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AlexaSTOP! predictions for 2020

We may be approaching Feb but I’d like to take a moment to catch up on AlexaSTOP! Which means a quick wrap up of their special Christmas episode where Rob and Jim kick back in Jim’s flat in Hackney to reflect on 2019 and make predictions for 2020.

From dad-tech to rockets, bendy screens to Greta Thunberg, Rob and Jim round up 2019 by interviewing each other (yes no guest!) and discussing their 2020 dream podcast guestlist.

 

Will Twitter be taking a back seat?

In December, Twitter’s founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the platform could be going back to basics. It has commissioned a small team to develop an open, decentralised standard that would mean the platform operates more like email. Email runs on SMPT, (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), which allows anyone to build email programmes that work with each other, without needing to be built from the same central system.

Dorsey says he’d like the team to find an existing decentralised standard, or create a new one. The ultimate goal, he says, is for Twitter to be a client of this standard.

Social platforms have become closed ecosystems. But being in control of everything means you’re responsible for everything, including moderation. Twitter’s move, experts suggest, could be a sign of a growing recognition of this responsibility.

Rob and Jim call the move ‘progressive,’ and predict it could signal the beginning of an exciting trend.

 

The irony of Amazon not planting enough trees

Last year, Manifesto realised the internet actually plays a big part in the climate and ecological emergency, and it will become more important than ever in 2020 to have conversations around the environment. The pressure is on, Rob and Jim say, for businesses in the tech industry, to show they care.

Part of this is carbon offsetting, which is becoming a bigger part of the conversation. Consumers are looking to companies to show they’re dedicated to working towards being carbon neutral – and there’s no excuse to not be. According to the Centre for Alternative Technology, the UK already has the technological capabilities to become completely carbon neutral.

In 2019, Amazon finally disclosed its carbon footprint, and announced a goal of reaching net zero carbon for half its deliveries by 2030. But all eyes will be on Amazon to catch up to Google, which has been carbon neutral since 2007, and Microsoft, whose operations have been carbon neutral since 2012.

Although it’s fair to say that companies walk a fine line between making genuine efforts to become greener, and plain old greenwashing.

 

Tech for positive change

Over the last year, technology has become a bigger threat to democracy and society. Officials are concerned about foreign efforts to disrupt the 2020 US election – hacking, fake news – and are facing the real possibility that outside influence on social media could alter votes.

There’s a growing realisation of the damage tech is having on younger regenerations, too, in terms of exposure to pornography and online bullying – with numerous studies suggesting the internet is damaging their mental health.

We’ve seen over the last year many ways in which social platforms can be used to drive us apart, but in 2020, Jim and Rob hope we’ll wake up to the effect these platforms are having on democracy, and society generally, and use technology to make even more positive changes in 2020.

 

You can catch up with AlexaSTOP! on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. It’s a great way to keep up to date with the latest technology trends – accessible and entertaining!

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