A few more predictions for 2017

January 7, 2017

I sincerely appreciated all the positive feedback on publishing my past predictions scorecard as well as on this collection of 2017 predictions from an exclusive all-women cast of investors. Thank you.

Some readers also prodded me to stake out my own set of tech forecasts for the year ahead. While I contend that the best insights came from my peers, here are a few more:

  • Mass consumers in the West will finally acknowledge definitively that Asia is capable of producing truly inventive new applications of consumer tech. My guess is that a breakout gadget like this “facial perfection” selfie camera in China will take off in the vanity-stricken cultures of most Western countries. With functionality embedded directly into the camera, this Casio automatically removes blemishes, slims the face, whitens the skin, and enlarges the eyes (perhaps a skin tanning function will emerge in the culture of sun worshippers).
  • The “down-with-the-banks” element to the fintech revolution will lose some of its luster. The saturation of fintech startups in Europe will witness consolidation, with the winners having already attained scale and found ways to partner with the banks rather than replace them; however, Japan’s fintech space will accelerate.
  • Agritech (or Agtech), in contrast, will ascend the curve of inflated expectations. “I can’t believe it’s not meat” substitutes and water-efficient avocados will attain widespread acceptance, taste great, and be less filling.
  • 2017 will be the year AI crosses the chasm of consumer perception. I cannot take credit for this prediction because a number of smarter VCs have made the same prognosis. However, I share the view that AI will become the new ‘mobile’. I also suspect we will see more surreptitious acts of AI, such as the recent stealth play of AlphaGo in the online Go community.
  • The invincibility of the app stores will soften, with the pendulum of centralized vs. distributed IT architectures swinging back. Streamable ‘apps’, HTML5 light versions, and integrations of mobile applications in other creative ways will emerge as a viable alternative to the tedious mobile app on-boarding process.
  • Kisenosato will win a sumo championship. He is the only ozeki to have never brought home the Emperor ‘s Cup despite being the winningest wrestler of 2016.

Happy and healthy new year to all. がんばってください。!

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posted in sumo, technology, venture capital by mark bivens

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