With 2015 rapidly coming to a close, we are confronted with figuring out what to expect for 2016. Quite frankly, that’s anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, here are a few thoughts about what I’m seeing on my radar screen.
Don’t laugh. I know that half of them will result in a swing and a miss. But what the heck, it’s fun to trying to predict things in a world that continues to be wildly random and wholly unpredictable!
1. Massive Upheaval and Disruption. My sense tells me that we are on the brink of a major disruption of the prevailing world order. I predict that the U.S. will take it on the chin, as will China and Russia. Unprecedented levels of social and economic upheaval will take place as the global milieu prepares for a reset. Amidst the rubble, look for Germany to advance in prominence as the de facto leader on the world stage.
2. The Trump Effect. Mark my words. Look for The Donald to drop out of the Presidential race in the first quarter of the year when allegations surface that he is a Republican Party shill, solely in it to shake up the prevailing political establishment. Ted Cruz becomes the GOP nominee and, along with his running mate Rand Paul, wins in a landslide victory over Hillary Clinton. “
3. Hacks, Security Breaches and Online Crimes Abound. This will be a banner year for two emerging career fields: Cybersecurity Specialists and Certified Fraud Examiners – if the insights offered in the book Future Crimes are even remotely accurate.
4. The Micro-Earnings Economy Takes Shape. The new normal for building one’s standard of living will be working more jobs for smaller amounts. For many, a minimum of five income streams will be necessary to remain financially whole. The days of single income earners with one salary will rapidly come to a close. In response, wise middle-class folks will downsize, pursue simplicity and embrace a return-on-investment mindset, one dollar at a time.
5. Racial Tensions Continue to Escalate. 2015 was filled with levels of racial unrest unseen since the 60’s. I expect this to continue in 2016, culminating in the emergence of a grassroots Race Relations Commission to examine this pernicious issue and offer pragmatic solutions.
6. Mobile Phone Prices Plunge. We’ll begin to see the demise of mobile phone and data plans, as cheap wi-fi connections become more widespread. Google Hangouts, Burner, and TalkU will become the new, inexpensive ‘go-to’ for the increasingly rare phone calls that we make and receive. And portable wi-fi hotspots? Well, they will become all the rage, with an innovative company called KarmaGo leading the way.
7. Messaging Apps Dominate. On the heels of prediction #7, look for a mass exodus start to take place away from phone calls and traditional email. A spate of messaging apps and platforms like WeChat, WhatsApp, Slack and even Facebook Messenger will fuel this trend, promising to shake up how we connect with each other.
8. Alternative Device-Charging Options Emerge. The days of search & rescue missions for a power supply to charge a drained battery are quickly coming to an end. The Good News: wireless charging is coming full circle. And for those of you who are investors, keep an eye on a company called ChargeItSpot. I think they are on to something here.
9. Obamacare Implodes. Not going to belabor this point, because many of us could see this coming. As a result, expect a spate of State-based single-payer legislation to be proposed in 2016 to address this looming train wreck. In the end, a rational free market solution to the health care crisis will loom large.
10. Taking Privacy Into Our Own Hands. As our rights to privacy continue to get trounced at every turn, there will be increased interest in any and all technologies that protect it. The popularity of encrypted messaging apps like Telegraph and CyberDust and the stealth email platform Protonmail will raise the ire of central governments worldwide that are hell-bent on tapping into our private dealings.
11. Regulatory Battles Intensify. The Sharing Economy is Uber (no pun intended) hot. But look for protracted regulatory battles attacking this ride service, as well as the rental housing company Airbnb to heat up. In particular, the outcome of this W-2/Independent Contractor case could be a game changer.
12. Relationships Gone Poly. Expect to find more marriages on the fritz in 2016, with a resultant rise in divorces. And the trend will continue where fewer people under 30 are getting married. So what will ensue from all of this? My best guess is that rates of cohabitation will rise considerably as people struggle to make ends meet with their finances. No doubt, many will find this upcoming year an interesting one to be single or unattached!
13. Oil Prices Get Sticky. Consumers will continue to be delighted by low fuel prices. For oil industry workers, the scenario will not be rosy, with layoffs occurring en masse. For this reason, it’s not a good time to be in a State like oil industry dependent North Dakota. Last year, it was the fastest growing state – a distinction that will end quickly amid declining oil prices.
14. Gold Prices Will Skyrocket. I know, I know. You probably think that I was enticed by Anthem Vault to make this bold claim. Not true. Gold will soar in my estimation because of the unprecedented uncertainty ensuing from the first prediction I made in this article. Argue all you want, but gold is a tangible asset that has appeal worldwide – one that will remain solid throughout the course of uncertainty that we’ll see in spades this coming year.
OK, enough pontificating. Have a masterpiece of a New Year and Be Responsible…
Michael Scott is a Denver-based journalist whose primary work focuses on disruptive trends in the new digital economy. More on Michael can be found at BitDisrupt