinese-owned company, has been a runaway success (the first big social success since Snapchat arrived in 2011), and there is room for more. There are opportunities to create new forms of communication that give the advantage to users — by strictly enforcing behavior standards and eliminating anonymity, and most of all, with advertising-based business plans that are not predicated on taking advantage of our personal data.

Students, read the entire essay, then tell us:

  • Which of Ms. Swisher’s five predictions do you think are most likely to come true between now and 2030? Why do you think that?

  • What predictions can you make about how technology — and the way it affects our lives — will change in the next 10 years? How will 2030 be different from 2020?

  • What are your other predictions for the future? How will your community, the nation and the world change? How do you think your life will change in 2020?

  • Ms. Swisher writes that tech devices “have been designed to hook you, not unlike sugar or cigarettes or gambling or opiates.” She continues:

Whether we move toward more intuitively created tech that surrounds us or that incorporates into our bodies (yes, that’s coming), I am going to predict that carrying around a device in our hand and staring at it will be a thing of the past by 2030. And like the electrical grid we rely on daily, most tech will become invisible.

What did you think when you read the prediction that technology will find its way into our bodies in the next 10 years? Do you agree with her that most tech will soon enough become “invisible”? Do you see that as a positive change — or concerning?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.