Technology predictions about trust, control and fuzzy stuff!

Image credit | pigphoto

It is comforting when technology predictions for the next year line up (more or less). Unless you are a journalist, in which case it is just irritating because you can’t point out the discrepancies.

The next set of predictions, after Forrester, is from Telenor Research and point to a year of almost crazy innovation and technology progress.


In line with some of the Forrester predictions, humans come into the equation, big time.

While Forrester’s predictions focused on business, and how technology will be embedded into the organisation to support the customer experience, Telenor is slightly ‘further out there’.

The predictions are numerous and cover a wide range of topics from green technology to dirty data; from sleep tech to the clash of the streaming titans (covered here); from eSIM disruption to bringing big tech down to size.

Running through it all, however, is something rather important.

As Bjørn Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research says, “The world of technology isn’t a place that can be defined by a single storyline, it’s our job to understand the larger sometimes contradicting contexts we live in – in both of our worlds – and then to home in on the most important developments that could reshape our lives.”

If he is right, 2020 (or at least the next couple of years) will be the time when humans finally address how they interact with technology and how technology intersects with them.

As well as the overwhelming issue of ‘green’ technology to make our planet clean, take ‘dirty data’. This is a term Telenor uses to describe how AI can make the wrong choice because the data it is asked to make a decision about is ‘dirty’ because humans put in the wrong data. We need to fix this quickly.

This pause, this adjustment, makes sense. Already there is a backlash against ‘technology for technology’s sake’. Resentment against overuse of the term ‘AI’ is being used as a positive in advertising.

Probably wrongly.

One new advert from a bank has the strapline ‘who is more likely to give you a mortgage – an algorithm or a human?’ That advert could launch a whole day of discussion and dissension but the point is that it is indicative of the backlash against technology for technology’s sake.

One crucial issue not only for 2020 but for the next few years is trust. We have said for some years now that trust (particularly for telecoms operators) is potentially a major asset. The question has been how to deliver it.

The opportunity to do so is now. The number of people who still believe that free internet means free internet (rather than ‘free’ internet) is dwindling. People are realising more and more that they need to give something in return for this ‘free’ internet. They hate that big tech companies have decided for them what that something is. Until now.

People will require more and more control of what that something is.

In the section on the ‘cost of trust’, the Telenor synopsis says this:

In 2020, we believe customers will increasingly reserve trust to companies who have a line of revenue independent from how much they know about us personally.

Customers, people and the human race seem to be in agreement.

We need to be in control of our technology so that we can trust it again.

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