The Anti-Trends for 2016

Every year many reputable companies, agencies and institutions share their vision for the year to come. As we saw Internet getting full of well thought-out, perfectly written predictions and trends for 2016, we breathed a sight of relief: humanity knows what awaits them this year.

So we undertook a different mission and prepared a list of things that are not going to happen in 2016.

Pedro Santos, UX/UI designer

2016 will not see people become better informed or educated. It will not be the year when humans understand it’s not the planet they need to save, but themselves. No one will get to the end of the year knowing what to do with the piles of data they’re compiling on themselves everyday with phones and smartwatches. It will not be the year of 3D printer at home or when people feel the need for a computer in their toaster, yet. It won’t see a significant change in how we listen to music or watch movies, and it will definitely not be the year for beards, glasses and neck tattoos, come on dude, that’s over.

Finally, if I had to guess, I’d say that in 2016, global financial stability will not be trendy at all or, in other words, hold on to your valuables, folks… it’s going to get rocky.

Rogerio Rocha, code Ninja

  • Although people use their mobile phones more and more for accessing online services and apps in favor of the traditional voice call and texting, this will not be the year where we will get mobile Internet flat-rate. Operators are aware of this and they will try to milk their current plans as long as they can (unlimited text & voice + Internet fee). Maybe next year we will start to see the shift to monthly plans with unlimited data + extra fee for text and voice.
  • Two decades ago, phones were huge due to technical limitations. The trend was to minify everything. Then the smartphone revolution came and screen sizes started to grow (along with phone bodies). 2014 became the year when the phablet got widely accepted and the 5" screens became the ‘minis’. This year will not mark the end of the phablet trend although the market is now starting to move again. With the rumoured launch of a 4" screen iPhone this year (and depending on the success of this device), other vendors might follow Apple and start producing high-end devices with a smaller footprint.
Image courtesy 9gag.com

Kwame Ferreira, UI/UX designer and CEO

  • The grand unification of values is still taking its time. Gay people are increasingly accepted across territories around the planet. Racism is starting to be globally frowned upon… Gender equality is making some progress… All issues with a global agenda, inevitably driving toward a unification of values. But the grand unification won’t happen this side of Christmas.
  • Planetary taxation won’t happen. Businesses that take resources from the planet should be heavily taxed, businesses that put back or work on ways to perpetuate products should get a tax break.
  • We won’t live forever. Even if we are driving closer to creating a conscious analog of ourselves, the moment of transferred consciousness is still far away. However, the creation of mind files (files that have sufficient detailed data about a person) is making progress. We are still lagging on the mind ware…
  • Blockchain tech will continue to be as useful to end users as fried grasshopper soup. Slowly, blockchain technology will start to add value to SMEs. Connecting accounting, worker’s performance, skills, P&L… into smart contracts and a more distributed way to operate. Exciting, but all way too slow to materialise in 2016.
2008 Summer Olympics. Olympic Opening Ceremony celebrates ‘One World, One Dream’

Pedro Cardoso, UX/UI designer

We won’t have affordable electric cars with a considerable autonomy in 2016. Despite the amazing advances in batteries, efficiency and materials it will take us a while longer to change to electric cars. The fossil fuel lobby is still too strong for the technology to be able to roll out faster.

Only new independent companies like Tesla are leading and pushing forward to make this happen using 100% electric motion. I believe, they’re making it in the right way. Reinventing the car experience, designing cars from scratch and, in parallel, pushing the boundaries of batteries and targeting other markets, so the massiveness of batteries production can lower the one thing that still makes electric cars expensive: good long-lasting batteries.

Filipe Gonçalves, software developer

2016 will NOT:

  • bring unity and consistency to the web -we’re still getting to the peak of inflated expectations.
  • be the year of the Linux desktop — it just never is.
2008 Summer Olympics. Olympic Opening Ceremony celebrates ‘One World, One Dream’

Victoria Ivanova, Marketing and Communications

PR function, as we know it, won’t survive through 2016.

