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Predictions for 2024

Earlier this week when I sat down to write my “Reflecting on 2023” blog post, I realized just how unspecific I was with my predictions for 2023 - so I decided to change things up this year 😊 Instead of writing vague commentary about what I think will happen in 2024, I’ve written forty specific predictions (5 for each category) with 🔳 check boxes to make it easier to tally-up at the end of the year.

This year I’ve also added a subsection for each category with resources that are informing my predictions. This subsection is intended to provide you with more insights and connections for how the predictions fit together, including a few (and sometimes several) links to news articles, blog posts, and other content that led to this year’s predictions.

With that - thank you once again for stopping by to read my random musings 😄

And as with last year’s predictions post, a word of warning: I tend to focus on negative trends when it comes to history and world events, so I think you’ll find my predictions largely err in that direction. Likewise, as an American you’ll find my predictions are heavily influenced by philosophically Western views. If you’re looking for cupcakes and unicorns in my predictions for 2024 - you’ll probably be disappointed, and should maybe skip to the section on Hope 😅 For those not easily disheartened, read on at risk of gazing into the abyss.

Midjourney: a hooded woman wearing all black, riding a bright white horse, with a futuristic city skyline behind her, symbolizing death, in the style of japanese anime


Artificial Intelligence

🔳 OpenAI announces the release of GPT-5

🔳 Major technology companies replace over 1000 workers with AI

🔳 At-least one deepfake political advertisement is publicly aired during the United States elections

🔳 OpenAI loses at-least one copyright infringement court battle (and then appeals to a higher court)

🔳 An Open Source Large Language Model (LLM) achieves GPT-4 levels of performance

What’s inspiring these predictions: The rapid pace of developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the last year have been astounding. In little more than a year we went from having ChatGPT running on GPT-3.5 to GPT-4, and then both Google and Meta announced significant improvements to their own models. Given the insane series of events related to Sam Altman’s position at OpenAI, I suspect they also have something cooking that we’ll see an announcement about next year.

Likewise, given how powerful AI is becoming, we’re already seeing companies like Google supposedly replace workers with these new technologies. It isn’t too far-fetched to think that other companies will follow suit if interest rates remain high. It’ll also be interesting to watch how copyright infringement lawsuits play out in 2024 after seeing how frequently AI art generators seem to reproduce copyrighted works.

Climate Change

🔳 India experiences at-least one day where the heat index reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit

🔳 The continental United States experiences at-least one day where the heat index reaches 130 degrees Fahrenheit

🔳 At-least one Category 5 hurricane strikes the continental United States

🔳 The Panama Canal is closed due to a lack of rain for at-least 5 days

🔳 The average price of coffee will exceed $7 per pound

Why I’m making these predictions: As Brazil recently experienced a heat index over 137 degrees Fahrenheit before their Summer season even started, I think that it’s very likely we’ll see similar heat waves crash over both India and the continental United States in 2024. The highest heat index in the U.S. in 2023 reached 125 degrees Fahrenheit, and with global warming showing no signs of slowing down - 2024 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record.

Likewise, with the immense heat being absorbed by the world’s oceans, it’s only a matter of time before we see significant weather pattern changes with devastating impacts to human life and property. In 2023 we saw a world-first occurrence where every tropical ocean saw a Category 5 hurricane, and the Panama Canal has become so dry due to a lack of rain that companies are paying millions of dollars to get through. These warmer temperatures are also reducing coffee yields, which in turn drives the cost even higher.

COVID-19

🔳 At-least 25% of Americans will be disabled from COVID-19 (i.e. Long COVID)

🔳 The U.S. Government passes proposed changes to reduce the number of people with disabilities found in the census

🔳 COVID-19 evolves to completely escape the immune system response

🔳 China reinstates universal mask mandates to slow the spread of COVID

🔳 Governments start to recognize the financial loss COVID is having on the economy and reinstate safety regulations

What’s leading to these predictions: In 2023 we learned that at-least 14% of Americans have Long COVID, and since both the U.S. Government and the general populace insist that it’s no worse than the seasonal flu (it’s actually 50% more fatal than influenza) there seem to be very few people getting immunized - let alone taking precautions (like wearing a mask). And although it’s still open for public comment, it is becoming abundantly clear that the U.S. Government does not want to recognize the growing train wreck they’ve created by letting COVID-19 run rampant throughout the country.

And since COVID-19 already significantly damages the immune system, I suspect more governments will be driven to implement universal mask mandates as the virus continues to evolve. Thankfully some countries are waking up to the fact that growing rates of Long COVID are significantly impacting their economies, which may spark new life into safety regulations for both medical settings and public transit.

Global Conflict

🔳 At-least one act of domestic terrorism occurs at a political event and/or polling place during the United States elections which makes global headlines

🔳 Ukraine retakes Crimea through the use of American arms and munitions

🔳 Iran and Syria go to war with Israel over the massacre of Palestinian civilians

🔳 China invades Taiwan

🔳 Ukraine fights to a stalemate with Russia in the Donbas and Luhansk regions

What’s driving these predictions: As unsettling as it is, more Americans say they support political violence as we head into the 2024 election season. As a result of political turmoil boiling over in the United States, state ators will take advantage of the ensuing chaos to settle old scores. We know that President Xi Jinping has already stated his intentions to take over Taiwan, and coordinated actions (by way of Russia) with Iranian and Syrian forces striking Israel could be the opening that China needs.

Unfortunately, I believe that global conflicts will further distract from the war in Ukraine - which will further hinder Ukraine’s ability to reclaim the Luhansk and Donbas regions. I am personally very hopeful that Ukraine will retake Crimea in 2024, which I believe will have significant implications for Russia’s will to continue the fight.

