Last year proved to be a restless nail-biter, and 2018 promises more of the same. Strap in, because you’re likely to witness a number of events that don’t appear to follow the familiar political, technological or business narratives. Tantalizing advancements in emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, biotech, autonomous robots, green energy and space travel—will begin to enter the mainstream, which could eventually mean significant economic growth and healthier living. Yet a closer look reveals some alarming truths. The development of AI is our modern version of an arms race, and in 2018, China will lay the groundwork to become the world’s unchallenged AI hegemon. If data is the new oil, China’s massive, 730m online population puts it in control of our largest, and possibly most important natural resource going forward—human data—and it doesn’t have the privacy and security restrictions that might hinder progress in other nations.
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