AI’s move to center stage was one of the most notable things of 2017. 2018 will see it engulf our personal and professional lives. This is reflected in the rise of the US Faamgs (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google: worth $3 trillion between them and up 63% this year) and the Chinese Bats (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent: worth $900 billion and up 80%). They epitomize a world of capitalism without capital, in which intangible assets create the most value. Unlike a piece of land or a factory, the value of intangible assets is hard to measure for it lies purely in ‘expectations’. This makes them prone to asset bubbles.
The strong backlash that has been brewing against the large tech companies like those cited above will gain strength in 2018, emphasizing the symmetrical need of leading a “well” life. The Monthly Barometer predicts that, following former Facebook employees Sean Parker and Chamath Palihapitiya, who denounced the addictive and toxic properties of social media, more tech workers will speak out, encouraging an increasing number of people to fight digital addiction. Concerns about the negative impact of tech on mental health will come to the fore. Although not becoming out and out technophobes, an increasing number of people will begin to acknowledge that technology often (contrary to the previously widely held perception) has a negative impact on our efficiency while also making us unwell.