Global Economics

🔳 Mounting commercial real estate losses lead to significant cuts in Federal interest rates

🔳 Businesses force staff back to the office at-least four days a week

🔳 The United States Government fully eliminates remote work as an option for federal employees

🔳 Ozempic and other $NAME drugs become severely restricted due to their financial impacts on major retailers

🔳 Core inflation remains above 2.75% in the United States

What’s leading to these predictions: Empty office buildings are allegedly threatening the economy, and it’s leaving big banks holding the $1.5 Trillion dollar bag (won’t someone think of the shareholders? 🙄). Because of this President Biden is already forcing federal employees back to the office more frequently - even though they’re probably spending a majority of their time on virtual meetings with people in other offices… Anyway - I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

Aside from commercial real estate woes and CEO’s wanting to reinstate feudalism, the impacts to capitalism that GLP-1 drugs (such as Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro) are having is clearly alarming investors. Lord knows we can’t be scaring the rich by treating people for the negative effects consumer capitalism has had on their lives 🙄 and to make up for these losses, I suspect corporations will continue the price gouging behaviors we saw in 2023 - which will sustain inflation above 2.75% next year.

Information Security

🔳 A Top 10 technology company experiences a major security incident attributed to non-state actors

🔳 A Form 8-K breach notification filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) leads to a 10% drop in a publicly listed company’s stock value

🔳 At-least one CISO will face charges of fraud from the SEC due to a security incident

🔳 A United States utility company is hit with ransomware with service to customers is impacted

🔳 A major Israeli security company experiences an impactful security incident attributed to a state actor

What’s inspiring these predictions: 2023 was rife with security incidents, and I suspect we’re going to start learning about a whole lot more of them now that the SEC requires form 8-K to be filed within four business days of a security breach. With how big of a target the MANGA+ companies are, it’s entirely possible that we could see the first two predictions occur simultaneously.

Beyond that, I believe the SEC is just getting warmed-up when it comes to going after corporate leaders for failure to properly attest to the state of their cyber security practices. Moreover, given how frequently utility companies seem to be in the news for security incidents - it’s entirely possible that one such publicly traded company’s CISO could find themselves in the hot seat after a widely reported customer-impacting incident.

Finally, in conjunction with my Global Conflit predictions, I suspect at-least one of the major Israeli cyber security companies will be successfully targeted by state actors looking to incur financial damage - or to further compromise the Israeli security company’s customers.

Technology

🔳 Twitter is sold at a significant loss to new ownership

🔳 Amazon replaces at-least 25% of their warehouse workforce with robots

🔳 Portable nuclear reactors start being mass-produced

🔳 A lucid dreaming device becomes commercially available for use

🔳 Non-screen based connected devices (think Humane’s AI pin) will totally flop

What’s generating these predictions: Twitter is flailing after a year under Elon Musk’s leadership, and the outbursts have only become more erratic as the year progressed. At this point I can’t see it ending any other way than a write-off sale to a new owner. Sadly I don’t think it’ll ever return to being what it was now that it’s turned into a virtual incel nazi bar 🤷

Moving on - now that Amazon has started testing humanoid robots in warehouses I fully expect them to ramp-up their use in 2024. If I had to guess, they’ll probably start with the unionized locations. If they can somehow manage to pair it these robots with portable nuclear reactors for power generation, then they just might blow past the 25% prediction.

As for Amazon’s non-warehouse workers (and probably Wayfair’s workers, too) the new year brings the prospect of being made to write code while you sleep through lucid dreaming. Personally I was hoping for something a little less dystopian that would allow me to experience an Isekai anime lifestyle. Speaking of gadgets - I’m totally expecting the Humane AI pin to flop. Way too much content is oriented around screens, and the world feels like it’s becoming far too dystopian to make people want to stop and look around.

Hope

🔳 A universal COVID-19 vaccine that prevents infection is discovered

🔳 Masks (once again) become universally required in medical settings in the United States

🔳 Donald J. Trump is prevented from running for office due to criminal conviction(s)

🔳 Russian aggression in Ukraine come to an end after Vladamir Putin suffers a life-threatening illness

🔳 The United States produces more than 47% of its energy from zero-carbon sources

Why I’m still hopeful: Honestly I don’t have much to go on here other than the fact that these are things which I continue to hold-out hope for. Preventing infection continues to be the only means by which one can avoid the risks of Long COVID, and it would be really great to see a universal vaccine produced that the virus can’t out-evolve. In the mean time, five states have returned to mask mandates in hospital settings - now we just need more states (and countries) to do the same!

On an entirely separate note, I think the world could find itself in a much more peaceful state if the United States elections aren’t as volatile as they’re shaping up to be. A new Republican candidate for president on the ticket would certainly help us take a few steps back from falling over the precipice of Authoritarianism. Who knows, it might even cause Vladimir Putin to get so mad he comes down with a life-threatening illness - maybe even a fatal encounter with gravity!

Finally, we all know that climate change is rapidly accelerating - it would be pretty amazing if we could make meaningful progress toward adopting zero-carbon sources for energy with haste.


Thank you once again for stopping by 😊 While taking some time to rest and prepare for what’s in store for next year, you can git checkout other (usually off-topic) content I’m reading over at Instapaper - or review my series on the DevSecOps Essentials which (sadly) continues to be relevant guidance for many companies. Here’s hoping we turn things around in 2024!

And until next time, remember to git commit && stay classy!

Cheers,

Keith // securingdev


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