Per usual, there’s no shortage of predictions and resolutions for 2012 going around. We’re thinking a lot about what we’re hoping for (or dreading about) this coming year… but what about the zeitgeists of 2011 we’d rather leave behind? With that in mind, here are 2011′s technology trends “to be forgot.”
1. The idea that social media is changing everything… everything - Yes, Tweets were instrumental in the Arab Spring and other protest movements. And yes, Facebook is the world’s “third largest country” and has us more digitally engaged than ever. And certainly social media is making it easier than ever for politicians and celebrities to embarrass themselves. But while social media is shaping and will continue to shape our interactions and our media, people remain basically the same. Let’s face it: nobody needed any help making social blunders BEFORE Twitter. The main differences are that now, social interactions are making an imprint faster and mistakes are a bit harder to hide. But that doesn’t change the basic lessons of life: practice the Golden Rule, wash your hands and mind your Ps and Qs.
2. The threat of hyper-hackers - Between LulzSec and Anonymous, we had more than our fair share of cyber-criminal attacks this past year. Most of us, especially those responsible for large corporations and government bodies with massive amounts of sensitive data to protect, are quite uncomfortable with this trend of large scale hacking, which threatens both our personal and collective security. The biggest dilemma we face is how to crack down on these crimes without compromising our own liberties. Let’s hope that in 2012, we make some progress on that front.
3. Endless Mobile Patent Warfare - To some applause and some controversy, Apple just won a lawsuit in a US court against HTC for violating some of its iPhone patents related to the latter’s use of S3 Graphics. Meanwhile, an Australian ruling against Samsung concerning its Galaxy Tab (which Apple claimed was violating its iPad patents) was recently overturned, marking a contentious victory for the Korean manufacturer. And there are lawsuits going in the other direction, against Apple, as well. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, this relentless back and forth has got to stop. Competition is healthy… patent warfare is not.
The famous first line of Robert Burns’ poem Auld Lang Syne is meant to be rhetorical: “Should old acquaintance be forgot” (should we forget old friends, etc.) – of course not! But these low points of 2011 we can do without. Here’s to 2012!