A year ago, I published here my “irreverent look forward” to what 2016 would bring. Now is the time of reckoning, to see how accurate those forecasts were.
I forecast a long, cold winter in northern Europe, in which the UK’s floods froze over. Thankfully that didn’t happen, although the winter of 2015-16 was more steadily wet right through into the spring.
Although I joked that Adobe’s Flash engineers had resigned in 2015, we have continued to suffer frequent Flash updates through the year, and a worryingly large number of websites still use (or try to use) Flash. With its extensive deployment in education, Flash looks to be living way past its useful life. I’m afraid that it will still be going strong through 2017.
I suggested that the replacement EU-US Safe Harbor deal was going to smoulder on all year, but that has now been reached, at least for the time being.
I quipped that the UN World Climate Change Conference would become more frequent and require a lot of airline flights. Thankfully that did not happen, although the whole future of the conference is now in doubt, depending on potential changes in US policy.
I wrote that the US National Security Agency and UK’s GCHQ devised a ‘secure’ method of encryption featuring a backdoor, which was quickly broken by a schoolchild. That did not happen: instead the UK’s security agencies have gained the ability to force service providers to build backdoors into their encryption, under the Investigatory Powers Act, which is a much more worrying threat to all of us. I wonder how long it will be before the US follows suit.
I forecast that Southern California would have heavy snowfall, but was wrong: it turned out to be Hawaii in early December.
My other prediction was that a survey of leading politicians in the US and Europe reveals that 70% of them don’t know what a router is, 40% aren’t even sure how to connect to the Internet, and 95% think that Raspberry Pi is a baked dish popular in New England. Sadly, I don’t think that anyone has conducted that survey, but am still confident of that outcome.
My forecast for June, that Apple would announce OS X 10.12 and iOS 10 at WWDC, was of course an easy one to make, and was correct. I was a little over-pessimistic about the poor summer in northern Europe, which was actually quite a good and generally warm one. I completely failed to forecast the UK’s extraordinary referendum result, but then no one else expected it either – least of all those campaigning to leave the EU.
I expected the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill to become law rather early: it actually took until the end of November. However, my next prediction was completely accurate: Chris Froome did win the Tour de France a third time, and newspapers did accuse him of using a concealed electric motor.
I think that I was also accurate when I wrote: in the usual dearth of news as most of the northern hemisphere goes on vacation, broadsheet newspapers resort to automated construction of stories from celebrity tweets. Unfortunately, this technique seems to have persisted throughout the whole of the latter part of the year, and now includes Facebook posts too. Don’t expect fact-checking to become widespread in 2017, though, as many sectors of the press will continue to publish whatever propaganda they wish to.
I thought that Firefox would reach version 100.0, which was a slight exaggeration. At present it is only on version 50.1, and should do even better next year. My fears for Amazon’s drone delivery service were premature, but I still think it will end in tears.
I was fairly accurate in expecting another strong set of quarterly results from Apple, and the subsequent prediction from analysts that Apple is doomed. As yet, Apple has held off making a bid for any European country, although that might solve its tax problems in Ireland.
Microsoft did not announce Windows 12, which just goes to show that they haven’t got into the swing of modern version numbering – yet.
Here I had another triumph, when I wrote: As news of Donald Trump’s election as the President of the United States emerges, Twitter collapses in consequent twitterstorms, and sulks offline for two days. Twitter didn’t collapse, but how many other blogs forecast Trump’s victory almost a year in advance?
I seem to have been a little premature in predicting that President-Elect Trump would sever internet connections to and from the US. But next year’s news looks ripe for similar shocks.
My final prediction doesn’t look too bad either, when I wrote The Eclectic Light Company predictions for 2016 are found to have performed better than weather forecasts, IMF economic predictions, or horoscopes, and came close to getting a couple of events right.
So, what of 2017? Given the impossible political situation in the UK, the risk of other European countries heading in a similar direction, and the new President of the US, the forecast is clear and simple: we’re all doomed. I don’t think that anyone can be any more detailed than that.
I have been prepared to offer more detailed forecasts for macOS (and iOS) upgrades, and Apple’s Mac hardware releases in the coming year. Place your bets on this article.