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Analysis / Business

10 Developments That Might Just Happen In 2018

One year is over and another has started…but what might the next 12 months hold? Here are 10 developments to look out for:

1. Bitcoin

Speculation will drive the price of Bitcoin to at least $50,000 during 2018. This will drive down the amount of commercial use for transaction purposes, as coin holders will hang on to them as an appreciating asset. Within the next two years, China will announce its own government backed digital currency. This will see rapid adoption by a number of countries that will also outlaw Bitcoin and its rivals.

2. Robo-Pop

2018 will see the first pop song written by artificial intelligence (AI) enter the top 20 of the pop charts in a major economy such as South Korea or Japan. By 2023, predictive algorithms will be used to determine the music and lyrics for over 50% of number one’s – with the majority written by AI software.

3. Supersonic Travel

In 2018, we will see the first test flights of a supersonic flight from one of the new entrants such as Boom or Cygnus. When fully operational, these planes will be able to cover a range of up to 7,000 miles at speeds of 1,400 miles per hour, and are planned to be in commercial service by 2023.

4. Passenger Drones

Following successful trials of single person passenger drones in 2017, commercial services are launched in China and the UAE during 2018. The technology continues to improve over the next few years, despite some fatal accidents and many near misses.

5. Sporting Strikes

The concerns over the treatment of black people by the police spurs a global movement with sports stars taking the lead. This culminates in a weekend of strike action in October 2018 when black players participating from the NFL, the English Premier, a number of other football leagues across Europe, and sports like cricket, baseball, and basketball.

6. Robo-Dating

Want your date to hang on your every word, never interrupt, and always do what you want? The first matchmaking websites will appear for those who want to date physical robots or virtual avatars – with personalities customised to our precise preferences. Around the world, women’s groups rise up in protest at services that they perceive as objectifying and dehumanising women, and returning them to the role of fawning 1950s housewives.

7. Growth Stalls

UK growth will plummet to zero and below in 2018. Brexit concerns will see more companies leave the UK, while those that stay will reign in spending and engage in deep discounting. Other major nations also see growth stalling, but few hit the buffers like the UK. After a chaotic few years of Brexit mayhem, growth starts to stabilise by 2022 and crawls above one per cent in 2023.

8. Driverless Vehicles

All around the world in 2018, we will see pilot schemes to test fully autonomous electric vehicles on the road in normal driving conditions. China will be the first to actually have driverless cars driving alongside human-operated vehicles on a regular basis.

9. Hyperloop

During 2018 at least 10 countries will follow the lead of the UAE and India, and sign up to have superfast (600 kilometres per hour – 1,200 kilometres per hour) Hyperloop rail services in their countries within five years. Near full speed prototypes are likely to be demonstrated during the year and commercial Hyperloop services should be present in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and possibly California by 2023.

10. The Artificial Economist

Around the world, artificial intelligence (AI) programs will outperform economists, analysts, and stock pickers in predicting what will happen to major stock markets, exchange rates, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures, and bank base rates across the major economies by the end of 2018.

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Rohit Talwar works at Fast Future, which publishes books from future thinkers around the world exploring how developments such as AI, robotics and disruptive thinking could impact individuals, society and business and create new trillion-dollar sectors. Two new books from Fast Future are: ‘Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity’, published on 27th Nov 2017 and ‘The Future – Reinvented: Reimagining Life, Society, and Business’ available from 18th Dec 2017.