2017 Predictions, Pt. 2: Psychohistory, Drones-as-a-Service, More Mobile Commerce

Will this be the year that Big Data and machine learning combine to enable us to actually make sense of our neighbor’s behavior? Will a bigger mobile phone help or hurt your bank account? Instead of flying around filming surfer videos, will drones finally get a real job? And, why do Millennials despise the suburbs?

All of this will become clearer in 2017, according to the experts who appeared this week on Coffee Break with Game-Changers 2017 Predictions Special – Part 2 presented by SAP. Host Bonnie D. Graham asked 16 leading experts, academics, and business influencers what they see in their crystal ball for 2017. Each person was given just two minutes to share their predictions for what the next year holds for their industry, business, the world, and technology.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. 2017 is the year that Isaac Asimov’s Psychohistory starts becoming real. Big Data and machine learning will combine to enhance mathematical sociology – enabling us to make sense of what happens to groups of people in society.

– Timo Elliott, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist, SAP

2. Technology will force us to talk to each other more. Big Data will make our conversations more efficient. That’s going to lead to a streamlining in communications, which will give us the freedom to be more mindful and authentic. You’re going to see more people step into leadership, as well as more participation and an enhanced sense of community.

– Nance L. Schick, Esq., Attorney and Conflict Resolution Professional

3. We’re going to see a continued evolution in the downfall of generic employee training, especially in IT. Why? Because companies no longer have the tolerance for standardized, one-size-fits-all training, which has been proven to be expensive, ineffective, and event-based. Instead, they will focus on making all learning for all staff on-demand.

– Mal Poulin, Senior Director of Strategy and Market Relations for ANCILE

4. We have amazing algorithms with machine learning and fantastic ways to crunch data, but there are two problems: 1. The algorithms are written by people; therefore, biases are built into them, intentionally or not, and 2. The data is bad. I am concerned the inequality gap will continue to grow as we take the combination of bad data and really powerful, but biased, black-box algorithms and use them to make all kinds of decisions.

– Bryan Hicks, Director of IoT Solution Management, SAP

5. In 2017, I see the beginnings of “cognitive” at the personal level – beyond Alexa, Cortana, and Google – by being able to access all data in the cloud in an intelligent way. For example, at the store you might see a new television and ask your phone to advise you, “Can I afford this?” An intelligent agent will go to your bank account and bring back that information.

– Jerry Silva, Research Director, IDC Financial Insights Global Banking

6. We’ve been seeing a lot of the disruptive impact of technology. 2017 will be the year we really start feeling the social impact of the technology. I see it playing out in our connected world – the connected car, connected home, connected cities, and connected medical devices. We’re going to start seeing more aspects of our lives being connected together.

– Sanjay Kumar, Leader of Global Telecom practice, Hortonworks

7. Expect the unexpected. My prediction is that the economy overall will remain very strong. Nevertheless, there will be instability in unexpected places. My advice, whether you own a business or a stock, is to diversify your investments globally.

– Nicole Sahin, CEO, Globalization Partners

 8. The macro-trend I am predicting that starts in 2017 is the death of the suburbs. Why? Millennials hate suburbs; they love cities. Baby boomers are coming to retirement age; they no longer need the four-bedroom house in the suburbs with the acre of lawn to be mowed every week.

– Jim Fields, Vice President, Customer Experience Marketing, SAP

9. Technology will finally deliver on its promises for the office of the CFO, particularly for the accounting team. The accounting team still spends hours after work four or five days each month closing out the books to give the company a rear-view look at the world. In-memory technology is finally going to change that.

– Jeff Hattendorf, COO, Macrospect Inc.

10. Everything is moving to mobile. Phones are getting bigger. They’re becoming mini-computers. That’s a tool that will really help small business owners in 2017.

– Sandi Webster, Principal, Consultants 2 Go, LLC

11. We’re going to see a lot of drones. We’ll see drones-as-a-service in many businesses where drones are going to be put to work for us.

– Sudha Jamthe, CEO, IoT Disruptions

12. In 2017, mobile commerce will grow more than 50% over 2016. Mobile technology is becoming more ubiquitous. The phones are getting bigger. The bigger the phone, the more people can make purchases on them and the more comfortable they feel. Size seems to be a big hurdle for most people to get by when it comes to mobile ecommerce.

– Richard McCammon, CEO, Delego Software

13. Augmented reality and virtual reality for business use will be an active investment area in the coming year. Companies see this as a clear opportunity. The questions are primarily about cost and usability.

– Heather Ashton, Research Manager, IDC Manufacturing Insights

14. In compliance, 2017 will be a great year to do the right thing, to bring the best people to the table, to have the right discussions, and to have the courage to stand up for what’s right.

– Fabiana Lacera-Allen, President, Ethiprax

15. Many people have predicted a doom by Artificial Intelligence (AI), but I predict it’s going to be humans with AI – not humans or AI. Humans and processes plus automation are going to be replacing the redundancy and complacency currently in the workforce.

– John Sullivan, Director of Innovation, NA Analytics Center of Excellence, SAP

16. The industrial IoT ecosystem will start to formalize. Industrial IoT requires an ecosystem of partners to provide advisory, technology, and services that effectively create solutions for customers. In 2017 we’ll see some of these relationships start to formalize.

– Pieter van Schalkwyk, Founder and CEO, XMPro

You can hear the full show at SAP Game-Changers 2017 Predictions – Part 2.

2017 will be the year we really start feeling the social impact of the technology

SAP Game-Changers Radio 2017 Predictions Special: Upcoming Shows

For dozens of other insightful predictions that can impact you and your business in 2017 and beyond, listen to all five episodes of SAP’s Game-Changers Radio 2017 Predictions Special. Part 3 will air live on Wednesday, January 4 at 11am EST/ 8am PST at http://spr.ly/SAPRadio. Parts 4 and 5 air January 11 and 18, 2017 at the same link. You can listen to the shows live here.

Editor’s note: The predictions published here have been edited and paraphrased based on the thought leaders’ on-air statements.

Top image via Shutterstock