Top ten in tech for 2017

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Photo courtesy of Rocket Lab

Not long now until the New Year, just enough time to squeak in a top ten in the world of technology for 2017. Here goes, in no particular order…

  1. Bitcoin – the rise and rise and fall and rise and fall (depending on the day) of this virtual currency, and the potential of the underlying technology blockchain.
  2. The treatment of women in tech was brought into the spotlight when former employee Susan Fowler wrote about sexual harassment at Uber – and her blog post was arguably the most explosive in a chain events that led to the departure of its founder CEO Travis Kalanick and a more general discussion about diversity in tech.
  3. Net neutrality – will moves in the US to weaken net neutrality laws have a chilling effect in NZ? InternetNZ pledges to be vigilant.
  4. Regulation – questions are increasingly being asked about whether the internet and its huge economic power is now in the hands of the few, not the many, a point highlighted when Jeff Bezos became the world’s richest man.
  5. Microcredentials – over 100 New Zealand businesses advocated for a new approach to education in an open letter pledging a more flexible approach to education.
  6. SkyTV and Vodafone – the Commerce Commission said No to the merger, but the companies aligned on content through a new offering and it looks like Vodafone is planning to float its NZ company next year. There is lots of consolidation in the telecommunications market to come, including the sale of Vocus.
  7. Rural Connectivity is expanded, with more New Zealanders to get faster speeds and the three mobile players forming the country’s newest telco, the Rural Connectivity Group.
  8. Labour/NZ First government is formed and Clare Curran is appointed Minster of Communications and Broadcast. The recruitment for a Chief Technology Officer has begun and the focus of the digital divide shifts as concerns about access become more about economic disadvantage than geographical isolation.
  9. The fear and optimism around Artificial Intelligence – will we be answering to robots in a decade? Or will humanity find a way to reign in one of its greatest inventions? Opinion is divided.
  10. RocketLab – it had targeted another launch in December, but it was unsuccessful and it is now focussed on early 2018. Fingers crossed for this exciting Kiwi company that is space-bound!

To hear a discussion of this Top Ten in Tech for 2014, check out the Nine to Noon segment “New Technology with Sarah Putt” on Radio New Zealand earlier this month here.  

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