Web Trends 2013

This is one of my infrequent exercises as a futurologist. What’s a 2013 trend that you expect to have a major impact in the way we use the Internet in our lives?

I am trying to look beyond the established 2011/2012 trends, such as SoLoMo and Gamification.

Three come to mind:

  • Crowdsourcing: over a decade after the Goldcorp challenge, it is entering its prime. Technology and engineering, product design, branding and creativity, repetitive tasks… more and more things can have a shot at crowdsourcing (although unequivocal success stories are still rare) . And, of course, crowdfunding is more and more of a reality. What do you expect next?
  • A bigger role for voice. We have seen a dramatic progression over the past three decades from keyboard to mouse/touchpad to touchscreen as an input mechanism; voice has often failed, but is now (in part thanks to Siri) gaining mass market acceptance. Voice will also be important for biometric authentication via our vocal footprint and become a security device. What else will we do with our voice?
  • The Makers’ movement. There has been no shortage of cover stories lately, and as always the hype will at some point backfire, but I am starting to think that, just like professional chef equipment is entering the mainstream domestic kitchen, 3D printers will quit being confined to labs and enter a lot of garages. The Economist this week speculates that design exchange sites may find themselves targeted by law enforcement against design piracy, in an eerie comeback of the DMCA battles of the past decade. When you get a 3D printer, what will be the first thing you make?

Below, two pics I snapped this past June at an event in Milan, courtesy of the WeFab collective.


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