Welcome to our twentieth annual retrospective and predictions Cortex (nine from Intellyx and eleven from ZapThink, my previous company).
New Years’ predictions may be tiresome, but ours are different, because we take turns and rate each other’s predictions from the previous year.
Here, then, is my take on my colleague Jason ‘JE’ English’s prognostications for 2022 – and one of mine from 2021.
Our predictions for 2022
The first of JE’s predictions from last year was a great weeding out of vendors, where some would excel but many others would decline, resulting in “layoffs, fire sales, and surprise dissolutions.”
As a possible recession now looms, JE was mostly on target. Social media firms and some consumer tech stocks are way down, and many of these companies as well as other large software vendors have laid off thousands of people.
The surprise dissolutions, however, have been largely confined to cryptocurrency companies, as the entire crypto house of cards proceeds with its inevitable collapse.
JE also predicted that observability would branch out into many forms. He was right on the money with this prediction, as we’ve had conversations with data observability, cloud observability, network observability, full stack observability, and cloud native security observability vendors – and that’s just in the last six months.
His final prediction for 2021 was that supply chains would enter the mainstream IT discussion. Ironically, he hit the nail on the head, except it wasn’t the supply chain nail he was aiming for.
JE was talking about product supply chains – which entered national consciousness in 2021 with container ship bottlenecks around the world. But within the IT context, the focus of the discussion was on the software supply chain, which has been receiving immense attention since the Log4J vulnerability surfaced in late 2021.
Finally, in my 2021 prediction Cortex, I predicted that the massive Bitcoin-Tether Ponzi scheme would collapse. My timing was off on this one, as Tether is still grifting along at the moment. But with the collapse of Celsius, FTX, and numerous crypto miners, the writing is on the wall. The dominos continue to fall.
Sticking My Neck Out in 2023
The collapse of crypto is too broad and certain to be a worthwhile prediction for 2023. Instead, I’ll hazard a more specific prognostication.
Crypto mining lockup. In 2023, bitcoin (and other proof-of-work tokens) will experience a mining lockup. Miners are already going bankrupt, as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to mine at a profit. At some point, miners will stop mining.
Given that mining is how these coins process transactions, if the miners stop, then so do the transactions. At that point it won’t matter what their nominal value happens to be. There will be no way to buy or sell them.
WebAssembly and GraphQL will catch fire. My second prediction: WebAssembly (aka WASM) and GraphQL will turn their respective corners, going from cultlike but generally misunderstood status to the hottest tech since the JVM and REST, respectively.
WebAssembly is a language-independent execution model that serves as a compilation target for the Web. Originally conceived as a sandboxed execution environment for browsers, I predict that in 2023 it will find a home across all manner of cloud native applications, much as the JVM did back in the day.
GraphQL is a modern replacement for REST that enables service consumers to specify the data they require from the API. It addresses some of the most fundamental problems in integration but depends upon broad support to work its magic.
My prediction for 2023 is that GraphQL will reach its tipping point, as any vendor or end-user organization building or consuming APIs will require and expect it.
Demand for ‘Captcha for all AI’ will drive controversy and regulation. Captcha is simple technology for determining that a user isn’t a robot – and by robot, we usually mean some piece of AI-driven software.
Today, generative AI technologies like ChatGPT threaten to replace all manner of creative endeavors, from high school term papers to scientific journal articles.
Not only does this trend threaten to put whole industries out of business, but we also have to deal with the fact that such technologies are optimized for believability rather than veracity.
Ever since AI researchers first misunderstood the point of Turing’s Imitation Game – aka the Turing Test – the goal of many AI endeavors has been to mimic human behavior. Mimicry, however, was never Turing’s goal, and we may wonder whether it should be ours.
Today, many people are taken aback by how easily ChatGPT, deepfakes, and other mimicry-centric technologies can fool us. At some point, we’ll get fed up and demand some kind of control.
At the very least, we’ll want a clear label on AI-generated content that specifies its origin, much like Captcha separates AI from human action.
I predict that eventually, we’ll have regulations that require such labeling, but such regulation will take years. In 2023, we’ll have discussions and controversy, leading to increased demand for AI labeling solutions.
The Intellyx Take
Prognostication is more showbiz than analysis. Anyone can predict the future, after all, and my crystal ball works just as well as anyone else’s.
Predictions, therefore, are more about the present than the future. What predictions are thought provoking and entertaining today? Will my thoughts about the future help you make better decisions now?
Perhaps. Cashing out all your crypto for real money is certainly an urgent takeaway. Ratcheting up your concern about the adverse effects of AI would be prudent at this time as well.
The most entertaining aspect of our predictions is certainly our willingness to admit when we missed the target. Feel free to dump us in the tank of water if we do. After all, telling the future is all in good fun.
© Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Intellyx Cloud-Native Computing Poster and advises business leaders and technology vendors on their digital transformation strategies. Intellyx retains editorial control over the content of this article. Image credit: autogenerated at Craiyon.