2016: The year of the leaping Red Monkey


THIS IS YOUR FIRST OFFICER SPEAKING. The Earth is about to enter another time in the endless continuum. The year 2016 may be a technically uncharted territory (because no one from the future has ever came back to tell us about it) but we have enough data to posit a few things that could happen.

2016, the 4713th year in the Chinese calendar, is the year of the Red Monkey in Chinese astrology. The Hebrew calendar marks it as year 5776. Also, if you happen to have an old notebook/planner that you didn’t get to use in 1994, you can do so this year.

Nothing will change and we will still be broke

In the year 2016, we will still be driving our old cars. We still cannot afford hybrid cars. Gas prices will go higher. EDSA traffic will worsen, and the MRT will remain a privately run entity no matter who the new president will be.

There will still be many who won’t segregate the trash, won’t think about wastewater from households, and will get sick because of failure to wash hands properly.

Many will still attend free investment seminars, get suckered into paying a small fee to follow a stock guru, get an online broker, buy recommended stocks without really studying the fundamentals of investment, and lose cash.

And yes, police stations will still continue to use typewriters to file complaints.

Accuracy: 100% (but I really hope to be wrong)

No more blackberries for yogurt

The Canadian smartphone company BlackBerry Limited (formerly Research in Motion) has recently launched its biggest make-or-break product, the BlackBerry PRIV. The latest BB device ditched its own OS and for the more popular Android.

The stock market responded with fundamental gains expected of a promising move from $BBRY. However, market data indicates that BlackBerry’s market share in the industry was virtually erased when it hit rock bottom at 0.3 percent in 2015 from 40 percent in 2010.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has yet to release the sales figures for the PRIV. Looking at the company’s delayed reaction, we can assume that the sales target has not been reached. Simply put, BlackBerry just couldn’t compete with the iPhones and the Galaxies, and Chen might have to cut the hardware line in 2017 to solely focus on releasing enterprise security-oriented software.

Accuracy: 71.6%

No more plugging

Apple is betting that we don’t really need wires in the future. That’s why they made the latest MacBook with only one USB-C port. Yes, you charge the laptop’s batteries with that port, and you also attach any peripheral to that same port.

In 2016, laptops would follow suit and make this a big marketing campaign. Personally, I still want the old touch of attaching or detaching something to my PC or laptop. I also miss the DVD writer. But if you can’t beat them….

Accuracy: 61.8%

Drones over farmlands

The rise of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as tools in photography and videography is apparent. But UAVs are also starting to be used in agriculture, and this will soon be popular as well. Recently, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) officially authorized eBee to be used in commercial applications such as terrain mapping and modeling.

The Future Rice Program of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is incorporating training on how to fly drones to assess growth patterns, harvest, pest attacks, and nutrient availability.

The Department of Agriculture is also considering the use of UAVs for cloud seeding, in anticipation of the coming drought.

Accuracy: 50%

Cheaper ways to tap renewable energy

By joining Meralco’s net metering program, you can sell back your excess harnessed energy from any of the following sources: hydro, biomass, wind, and solar.

Solar panels on your rooftops would be the easiest to install. From sunrise to sunset, you get your power from the sun. During nighttime, your system automatically switches to the Meralco source. When nobody is using electricity during daytime, the excess energy is transmitted to the main Meralco lines and you get paid for it, reducing your monthly bill.

The only drawback is the capital investment cost, which hovers from P30,000 to P150,000 per household, including Meralco’s fees for the net metering setup. However, a study by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) said that costs in generating renewable energy would lower when more people buy into the system.

Accuracy: 38.2%

Increased demand for smart things and security

The amazement for the internet of things (IoT) will continue to grow. But the Internet of Things comes with internet of crimes that make the jobs of cybercriminals easier than ever. Let’s keep in mind that deep within these objects are embedded computers. Another fact: every computer ever made runs a hackable software.

As manufacturers continue to push IoTs in the market, expect a lot of vendors selling security software like insurance agents.

Accuracy: 23.6%

(The accuracy rates were made using a famous golden ratio. It’s your job to find out what it is. Happy New Year!)

Words Val J. Gonzales First published in Speed January 2016