Robo-laywers, "deepfake" incidents, superbugs & city brains. Some predictions for 2019, from Nesta & others

One of the highlights of 2018 for A/UK was our hosting of sessions at Nesta’s FutureFest event. So we’re delighted to highlight this year’s “Predictions for 2019” from the Nesta staff. It’s a partly playful, partly serious exercise, and informed by one of the ‘laws of futures’, namely that ”any useful idea about the future should appear to be ridiculous.”

Like Nesta, we believe that communities and localities have the right to engage in huge debates about technology and science - and that the most exciting and powerful of these should be put into their hands. So sample their examples below, and see what you’d like to try:

  1. Your gut microbiome could hold clues to treating health conditions

  2. Machines could both handle your divorce

  3. ….and competently assess your child’s academic performance

  4. China will build AI-enabled ‘city brains’ capable of managing entire urban systems

  5. It will become routine for us to demand the right to know when we’re talking to machines 

  6. We’ll have to face the reality of those living with chronic infections caused by antibiotic-resistant superbugs

  7. if we funded innovation more randomly, could it actually be more effective?

  8. A “deepfake” - a digitally perfect simulation of a person, animated and vocal - will spark a very real geopolitical incident

  9. Technologies such as eye-gaze control, AI and sensors pave the way for more intelligent mobility solutions for the differently abled

  10. We’ll begin to see the end of the working week as we know it

More context from Nesta’s head of Explorations, Celia Hannon.

And perhaps interesting to look at other, comparable 2019 predictions. Take Wired magazine’s Eight Trends That Will Shape the World in 2019, or Quantum Run’s list of scheduled innovations, or the Economist’s World in 2019.