From the start of 2018 it seemed like a constant barrage of data breaches, privacy scandals and outrage over Fake News and bad content decisions by technology companies. By mid-year it was Congressional hearings in the US and EU Parliament hearings in Brussels and the British parliament also seemingly demanding their pound of flesh.
In early 2018, I predicted that the biggest challenges for tech giants and most every tech company wouldn’t be technical at all, rather they would be political and social. Unfortunately I was right. But 2018 was a year of “awakening” as these issues emerged.
2019 will likely be a year of action. Mostly by governments who seek means to regulate and legislate behaviours of the tech companies. The tech giants have proclaimed various measures they are taking and say they can self-regulate. Rarely has any industry done so successfully.
Most steps taken by Facebook, Google and some others have been bungled and ill-considered at best. Certainly Facebook is the worst and continues to show it is out of lockstep with what society really wants.
2019 will remain difficult for the tech giants and many other tech companies, especially those dealing in data transactions. Companies grudgingly spend on cybersecurity and few have learned their lesson from the data breaches of others. The job risk for CIO’s, CDO’s and CTO’s will be high as they need to meet new demands for which if they fail, being sacked is the most likely outcome.
But expect it to be rocky with governments looking to tighten privacy regulations, impose greater fines and give legislation teeth. The challenge for legislators however, is that they are poorly informed and not at all well educated on the potential impacts of technology.
If 2018 was heralded with data privacy issues, expect the big issue of 2019 to be around Artificial Intelligence and its impact on human rights and free agency. Blockchain will simmer in the background. Its time has not quite arrived. That might be 2020.
In the technology industry, it will be an interesting year.