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8 key tech themes from 2018

Shira Ovide, Bloomberg News, Dec. 26, 2018 – 

It was another momentous year for the technology industry – not necessarily in a good way. Here is Bloomberg Opinion's assessment of the eight biggest themes in technology for 2018 and what they tell us about the industry's future.

Similar to 2017, a common thread in several of these themes is disillusionment about technology or the companies behind it. The list, in reverse order of importance:

8) Hopes and Fears for Driverless Cars: In the eight years since Google's driverless car project first hit the news, much progress has been made, but there have also been some serious setbacks. Early this year, an Uber Technologies Inc. automated car with a backup driver struck and killed a pedestrian – a tragic sign of how far autonomous transportation is from being ubiquitous, reliable and trusted. Tesla Inc. and Google spinoff Waymo also struggled at times with driver-assistance technology and a new driverless taxi service, respectively. There's promise for autonomous driving technology, but it will take years to come to fruition, and it may not be a transportation cure-all.

7) Tech Employees Find a Voice: Workers spoke out against their employers on important issues including Google's work on a possible web search service for China, use of technology for military projects or law enforcement and payments made to executives accused of improper workplace behavior. The employee activity helped spur policy changes in some cases – or what critics called window dressing. Tech companies' most valued assets are their employees, and now those people want more of a say in how their companies treat them and how they influence the wider world.

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