Looking Back on 2018

Around this time last year, I wrote up 10 predictions for what 2018 would hold. The time has come to look back and evaluate them. The predictions are reproduced below, along with some commentary.

  1. Donald Trump will still be president at the end of 2018 (confidence level: 8/10)
    • Status: True
    • Notes: He is still President.
  2. The cryptocurrency space will attract more investment, leading to inflated prices. However, a number of weaker performers will fail in Q3 and Q4 (confidence level: 6/10)
    • Status: Mixed
    • Notes: The cryptocurrency market hit its peak last December and held it through January. The market soon collapsed and has not yet recovered. Many coins are trading at lows and notable projects such as Basis have failed in the last 2 quarters.
  3. The US will not enter a war with North Korea within the next year (confidence level: 9.5/10)
    • Status: True
    • Notes: We didn’t.
  4. Georgetown will be more selective than ever, and its overall and undergrad business rankings will go up (confidence level: 9/10)
    • Status: TBD
    • Notes: Last year, Georgetown’s acceptance rate was 14.5%. This year’s early action acceptance rate was 12%. Without the regular decision data, it’s a false comparison. So I’ll hold off on evaluating this one.
  5. We’ll see a large public backlash to the first significant CRISPR trials that get mass media attention (confidence level: 7/10)
    • Status: True
    • Notes: Chinese scientist He Jankui performed CRISPR trials on humans and was blasted by pretty much everyone for it.
  6. Amazon will officially make a play in the healthcare space (confidence level: 8.5/10)
    • Status: True
    • Notes: In January, Amazon announced it would form a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan to cut health costs for the companies. In June, Amazon acquired the online pharmacy PillPack for ~$1B.
  7. Google’s Waymo self-driving cars will scale to “mainstream” use (i.e. availability outside the Bay Area) this year (confidence level: 5/10).
    • Status: Mixed
    • Notes: Since Waymo’s tests were never really in the Bay Area, the premise here was a bit misleading. However, Waymo has launched a commercial service available to a limited group of early adopters. So I’d consider this one mixed.
  8. Disney’s streaming service will include original content from their Marvel and Star Wars properties, drawing a significant crowd from other players like Netflix (confidence level: 5/10)
    • Status: False (?)
    • Notes: Disney is definitely working on some interesting stuff but Disney+ has not yet launched. They will be releasing a Star Wars show called The Mandalorian and most of the Marvel shows on Netflix have been discontinued. It remains to be seen what will happen.
  9. Obamacare / the ACA will not be repealed (confidence level: 8/10).
    • Status: True
    • Notes: It wasn’t.
  10. Income inequality will get worse, and the angry demographics in the US and abroad will feel more threatened and get even angrier. (confidence level: 10/10).
    • Status: True
    • Notes: Inequality has gone up in the US. Apple and Amazon both hit $1T in market cap this year, spurring a rising anti-trust sentiment. While many folks seem frustrated by the rapacious whims of mega-corporations, they seem more tired than angry.

So those are evaluations for my ten predictions for 2018. Let me know whether you agree or disagree in the comments.

And last but not least, enjoy the rest of 2018!

Lambda School Pt. 1: Consumers

Introduction: Here begins the series of posts analyzing Lambda School, as outlined in my last post. By way of introduction, Lambda School is a Y-Combinator-backed startup that aims to upskill untapped talent to participate in the tech industry. They’ve raised ~$4M and are currently offering intensive courses on computer science, data science, iOS development, Android…

Conflating Poverty Alleviation with Income Inequality Reduction

I’ve often found that writers— even those trained in economics— conflate alleviating poverty with trying to make the societal income distribution more equal. The most recent example of this that I’ve encountered was within Rutger Bregman’s acclaimed book Utopia for Realists. I enjoyed the majority of the book, which advocated a universal basic income (UBI), a…

The Business of “Fake” Reality

More and more, it seems like the word “fake” is cropping up in our public discourse. Whether that refers to Trump’s favorite phrase “fake news” or uncanny and disturbing “deepfakes,” fakeness is rapidly pervading various forms of multimedia. In the past, people could certainly have created work anonymously, pseudonymously, or even forge work under someone else’s…