Compilation of Predictions for 2017

Curated by Robert Montano, Prianka Srinivasan, Stefaan Verhulst and Andrew Young

It’s the season of predictions. As we usher in the new year, what will 2017 or 2070 be like? In our on-going attempt to identify the signal in the noise, we reviewed many annual forecasts and selected some of the most relevant to governance innovation.

With much of the world in a state of flux, and with many early wins in technology-driven governance innovation now facing questions regarding their continued existence, predictions for 2017 span the spectrum from optimism that innovation will continue to improve people’s lives to pessimism regarding the many challenges 2017 is likely to bring. Below is a sample of eight predictions – From precision medicine improving health outcomes to greater attention being focused on online ‘filter bubbles’ to cybersecurity concerns negatively impacting digital services – from a wide variety of sources that we here at the GovLab feel will most impact our lives in 2017.

Did we miss anything? Share additional predictions for 2017 with us at!

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Political Organization Will Continue Online, But Behind Closed Doors

Natalie Andrews at The Wall Street Journal: “Organization will take place online in secret. This was seen just before the election with the pro-Clinton group Pantsuit Nation, a secret Facebook group that grew to 3.96 million members. Post-election the group has raised money for progressive causes and branched out to create local chapters. Supporters of Mr. Trump also had several groups online, where they could be free of heated debate during the election. As activists prepare for a fight over health care and immigration, much of the organization will be done online in groups where members can use the secret status to organize, fundraise, and be free from scrutiny that members face in public.”

Wall Street Journal: “Five Predictions for Political Tech and Social Media in 2017

Increasing Our Understanding of Filter Bubbles

Mary L. Gray at Microsoft: “Social scientists and computer scientists will join together to develop new methods that map and measure cultural, economic and political ‘filter bubbles’ — online echo chambers of our friends’ news and information — and unpack how they impact people’s everyday ‘offline’ lives.”

Microsoft Corporate Blogs: “17 for ’17: Microsoft researchers on what to expect in 2017 and 2027

Digital Social Movements for Health Care

Annie Finnis, Halima Khan, Jacqueline Del Castillo, and Lydia Nicholas at Nesta: “In 2017, we will see even more people standing up, speaking out and seeking change in the health and care issues that matter to them and their loved ones. And they will do so in social movements that are ‘next generation’ in their use of digital technology to mobilise and the issues they address.”

Nesta: “Next generation social movements for health“; See also: 10 predictions for 2017

Blossoming of Precision Medicine

The Economist’s World in 2017: “DNA tests such as Oncotype DX and MammaPrint are among the advances which will help doctors pick treatments. A recent trial found that in one in five patients with advanced cancer, DNA tests could identify therapies that slowed down their tumours. Similarly it now looks likely that genetic testing will help identify those with advanced prostate cancer whose disease is caused by mutations in DNA-repair genes, in which case a different kind of drug could be called for. Personalised medicine also looks promising in deciding who might benefit from some of the powerful but expensive new immuno-oncology drugs, which seem to work only in a subset of patients.”

The Economist’s World in 2017: “Medicine gets personal“; See also: The World in 2017

Everyone as a Hospital

PSFK’s Forecast 2020: “As personal data collection becomes more precise, consumers will be able to manage initial diagnoses and treatment for themselves or others––deferring to specialists when needed and reducing the overall burden on healthcare systems.”

PSFK: “Forecast 2020: How Technology Is Empowering A New Age Of Digital Activists

Rise of Benevolent Use of Drones

Fast Company Design: “Rwanda is building the world’s first drone airport to provide medicine that can be quickly flown to those who need it. Rather than wait months for roads to be built, drones can quickly provide critical support to people living outside of urban areas. This is an example of a wider movement that is happening globally in developing and developed countries: drones for good…The definition of a drone is “unmanned aircraft,” but behind the unmanned aircraft is a person driving the intent and potential of what the aircraft can do for people in need. And this year we’ll see more folks begin to push this potential.”

Fast Company Design: “12 Tech Trends That Will Shape Our Lives In 2017

Empowering Citizens Through Access to Their Own Data

Eddie Copeland at Nesta: “2017 will see the acceleration of efforts to… [empower] users of online services to control access to their own data. Instead of submitting their personal information to online service providers, blockchain-based personal data stores will allow people to own and maintain their own data, granting and rescinding access and enabling it to be used, shared or deleted as they see fit.”

Nesta: Blockchain powers a personal data revolution“; See also: 10 predictions for 2017

Concerns over Cybersecurity will Slow Growth of Digital Service Industry

Rich Parrish at NextGov: “Some federal leaders will quickly implement new security measures for existing digital services without taking the time for input from digital experience designers. These interactions will get worse as agencies roll out identity verification procedures that are needlessly confusing and inconvenient. Leaders will also go slower than necessary on the development of new digital services because they fear opening new vulnerabilities.”

Nextgov Tech Insider Blog: “Customer-centric Government won’t be great again in 2017, and other government predictions