Tech watch: What happened in 2012, what will happen next year

How important was modern technology this year? It transformed the way we fought terrorists. It changed just how presidential candidates won election. And it definitely changed the gifts we received underneath the Christmas tree. Technology is constantly on the advance, becoming easier for consumers to grasp and more powerful daily. But exactly what does the future hold? Expect people to spend a lot more of their cash on tech toys in 2013. Expect tablet computers to become even smaller and a lot more powerful. And expect people to continue to replace their desktop computing with time spent surfing the Internet, texting friends and watching video with their smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices. Here is a quick look at the top technology stories of the year along with a look forward to what we think could be the biggest tech trends of 2013.

Obama’s grip on election tech

The 2012 presidential election was meant to be a nail biter. Ultimately it was not. Pres. Obama won reelection with over 300 Electoral College votes, turning away a late challenge by opponent Mitt Romney. A part of the credit has to go to Obama’s superior polling technology, called Narwhal. Obama knew exactly which voters he had to attract. And he aimed at those voters with laser-like precision during the election campaign. Romney’s vaunted Project Orca, meant to function as a massive get-out-the-vote machine for Romney, wound up as an epic failure. Orca even crashed during election day, dealing a significant setback to a campaign that was already struggling. Technology also changed the way newspapers and Internet websites reported on the election. Throughout the 2012 campaign, candidates were fact-checked very quickly during debates and campaign speeches by reporters and fact-checkers using Twitter. It’s safe to say that neither candidates nor reporters will ever view election campaigns in the same way.

Drones

The rise of unmanned drones became one of the most heated tech stories of 2012. The federal government captured the eye of reporters with its successful Predator drone strikes against some of the most-wanted terrorists across the globe. Some hailed drones as being the new frontier in warfare. After all, the tech behind these drones permits the government to target dangerous terrorists without putting the lives of soldiers at risk. Critics, though, point out that the drones aren’t perfect, and that their mistakes are often deadly. Many times, they assert, the drones killed civilians in addition to their terrorist targets. Other critics say that there is little to prevent the federal government from using unmanned drones to spy on the United States’ own citizens. Inspite of the controversy, there is little doubt that the usage of unmanned drones will continue to rise in 2013 and beyond.

The coming year

What tech developments should you expect in 2013? First, expect consumers to invest more cash on their technology. Tablets, smart phones and laptops remained hot gifts throughout the holiday season. There’s no reason to believe this will change. Expect, too, for consumers to will begin to get out of desktop computing. Today’s consumers prefer computing on the move, depending upon their tablets and smartphones to surf the web, read e-mail messages, watch movies and listen to their favorite songs. This is a trend that’s only growing more powerful. Finally, expect technology to continue to spread across the globe in 2013, taking hold in lots of emerging countries. This, by the way, can only be a good thing. Technology improves cultures. Putting powerful technology in the hands of consumers in emerging countries can only be considered a positive.


Posted on: 01.02.13