I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that 2017 was an interesting year. I’m not talking about politics either. I’m specifically talking about technology. In this post, I want to explore some of the biggest tech stories of the year. I have tried to be exclusive on this list where we talk about technology (with one exception). But in the case of that exception, it’s technology that is actually helping this cause. Technology has a huge impact on our lives. It changes the way that we do things. It allows us to interact with friends and family. It lets us meet new people. In general, technology is positive, and that is what we want to focus on in this post.
2017 was an incredible year when it came to product launches. For the most part, these were all positive. At least in terms of the products themselves. To start, Tesla launched the Model 3, but with that one deliveries are behind schedule. (See? This is what I mean when I said with the products themselves.) . Samsung gave us two phones. When these were released towards the beginning of the year, these phones looked pretty incredible. They still are, but the iPhone X stole the show when it came out towards the end of the year. The iPhone X is kind of controversial because Apple took the Home Button away. But that hasn’t stopped consumers from buying one. Lastly, when it comes product launches for the year, both Amazon and Google upped their game. There are so many more options for you now when it comes to home assistant devices.
Amazon deserves their own spot on this list for several reasons. To start, Amazon acquired Whole Foods for an incredible $14 billion price tag. This acquisition was particularly interesting because Amazon hasn’t been successful in getting into the grocery market yet. For some, this signaled the waving of a white flag for Jeff Bezos and Amazon. But knowing Bezos, he likely has a plan to transform this industry.
But that’s not it. As I mentioned earlier, Amazon gave us a ton more of their Alexa-powered devices. Not to mention, they have been pumping out the promotional material around these devices, which includes commercials. They struck a deal with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football.
But let’s not forget HQ2. Amazon made a very public and brilliant move to get cities across North America to bid on the second Amazon headquarters.With it comes an Amazon vow to bless their city with up to 50,000 well-paying jobs in exchange for financial incentives the likes of which few corporations will ever see. Last, and certainly not least, Bezos reached the $100 billion mark in terms of his personal net worth. Making this an incredible year for Amazon.
IPOs themselves aren’t tech related, but there were several tech companies to go public this year, including Blue Apron, Snap, Roku and Stitch Fix. I’d also like to point out that the CEO of Stitch Fix is a woman, which is a big deal in the world of female entrepreneurs. Why? Lots of reasons, but she has built nearly $1 billion in revenue in less than 6 years. Which is kind of incredible. I hate saying that because it makes it sound like it’s incredible because she’s a woman, but the figure itself is incredible as are her accomplishments.
Net Neutrality Repeal
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had a happy holiday season. He successfully implemented a repeal to net neutrality, much to the chagrin of most Americans. But the idea of net neutrality (or treating all web traffic in the same way) isn’t completely dead. As we’ve reported on Saintel Daily, lawsuits are coming. While this repeal isn’t exactly good news, I think it’s going to help sort out the question of who “owns” the internet. Can it be owned? Is it a business? And should it be free? You’re paying for service to access the internet, but then should you also pay for the sites you’re visiting as well? These are questions that I don’t necessarily have answers to. Not from a lack of interest, but because I’m not a lawyer. I am, however, looking forward to how this will play out in 2018.
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency became mainstream in 2017. The fact that the money isn’t in the hands of the banks, and that it’s not regulated by governments make it extremely appealing to a lot of people. The price of Bitcoin started at less than $1,000 at the beginning of the year and is now over $14,000. What will happen to Bitcoin is a big question for 2018. Not only that, but how stable is this? There are a lot of people making assumptions that the value will only increase, but I am skeptical about it.
Last, but certainly not least is the #MeToo movement. This is one that is not completely technology related, but technology is certainly pushing this forward. Social media gets a bad rap from time to time. Especially lately (which I will talk about in another post). And while what has happened to sexual harassment/assault victims isn’t anything positive, I think that social media is really helping to get the message out that it isn’t ok. Not only that, but it’s bringing victims together to let them know that they’re not alone. There is a community of support out there of both victims and non-victims who are showing support for the people who have had these experiences. Without technology, we wouldn’t know about these issues. Without technology, people would live with the fact that it happened and may not necessarily share their stories with others. Which is why #MeToo made the list.