The 15 tech trends that could change everything in the next decade

How will the interaction between technology, governments, business and society play out over the next ten years? Here's a few predictions.
Written by Charles McLellan, Senior Editor

CCS Insight unveiled a set of predictions for 2020 and beyond at its annual future-gazing event in London on Thursday 3 October. With the turn of the decade approaching, the tech analyst firm's timeframe was longer than usual, stretching to 2030. A total of 90 predictions were released (10 fewer than last year), ranging from the properly futuristic ('By 2030, there is a permanent communication station on the Moon') to the very specific ('Samsung launches Galaxy Glasses in 2022').

The event saw keynote presentations from CCS Insight analysts and on-stage interviews with tech luminaries including: Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm; Stefan Streit, CMO at TCL; Olaf Swantee, CEO of Sunrise; and Daniel Rausch, VP Smart Home at Amazon.

Here are CCS Insight's top 15 predictions (with some 'further reading' links):

By 2021, algorithmic and anti-bias data auditors emerge to tackle "pale, male and stale" artificial intelligence
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
What is bias in AI really, and why can't AI neutralize it?
Artificial intelligence ethics policy (TechRepublic)
IBM offers explainable AI toolkit, but it's open to interpretation

By 2023, psychometric testing of software developers becomes commonplace
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
You can't open-source license morality
Google's built a new tool to help you ace your next developer interview
Hiring kit: Principal Software Engineer (TechRepublic)

By 2021, Amazon buys 5G mobile spectrum for its own use in at least one market
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
How 'private 5G' could enable Google and Amazon to become telcos
Amazon unveils drone it says will be delivering packages within months
5G to underpin new digital ecosystem in 2020 (TechRepublic)

In 2020, Apple launches its "Apple Privacy" brand
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
Can Apple compete on privacy?
Apple and Google battle for the future of privacy
Some tech CEOs eyed as untrustworthy but certain companies are still favored

By 2021, a Premier League football club launches a facial recognition ticketing system
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
Facial recognition: Convenient or creepy?
Technology in sport: Inside the stadium of the future
How the Atlanta Braves built the stadium of the future (TechRepublic)

Artificial intelligence replaces referees in a major sporting event by 2022
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
How humans and technology conspired to spoil the World Cup Final
The 6 coolest tech innovations being used at the 2018 FIFA World Cup (TechRepublic)
Bad Call, book review: Science, accuracy and justice in sports decision-making

Samsung launches Galaxy Glasses in 2022
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
These AR glasses actually look like ... glasses
Nvidia Research demos "Prescription AR" glasses
CES 2019: How employees can use Vuzix Blade AR Smart Glasses to optimize their workflow (TechRepublic)

Environmental pressure sees virtual reality displace 20% of business travel by 2029
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
Magic Leap jumps from office collaboration to smart cities
Mark Zuckerberg: VR isn't a 2020 thing, but hopefully isn't a 2030 thing
How video conferencing is reducing business travel and increasing productivity

By 2025, one in 50 households in affluent markets owns a domestic robot
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
A gentle robotic hand that won't break eggs, pasta sticks
How iRobot used data science, cloud, and DevOps to design its next-gen smart home robots
Cracking Open the Roomba 980 robot vacuum (TechRepublic)

Brain–computer interfaces evolve beyond medical applications into commercial offerings by 2027
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
Neural implants: Why connecting your brain to a computer will create a huge headache for everyone
Type with your mind: We've achieved a first in brain-computer research, says Facebook
Elon Musk's Neuralink uses tiny 'brain threads' to try and read your mind

By 2023, a lack of diversity in data sets pushes a wearable device maker to pay users for their data
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
Executive's guide to wearable computing in business (TechRepublic)
What's in store for the future of wearables?
Diversity and inclusion remains a top priority for permanent and contract employees (TechRepublic)

Oversupply of 5G smartphones in 2020 sees prices plummet
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
Samsung's Galaxy A90 lands: New phone brings 5G's faster speeds to the mid-range
Apple's 2020 iPhones: Expect all models to offer 5G after $1bn Intel deal
Global 5G users projected to reach 1.5B by 2024 (TechRepublic)

In 2020, at least five operators start to offer subscribers an annual smartphone "health check"
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
Apple launches independent iPhone repair program
Smartphones: We're upgrading less often as prices rise and innovation declines
How the two-year smartphone upgrade cycle died (TechRepublic)

"Deep fake" detection technology emerges by 2021
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
Google's war on deepfakes: As election looms, it shares ton of AI-faked videos
Forget email: Scammers use CEO voice 'deepfakes' to con workers into wiring cash
Facebook, Microsoft: We'll pay out $10m for tech to spot deepfake videos

Netflix is forced to look for new growth strategies from 2022
Read more on ZDNet & TechRepublic
Apple TV Plus will be bigger than Netflix, if Apple does a billion things just right
Netflix motion tracking reveals what the future of ad engagement data gathering may hold
The cord-cutting conundrum: What consumers won't pay for content

2020 and the decade ahead

In the most forward-looking keynote -- '2020 and the decade ahead' -- CCS Insight's VP of forecasting Marina Koytcheva covered a wide range of topics: the shift of economic power to emerging markets; the growth, age structure and purchasing power of the world's population; and the emergence of 5G, extended reality (XR) and artificial intelligence, which will enable smart cities, factories and homes -- not to mention the 'surveillance state'.

Environmental issues will come to the fore, Koytcheva said, leading to changes in the behaviour of individuals and businesses (witness prediction 8 above, concerning VR and business travel). Mobile phone manufacturers will have to become more proactive about handset recycling, she said, so that environmentally conscious users "don't find yet another reason to hold onto their phones". Koytcheva also noted that, because 5G base stations are significantly more power-hungry than 4G ones, mobile operators will have to get greener. As a result, CCS Insights predicts that a European network operator will adopt an environment-friendly approach to powering its infrastructure by 2021.

SEE: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

On the changing relationship between governments and the technology industry, Koytcheva noted that the world's top ten tech companies generated $1 trillion in 2010, rising to $1.7tn in 2019 -- a huge increase in financial and society-influencing power, which governments are now seeking to control. We're also living in the era of 'tech nationalism', Koytcheva said, where governments use tech companies to leverage competitive advantage against other nations -- Huawei's position in the US-China trade dispute being the topical example. 

Where governments lead, consumers often follow, which explains CCS Insight's prediction that brands from Greater China will account for 95% of all smart products sold in China in 2020. As the analyst firm points out: "The lack of a 5G iPhone reinforces the perception that the West is no longer a source of innovation, and further suppresses demand for Western brands."


CCS Insight's VP of forecasting Marina Koytcheva at the analyst firm's annual predictions event.  

Image: Charles McLellan/ZDNet
Editorial standards