The Battle for 2018

If you’re living the start of 2018, you’ve learnt that time is relative. Each day is a month’s worth of suspense, heartbreak and disappointment. And a month is an age. These are times of change and, at the risk of sounding like every old person that has ever lived, not necessarily for the better. For many of us, curling up into a ball is a temptation too great to resist.

By the end of this year, the world will be a different place. Not the actual world – the trees and the birds and the oceans – but the digital world we increasingly inhabit, of memes and celebrity politicians and technologies that are set to shake us from our relative stillness. Here are four things that will have happened by the end of 2018:

1. Blockchain. Blockchain everywhere.

The cryptocurrency market is a veritable gold rush. And like the dot com rush – and subsequent bubble – the miners aren’t sturdy folks with pick axes but a chaotic mix of tired-eye youths operating from their basement lair and weary wall street investors, whose meander into the space is nothing short of avarice-fuelled audacity. Every leading business is now looking for a way to pre-empt and incorporate a crypto future. Billions are being made and lost – with millennials chanting ‘to the moon’ forgetting what happens when a rocket fails mid-flight – and by the end of 2018 we’ll see what’s left once the (gold) dust has settled.

2. Hello toaster

IoT has been whispered about for years as arguably the most anticipated technology of the future. 2018 will be the year of IoT. Finally, we’ll start to see the tech make its way into our homes and daily lives as Amazon and Google pioneer consumer-focused products. The question will be whether the tech becomes more than a novelty, or whether a responsive toaster is just something we’ll show off to a family member at Christmas as proof of our success.

3. A political breaking point

There are some perennially assured that the world is set to fold in on itself. They aren’t as loud or as public as those once seen wearing tinfoil hats and holding cardboard placards on the streets, but they’re about – nodding their heads knowingly at one another in Reddit channels. But anybody with a strong intuition will admit there’s a prevailing unease in the world; an uncertainty and unsteadiness that is as much related to our leaders and wobbling political establishment as it is the threat of a certain somebody growing restless and pressing a button. The world is coming to a head. Many disparate parts are finding their way to the same centre, which demands and necessitates change, of one magnitude or another.

4. A new consciousness

It’s in times of hardship that we awaken. Whether through heated uprooting of institutionalised sexism, changing attitudes towards our impact in the world or technology that augments our ability to exist beyond borders, we’re awakening to a new global consciousness. Inherited systems and beliefs are failing people; if Trump’s election achieves anything, it’s that we now have an extreme to react against – a way to see the worst of our society encapsulated, so that we may strive for better.