Is 2019 over already? For some in the world of technology, the end of the year couldn’t come quickly enough. Last year saw WeWork and its then-CEO Adam Neumann go from glorious unicorn to wobbly pariah after a failed attempt to go public.
Elon Musk, meanwhile, has been dealing with the fallout from his “pedo guy” insult (which was, it turns out, just fine) while the latest tranche of big startups to go public – Uber, Pinterest and Slack – all ended up the year with seriously dented stock prices.
One company, however, has been riding high this year. Peleton, the company behind the exercise bike for billionaire narcissists was looking like one of this year’s rare tech successes. At least until December, when it released a dystopian advert straight out of an episode of Black Mirror.
Anyway, that’s enough of the past. What does the new decade hold for the tech world? Let’s find out with a month-by-month look at what might – but almost definitely won’t – happen in 2020.
Might happen: Undeterred with the lukewarm response to its foldable phone, Samsung launches its new strategy – The Future is Foldable – and commits to fully-foldable versions of all of its gadgets and white goods by the end of the year.
Might not happen: Jeff Bezos reveals that he has in fact uncovered the secret to immortality, and that he actually died in 2008, right before he started getting swole. Immortality kits will be available to Prime members only.
Might happen: After a week of dopamine fasting, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announces plans for an emoji-only version of Twitter.
Might not happen: Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield decides to take on the scourge of the postal system, pledging to replace physical letters with electronic updates that people can access at any time through what he is calling “an app”.
Might happen: After all the excitement of Google achieving quantum supremacy, people start wondering when a quantum computer will do something useful. The next quantum winter beckons.
Might not happen: After nearly a decade under the spell of Adam Neumann’s hypnosis, the world finally works out that WeWork is a lot like a normal office really, just with beer and silly slogans on the wall. The We Company permanently shelves its IPO plans.
Might happen: Star Citizen funding tops $500 million as its creators admit that they’d actually forgotten they were supposed to be working on a video game. Director Chris Roberts offers a vague release date of “…some time in 2030?”
Might not happen: Government minister Matt “there’s an app for that” Hancock announces a plan to replace himself with an AI avatar. The decision is widely welcomed as an improvement over the flesh-and-blood Hancock.
Might happen: In an effort to see who can make the ugliest console possible, Sony announces that its machine will just be an old Amazon box filled-in with marker pen and attached to a dongle. Pre-orders start at £599.
Might not happen: Against the backdrop of a dramatic attempt to rescue a badminton team from an Amazon warehouse, Elon Musk inexplicably calls one of the rescue workers an “an actual murderer”.
Might happen: The Department for Transport legalised e-scooters on the UK’s roads. Lime, Lyft and Uber descend on the streets of the capital for the latest front in The Scooter Wars.
Might not happen: Clean meat firms finally master the science of making animal-free flesh. Their first creation? The human burger.
Might happen: The Department for Transport backtracks on its decision and London’s streets are cleared of the scooter scourge. The canals – now crammed with leaking batteries – become home to mutant ducks with an insatiable urge for last mile transport solutions.
Might not happen: DeepMind tries – and fails – to teach its AI to take on Untitled Goose Game. Former Go champion Lee Sedol comes out of retirement to hone his skills as a mischievous goose.
Might happen: Netflix buys up Vue and Odeon, deciding that the future of cinema is actually… cinema.
Might not happen: Elon Musk remains tight-lipped about the release date of his Cybertruck, instead deciding to re-focus his efforts on robo-trike: an autonomous tricycle for Tesla super-fans aged three and up. At the launch event, robo-trike goes rogue, killing three Tesla executives and injuring dozens. Half a million people put in their pre-orders.
Might happen: Apple launches its first 5G phone. In his keynote announcement, CEO Tim Cook explains how Apple actually invented 5G – despite the fact that other phones have had the technology for the best part of a year. Apple fans are more interested in the fact that the latest crop of iPhones have seven cameras each. Seven!
Might not happen: Samsung orders a hasty recall of its line of foldable fridges after customers complain that the devices spontaneously set themselves on fire after too many folds.
Might happen: In the run-up to Black Friday 2020, Amazon takes the liberty of pre-ordering you thinks it thinks you might like. Customers will now have to decide on their doorstep whether they really need another OLED TV.
Might not happen: After a year in the wilderness, Adam Neumann returns with his next venture: WeEat. It’s like a normal restaurant, but all the dishes are shared and slightly too expensive. Critics protest that Neumann has just invented tapas.
Might happen: The US election goes off without a hitch as Mark Zuckerberg does an about-face and decides that maybe it’s not okay to allow false political adverts on social media.
Might not happen: In court Elon Musk explains that – in his native South Africa – calling someone “an actual murderer” doesn’t mean they are an actual murderer. It just means that they’re a bit murderery – or something.
Might happen: Following the success of Black Friday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces that Christmas is now actually called Christmas, Brought to you by Amazon. A 25-day sales bonanza ensues. Bezos celebrates by shipping a Ring Video Doorbell to every person in the world.
Might not happen: Everyone decides that, on balance, it’s maybe best to never leave the house in fear of being sold more stuff they don’t need by Amazon’s all-seeing surveillance network
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