As I was crystallising this anti-prediction in my head, I couldn’t help comparing it to the “disappearing apps as we know them” trend. Just as apps are going through the transformation from being an independent destination to becoming a part of overall user experience, PR loses its vertical and permeates all functions in the company.

How should PR function transform in these circumstances? I believe, no matter what we work on — a company, a product or a personality — authenticity is becoming the only key to survival. In the epoch of public journalism, blogging, online streaming, sharing, and fall of privacy (again, as we know it), PR function shifts from image crafting to leading behavioural changes inside of a company or team.

We, who work in PR and Communications, should learn a lot. Learn to embrace the changes without fear, learn to be flexible, and learn to learn quickly. Communications are doomed to a constant change, and this will not change (no pun intended) in 2016.

Jee Park, UI/UX designer

A.I. Machines are already great at processing data and analysing it to some meaningful information. However the vision of A.I. that understands human minds and develops into a ‘sentient being’ will not happen yet in 2016. We continue that journey…but what are our true needs and desires to create a ‘sentient being’?

Information Privacy. Services across multiple industries are encouraging, endorsing and demanding us to share information. Some for good (e.g. health data for Apple Health Kit or trade your health data for insurance discount) and some not so good or even unknown (e.g. the news of UK’s security services are accessing medical records and many others but will not disclose specifically what). In the past few years we saw the rise of personal data brokerage, and I believe that in 2016 we will see the trend of “Health will be the new wealth”. However, the more we share (or give involuntarily), the more concerns will be raised over personal security. On one level, one must wonder how the economy of ‘data market’ really works in capitalism, while on another level, when we are being asked to put the national security over a personal security, not everyone will see ‘sharing as caring’.

Alternative credit scoring. My personal prediction/ hope for 2015 was that microfinance operators, telco and other forward looking banks would empower and enable alternative credit scoring for unbanked and underbanked people in the world. Kwamecorp has event pitched these ideas to major banks. The answer always was ‘blocked by regulations’. With the rise of companies such as ’Safaricom’ (M-Shawari) or US-based startups such as InVenture and HappyMango, I wonder if 2016 will be the year where we see the take up of alternative credit scoring with major financial institutes. I am doubtful — while regulators that still operate in papers move slowly and cautiously, unless we find a significant benefit to overcome the risk for them.

2008 Summer Olympics. Olympic Opening Ceremony celebrates ‘One World, One Dream’

Guillermo Landín, Head of Products

  • Smartphone OEMs are not going to surprise us

With smartphones being at the center of the mobile revolution and some truly amazing advances in tech, you would expect these little devices that we fiddle with for hours every day to undergo some significant changes. However, apart from all the different screen sizes and ever-increasing specs, they still all look pretty much like the original iPhone from 2007. At some point we decided that a rectangular touchscreen with rounded corners and volume buttons on the side was the end of the line for smartphones. I miss the feature phone days when OEMs dared to create truly unique devices.

  • Apps as we know them are not going to end

Everyone gets excited with new technology. IoT, AI, APIs, NoUI, voice UI, conversational UI, bots, all suggest that our current app paradigm as a siloed interface is coming to an end. Though it’s great to see other interaction models arising and expanding our possibilities as experience designers, the use case for independent apps will be around for a long time.

Kim Hansen, software developer and CTO

  • more and more people won’t live the 40-hour, Monday-to-Friday work life anymore. We will get more freedom as we are moving towards a freelance culture.
  • some taxi companies won’t make it till next year. Uber is spreading causing traditional taxi companies to go bankrupt…

OK, I can’t do this anti-trends thing anymore. Here is what’s going to happen, hope no one will notice:

  • we will see the first banks starting to have problems. The fintech revolution is coming.
  • we will start to have health tracking in our pocket.
  • we will see the first signs of a biotech revolution (cloning of animals, custom made babies, etc.)
  • there will be growth in drones and the first use cases (delivery)
  • we will start to feel more AI and autonomous services.

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