Tech Predictions for 2022November 8, 2021 -
In my house we rely on technology to the point where much of it is invisible; so common place that we take for granted its function and presence. Air conditioning, electric light, even Internet are so ubiquitous as to be assumed! Before a technology reaches this point it has to reach critical mass.
It’s so easy to miss the gradual societal-adoption of tech if you’re not paying close attention, and so much fun to watch it unfold, and make predictions. A disclaimer, I am only moderate computer nerd, not an expert, and I haven’t read the entire Internet; maybe the writing is on the wall for or against my prediction and I don’t even know. Here are my predictions for 2022 sorted from what I think is the safest to most daring prediction:
First, I’m reluctantly giving up on the idea of the chip-shortage ending in the next year. But there is still a lot going on in the various tiers:
The early reviews of the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W are promising; a jump to an overclockable quad-core processor gives this cheap project board similar processing power to the larger Rpi 3 at a lower price. I predict SBC technology in general to escalate in growth, finding a large audience as the documentation, community, and scale of projects become less intimidating to the average user. This will lend itself into a variety of home-automation applications.
Apple so often sets the bar, and other manufacturers chase after the things that apparently make Apple so appealing. The M1 processors have been game-changing in the last year, and already we see a lot more companies getting into making their own chips (e.g. Google’s new Tensor). This has implications for AI and Machine learning, but also really seems to put an emphasis on integrated hardware with these chips combining processors, RAM, and GPU into indivisible units. I predict premium machines continuing to be smaller, more powerful, less easily upgraded, and some growing pains around software support for emerging processors.
Mid-range DIY computers
I’m making notes on the “strange middle” tier of computers last since as a society we seem to favour the extremes; this category is easily overlooked by consumers! This year’s Framework laptop and Fairphone 4 are two devices that I am very excited for – modular and repairable; these feel like devices you actually _own_. I hope (but am reluctant to predict) that this trend continues and gains traction with a greater audience. I will predict that my next computer or phone will be in this direction; this is probably a category that’s still in the early-adopters phase; maybe the exponential growth of ewaste from the previous unrepairable high-end computers will make modular machines a more attractive choice in the future.
Death of EF-M Mount
Niche Canon camera speculation that the EF-M mount will be EOL. It may not be announced, but if there are no new lenses or bodies announced in the next 12 months that’s pretty much it. I am predicting a crop-sensor body being announced for the R-mount, which is pretty much all the nails in the coffin.
I am predicting more HTML primitives, therefor a more accessible web by default. The a11y community is really great; but there is a lot to know if a developer is going to implement a pattern even as common as a simple modal popup (I wrote about this recently) – simpler browser-supported elements like this remove a lot of the need to remember!
I predict Container queries will start hitting browsers. In 2010 Responsive Web Design (RWD) was announced allowing us to develop a single codebase that scales based on viewport size. Container queries allow us to scale based on a container’s size. This should allow us to make sites with less CSS queries (in theory, we always find a way to add bloat). I believe this could lead to a lot more interesting multi-column full-screen layouts.
“42% of the web runs on WordPress.” – that doesn’t seem sustainable. I predict a new platform will emerge if it hasn’t. I have yet to be blown away by page builder platforms like Webflow or Squarespace in terms of full control over fine-grained markup (like accessibility concerns, ARIA), but they are getting there. To be fair the WordPress.com platform is no better, bug the .org self-hosting branch of WP gives so much more of that freedom. I wonder if a competing CMS can have a similar model (SaaS and self-hosting) profitably – so what the heck, I’ll predict that. Webflow already allows you to download pages as static HTML/CSS/JS, maybe they’ll go all in with a broader self-hosting platform.
I predict that Linux will become more of a household name. I’ll go as far as to predict that 2022 will see awareness grow to the point where some of the average-level computers in my life will no longer assume that Windows and Mac are the only two viable options (kind of hard to measure, but there are people in my life I can use as a litmus). The current experiment series happening in the Linus Tech Tips channel right now could also easily give some distro developers a fresh glimpse into ways that they can make their operating systems more approachable to the average consumer.
Satellite Internet Competition
Musk’s Starlink paved the way, now Amazon has set its sights on getting an orbiting network of Internet providing satellites into the skies. Two predictions: First, more sighing when I am gazing up at the night sky. Second, people in remote parts of the world getting online for the first time. If Amazon’s ecommerce is any indication they will be very competitive in pricing to squeeze local ISPs and immediately grow a new revenue stream. I also want to predict that this could branch into cellular phone alternatives, making Internet-based calling more common, and give this Canadian more options for less expensive mobile services – if that happens it could be the beginning of the end for telephones as we know them today.
First, “I don’t know what I don’t know” about blockchainny tech. This is the prediction I most look forward to looking back on and having a chuckle over. The headlines are growing increasingly noisy and tumultuous in this space – which means an audience will grow.
The currency and investment side of this is really the main thrust at the moment, but that will change. The underlying technology behind NFTs being used for beanie-baby-esque collectibles is such a small example of the technologies potential! Such a token could represent something more ephemeral like a concert ticket – way better than a printable/hackable PDF that you can print a dozen copies of! I think it will change the Internet as much as the Internet changed pre-Internet tech and communications. Before that happens I think we’ll see the community broaden, and the current learning-curve and bewildering lingo shrink to a more moderate level.
I believe that eventually the technology could become a cornerstone to upcoming solutions for ecommerce, identity theft, privacy, and login-authentication. My prediction is we will see the “wallet” go from bleeding-edge towards mainstream; expanding in functionality; “Login with Google, Facebook, email, or your wallet thingy” – the latter being an exciting way to break away from using passwords, becoming a form of multi-factor authentication.
Waning Trust in Large Corporations
Privacy, data-leaks, scandals. Too many companies getting too big and powerful. I’m not predicting world-changing shifts in the next year, but a waning trust in the FAANG/MANGA type orgs will make the average user more paranoid, and the paranoid super-paranoid. This shift in popular opinion resulting (hopefully) in a proliferation of self-hosting software for cloud storage, self-hosted email servers, collaborative docs. I also predict that specialized premium SaaS providers like hey.com getting a larger slice of the pie. Privacy and encryption are poised to become the defining trust-building USPs for services like Dropbox. Here’s to greater transparency for the technologies we rely on for our digital lives.
Blasted Facebook. Hoping (not predicting) that Meta flops in part due to waning trust and cooling affections for the social giant – hopefully their metaverse will fail spectacularly enough to attach a long-lasting stigma to immersive virtual 3D world they recently unveiled. I have mental-health and societal concerns about the _more immersive_ impact of social media feeling more real and important than it does now. I predict more scandals and a quarter of users leaving the platform… this could also be a hilariously bad-take to look back on; the opposite could also happen.
YouTube has long been the video distribution platform; Vimeo just doesn’t quite compare, nor do they seem to try. This is related to the waning-trust prediction: Some social media platforms have taken a chunk of viewers away (e.g. Tiktok), but YouTube remains the second largest search engine on the web (I wonder if that’s the case universally, or if I have a skewed Western view). I think we’ll see a new distribution for video content – perhaps decentralized; but more likely some existing platform like Tiktok diversifying. When the YouTube algorithm changes fulltime youtubers usually get the full brunt; a collective effort of these influencers will likely be the first sign of the end coming! I predict we’ll see more youtube-alliances leading to spin-off community sites, eventually one will reach some kind of critical mass and there could be a moderate exodus of content makers jump ship for that platform. It’s a classic Tower of Babel scenario that we see often in web where a monolithic service falls apart and becomes many smaller niche services.
Categorized in: Tech
This post was written by ArleyM