How important was modern technology this year? It changed the way we fought terrorists. It changed the way presidential candidates won election. Also it definitely changed the gifts we received underneath the Christmas tree. Technology continues to advance, becoming easier for people to grasp and a lot more powerful on a daily basis. But exactly what does the future hold? Expect consumers to spend a lot more of their cash on tech toys in 2013. Expect tablet computers to get even smaller and much more powerful. And expect consumers to continue to replace their desktop computing with hours spent surfing the web, texting friends and watching video with their smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices. This is a quick look at the top technology stories of the year as well as a look ahead to what we think stands out as the biggest tech trends of 2013.
Obama’s grip on election tech
The 2012 presidential election was meant to be a nail biter. In the end it was not. Pres. Obama won reelection with more than 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 which voters he had to win over. And he centered on those voters with laser-like precision throughout the election campaign. Romney’s vaunted Project Orca, designed to work as a massive get-out-the-vote machine for Romney, ended up as an epic failure. Orca even broke down during election day, dealing a significant setback to a campaign which was already struggling. Technology also changed how newspapers and Web sites reported on the election. During the 2012 campaign, candidates were fact-checked almost instantly during debates and campaign speeches by reporters and fact-checkers using Twitter. It’s safe to say that neither candidates nor reporters will view election campaigns in the same way.
The rise of unmanned drones became one of the most heated tech stories of 2012. The federal government captured the interest of reporters with its successful Predator drone strikes against some of the most-wanted terrorists throughout the world. Some hailed drones as being the new frontier in warfare. In any case, the tech behind these drones permits the government to concentrate on dangerous terrorists without putting the lives of soldiers in danger. Critics, though, point out the drones aren’t perfect, and also their mistakes are often deadly. Many times, they claim, the drones killed civilians in addition to their terrorist targets. Other critics say that there is little to stop the federal government from utilizing unmanned drones to spy on the United States’ own citizens. Inspite of the controversy, there is little doubt that the utilization of unmanned drones will continue to rise in 2013 and beyond.
The coming year
What can consumers anticipate seeing tech-wise in the coming year? More. That’s more consumers embracing mobile computing, switching off their desktop PCs and surfing the Web, sending e-mail messages, texting, reading books, watching movies and enjoying music on tablets and powerful smart phones. More also means that consumers will continue to open their wallets for the latest technology. Tablets and smart phones were sizzling sellers through the recently concluded christmas shopping season. Count on seeing even more of these mobile devices under Christmas trees next year. And finally, more means that technology will spread to a growing group of emerging countries. Expect developing countries to flock to social media, laptops and mobile devices as these technologies gradually become open to them. People like technology, wherever they live.