Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are the author’s alone.
Well, 2018 is here in full swing. So now is as good a time as ever to offer my perspectives for the coming 12 months. How will tech impact us this year?
- FinTech — From cryptocurrency to blockchain. My two favorite gurus to follow are Samson Williams @hustlefundbaby (fintech/cryptocurrency strategist) and Maureen Murat @crowdieadvisors (attorney, blockchain technology advisor).
- Equity in STEM education — From urban schools to rural communities, all students should have the same chance to succeed. Terry Heick, @terryheick, director of TeachThought sums it up best: “The work before us then, may not be to level an academic playing field for which there is no even, but rather to create new terms for why we learn, how, and where — and then change the expectation for what we do with what we know.”
- Cybersecurity — From local to global, the implications, inquiries, and ripple effects are real. In Missouri, we see where the alleged use of one “text message destroying” app (Confide) can prompt a Sunshine Law investigation; while we as a nation are still experiencing the aftermath where it only took one hack to wreak havoc (electoral attacks).
- Diversity and Inclusion — From women’s marches (on the ground) to the #metoo and #timesup movements (online), the revolution will be televised as long as underrepresented populations continue to be marginalized.
- Immigration — From the travel ban to DACA, we all will feel the impact because, truth be told, many of the immigrants affected are your classmates, co-workers, neighbors, students you teach, fellow worshippers sitting next to you on the pew, your service provider, local entrepreneurs, etc.
- AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning (ML) — From Alexa to Echo. As this industry continues to rapidly evolve from just robots and chatbots, look also for AI/ML to create revolutionary solutions to help companies use data to solve real issues like reducing costs, increasing efficiencies, automating data and knowledge retrieval.
- Personal Surveillance — From the Ring (video doorbell) to Amazon in-home deliveries, tech developments for “security at your fingertips” will continue to emerge in an attempt to prevent “porch pirates” while also efficiently maintaining everyday safety measures.
- Net Neutrality — From stolen identities to suing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Regardless of where you stand, this debate is far from over.
- The power of the user experience (UX) — From the innovative creations to the end user. The importance of (UX) is critical for the sustainability of tech products and services. No longer can businesses be assured of “if we build it, they will come.” For many of today’s consumers, it’s the experience that makes all the difference. My local go-to guru for UX insight is Janelle James, CEO of 99 Prospect.
- Government going viral — From up-to-the-minute tweets to blow-by-blow breaking news reports. On any given day, it seems as if we practically have unprecedented access to government dealings via social media and daily press conferences. What matters most though is who’s responsible for accurately deciphering between the “real news” and the “fake news” as the drama unfolds.
Well there you have it. As the year unfolds, we’ll continue to follow the ups and downs, ebbs and flows, fast tracks and failures of the impact technology makes in 2018.
April Boyd-Noronha is the STEM parent advocate, diversity thought lecturer and author behind Lee’s Summit-based The STEM Broker, a boutique training and consulting firm focused on empowering girls, women, and minorities to succeed and advance in STEM careers. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on twitter at @thestembroker