How important was modern technology in 2012? It transformed the way we fought terrorists. It changed just how presidential candidates won the election. Also, it definitely changed the presents we received under the Christmas tree. Technology continues to advance, becoming easier for consumers to grasp and more powerful every day. But exactly what does the future hold? Expect people to spend even more of their dollars on tech toys in 2013. Expect tablet computers to get even smaller and more powerful. And expect consumers to continue to replace their desktop computing with hours spent surfing the web, texting friends and watching video on their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. This is a peek at the top technology stories of the year as well as a look forward to what we think stands out as the biggest tech trends of 2013.
Obama’s grip on election tech
Technology showed off during the 2012 presidential election and Pres. Barack Obama benefitted as a result. Counting on a high-tech get-out-the-vote tech project, dubbed Narwhal, Obama managed to target his campaign to those voters whom he most needed. Narwhal also excelled at getting in touch with Obama’s core voters, a voting base that lots of pundits doubted would rush to the polls in high-enough numbers to steer Obama to victory. The pundits, famously, were wrong. Obama won in an Electoral College romp, thanks to strong turnouts among young and minority voters, those voters that campaign staffers frequently contacted with the Narwhal program. Romney boasted their own high-tech voter-contact system, Project Orca. Orca, though, famously broke. The system even crashed on election day. The achievements of Narwhal, as well as the failure of Orca, isn’t the reason why Obama was elected to a second term. But Obama’s mastery of technology certainly didn’t hurt his efforts.
The United States’ growing dependence on unmanned Predator drones to battle terrorists become an important, and controversial, tech story in 2012. Drones made headlines in 2012 because they continually killed terrorist targets. Supporters say that the drones allow the government to focus on dangerous terrorists without putting soldiers in harm’s way. Critics say that the drones all too often claim civilian lives along with those of terrorists. Other critics wonder whether the government may use drones to spy on its own citizens. What’s not being debated? That unmanned drones are not going away.
The coming year
What tech developments should you expect in 2013? First, expect people to invest even more money on their technology. Tablets, smartphones and notebook computers remained hot gifts during the holiday season. There’s no reason to think this will change. Expect, too, for consumers to continue to depart from desktop computing. Today’s consumers prefer computing on the go, depending upon their tablets and smartphones to surf the Internet, read e-mail messages, watch movies and enjoy their favorite songs. This is a trend that is only growing more powerful. Finally, expect technology to continue to propagate around the world in 2013, establishing itself in many emerging countries. This, mind you, can only be considered a positive thing. Technology improves communities. Putting powerful technology within reach of consumers in emerging countries can only be considered a positive.