At this point in the game, you're used to the fact it's 2018. Sure, the odd check may still get written with a seven on the end of the date, but no one's living under false pretense here.
That said, it's time to start thinking about the year ahead. No, don't break out that day planner—we're talking about tech trends. What will you look back on a year from now with complete amazement? What new tech will make you yearn for the days of Windows Vista? Let's dive in.
AI and the art of design take center stage
Everyone knows the most obvious tech trend taking the world by storm: artificial intelligence. Will 2018 be the year of Skynet? Perhaps not, but you will hear and see a lot more from this tech trend. If you wanted to hang your hat on one piece of technology that'll become the future of innovation, AI would be the smart pick. Its broad applications can be applied across nearly every industry, pushing its potential for disruption through the roof.
As the year unfolds, look for product developers to shift the way they do what they do. Instead of creating from the perspective of users interacting with technology, they'll need to account for technology that fully interacts with humans, too. Heck, your next smartphone may even come with a neural network chip!
Move over, bitcoin
It's not every day a new global currency crops up—certainly not one with the widespread appeal of bitcoin. And yet, as disruptive as these cryptocurrencies have been in 2017—and will no doubt continue to be in 2018—it's the underlying blockchain technology that's the real winner.
The ability to securely conduct transactions without associated risks of fraud and manipulation make this one of the must-watch tech trends of 2018. Be on the lookout for new areas of application, like election voting and data management, to start making their own noise in this sector. You may just see it being used to end slavery (yes, you read that right).
Converging convenience and privacy
In much the same way Christian Bale leveraged user data to surveil Gotham in The Dark Knight, 2018 will present a similar moral dilemma for smart devices. Whether you side with Morgan Freeman or Mr. Bale, an important choice will need to be made. Your smartphone and other mobile devices can capture nearly every aspect of your daily life, from footsteps to travel patterns.
Will big brother start peering into your every move? Not likely. Instead, you'll see tech giants pushing increasingly personalized services as they continue to filter massive amounts of usage data. Considering the fact most people are suspicious at best when it comes to tracking data, 2018 could be very influential as customers and businesses attempt to reconcile privacy and convenience—especially after the recent controversy around the Facebook fallout.
Solitary VR is so 2017
When it comes to augmented and virtual reality, the experience is about as social as spending a few days in solitary. How can you be social when you've got an electronic brick strapped over your eyes? At least, that was the case in 2017.
The next several months will likely serve as testing grounds for companies that see VR as the future of innovation. Facebook, for example, which debuted its VR app "Spaces" last year, has already opened the app up to new and more social venues this year. Look for others to follow suit.
Secure all your endpoints
Security has been a theme of tech trends for some time now thanks to unscrupulous hackers looking to make a quick buck, and 2018 will undoubtedly see its fair share of security innovation. Specifically, you'll see concerted efforts from vendors looking to secure common endpoints within some of the innovative tech trends already covered here.
Think printers that utilize embedded self-healing intelligence to scan connections, monitor firmware integrity, and detect intrusions. As IoT continues its unstoppable march, layering security into the endpoints themselves will become an increasingly critical priority.
That said, 2018 sure looks like it will continue to be an exciting year for tech innovation. With an eye toward AI, big data, VR, and endpoint security, try not to blink or you may just miss the party!