The Wired World

The Wired World


From the creative minds behind WIRED, the recognised authority on the future, THE WIRED WORLD IN 2013 is a new annual trend report that covers a broad range of topics across eight sections; from science to arts, politics to medicine and culture to the environment. With over 100 articles by associates from the far reaches of the WIRED network, this is an invaluable guide to the year ahead for the knowledge-hungry.

United Kingdom
Conde Nast Publications Ltd
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in this issue

2 min.

DAVID BAKER “2020 looks like the year when technology will finally start taking ethics seriously,” says Baker, who edited The WIRED World in 2020. “The backlash against so much that Silicon Valley has produced – from Facebook’s vacillations on privacy to concerns that too much screentime is damaging people’s mental health – has at last started a debate about the role of digital technology in the wider context of society, government and more. Good science has always had an ethical code of conduct built into it. In 2020, technology is going to embrace that, too.” RACHEL BOTSMAN Deepfake videos are just the start of a culture of mistrust in 2020, says Botsman: “Exposed to constant misinformation, the next generation are in danger of a ‘reality apathy’ state of mind.” JOE WALDRON Illustrator Waldron used dark…

2 min.
2020: the year of positive change

THE WIRED TEAM SPEND THEIR WORKING DAYS thinking about what’s coming next – the trends, ideas, people and technologies that, when they’re not upending established convention, are creating whole new areas to explore. Whether we’re examining micro mobility in European cities, the impact of sovereign wealth funds on venture capital, windows coated with microalgae that can absorb pollution, city initiatives to return the economic value of data to citizens, the race for quantum supremacy, the Tel Aviv startup leading the way on cryptography, or how biodegradable sequins can impact the horrifyingly wasteful fashion industry, the team applies a fairly simple metric: is this something that will have significant impact in the coming years? Anyone aware of the Gartner hype cycle will know that emerging technologies travel from inflated expectations to a…

3 min.
we will need to teach children how to separate factual from fake

ONE EVENING EARLIER THIS YEAR, I WAS ASKED by my eight year-old son, Jack, what a deepfake was. He pointed at the iPad and told me he had heard someone talking about it over lunch at school. I explained that deepfakes are videos that use technology to make a person appear to say or do something that they didn’t say or do. He was not particularly fazed by this and went on to imagine things that he might get a fake President Trump to say. I found that alarming. In 2020, children will have to be taught new digital skills around trust. Being able to tell what’s real and what’s not has always been hard. We’ve become used to Photoshop and computer-generated imagery. National Geographic would manipulate an image of the…

3 min.
ai will go from rocket science to mainstream

IN THE PAST TWO OR THREE YEARS, ARTIFICIAL intelligence has never felt more like rocket science. The achievements of companies such as DeepMind have captivated our attention. We have been wowed by the impact of developments in fields such as computer vision, machine translation and speech recognition. In 2020, artificial intelligence will begin to live up to the hype by starting to generate real economic value through its application across all sorts of mainstream industries. According to the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, the widespread adoption of AI will add about $15.7 trillion (£12.8 trillion) to global gross domestic product by 2030. Most of that enhanced business value will come not from AI-focused companies, but from the infusion of artificial intelligence into traditional industries. It will be the early movers who embrace AI…

2 min.
2020 will usher in a new era of digital human rights

DATA-DRIVEN PERSONALISATION HAS BECOME central to our life online, powered by algorithms trained on unimaginable volumes of behavioural and self-disclosed data. But in 2020, we will finally open our eyes to the reality that personalisation does not actually serve our best interests. Rather, it serves the best interests of private companies, driven by advertising. Personalisation drives profit because it reduces digital advertising waste. The endgame of digital marketing is to build relationships through the real-time execution of campaigns tailored to the individual. On the surface, it is difficult to critique personalisation thanks to the strong association the word has with relevance. Who can argue that relevance does not add value? But the important question is who decides what is relevant. Personalisation disempowers us: the algorithm has control over our choices. We now…

3 min.
there will be five competing visions for the internet

THE INTERNET APPEARS TO BE A PERSISTENT medium for work, leisure, friendships, news and shopping. It might disappear when the router goes down, or be impossibly slow at a conference where everyone is on Wi-Fi, but these are glitches, not existential crises. Yet it is not a monolith, even a virtual one. It is a tangle of systems, protocols, standards, hardware and organisations, all of which have to be managed by different bodies. And underpinning it are individuals, organisations and bots uploading and downloading content, and creating the links that give it form. Somehow it offers the illusion of a monolith, but this might change in 2020, as internet governance will be at the centre of a number of debates. What values should the technology support? How should it deal with…