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Headline of the week
 
Ever heard of 2018? 
I made “18 predictions for 2018” in January. It’s Result Time (2/2).
 
In early January 2018, I made a set of predictions for the year ahead. This week, I hold myself accountable. For those still on holiday last week, we've already covered the first 7, with the following result:

1) Big Tech’s Reckoning

Score: 9/10

2) Digital Decay for Pinterest, Twitter, Snap and Buzzfeed
Score: 4/10

3) Elon Musk's Very Good Year
Score: 5/10


4) Odd M&A Boom
Score: 3/10


5) Crypto Bust
Score: 8/10

6) Stock Market re-shuffle
Score: 9/10

7) Cyber-crime

Score: 7/10

Click here for a more in-depth look at the 7 above. Read on for the other 11. 
8. The Old Guard Accepts AI
Prediction: Journalists, lawyers, accountants and bankers start seeing more pros than cons to the use of increasingly smart software. 

Results: This is another hard one to assess as there are few concrete numbers to back up any claims. We have however seen the rise of tools used to enhance and optimise the work of many professions, including journalism, accounting, and finance. As the observant crowd may have noticed, we’re more talking about enhancing, helping and cooperating than replacing, as algorithms are great at easy, repeatable tasks which have low added value to intellectual professions.
The full force of automation is yet to make itself felt throughout the entire economy. But it’s coming.

Score: 8/10


9. Global Tech Cold War
Prediction: China continues its battle for talent, AI and robots against the U.S., with mixed results. The US still has the best talent, but Beijing is training many more technologists. China will continue to plow money into its homegrown research and hardware sectors, while the US struggles with less control over its private-sector top performers than Beijing. The race is a tight one.

Results: As we’ve seen all year, a new Cold War is brewing, alimented by Tech. The two most consequential signs of this have been the arrest of a Huawei executive and the implementation of tariffs. Despite a temporary reprieve in December, those thinking it will last have another thing coming.
Meanwhile, China is very much becoming an AI Superpower, with its sight set on dominating the Tech world within the next few years.

Score: 10/10


10. 2018 Mid-term
Prediction: The Democrats retake the House, but not the Senate, during the 2018 midterms and turn Trump’s White House life into a living hell. One of the strongest forces in the universe is the return to the mean, and the political pendulum is about to come back, swinging fast.

Results: Right on the money. The democrats scored big in the House of Representative, but lost big in the Senate, with Republicans further cementing their lead there.
And a living hell is indeed on the menu for Shrimp-Boy.

Score: 10/10
11. Mueller
Prediction
: Mueller’s investigation continues and extends into 2019, unless Trump suffers from a stroke (71 + TV + no exercise + fast food + stress is a deadly combination). A president Pence would likely be re-elected in 2020, and nobody wants that — better run out the clock.

Results: It’s been a good year for Mueller and a bad year for Trump. By the end of December, Mueller has put 4 men close to Trump behind bars, convicted 1 more, has had 7 people plead guilty to various charges relating to the 2016 election and has charged 36 defendants. Those are high numbers. VERY high. And all this while turning a profit for the American people.
The investigation is likely to come to a close by mid-2019, but Trump is unlikely to be impeached then, as written above.
Score: 10/10

12. Brexit
Prediction: Negotiations continue, though more and more people realise they’ve just made a huge mistake. The UK gives in to most of Europe’s demands, drifts further from the U.S., and continues to sink into irrelevance. May’s political career does not survive the year.

Results: The year is not over yet, but May has survived the latest round of no-confidence vote and looks likely to remain as Prime Minister for the months ahead. You could however argue that her career has indeed not survived as she will never find another gig once she leaves this one.
The UK is (too) slowly realising they have very few chips to gamble. If there was another vote, Remain would likely win.
As of the end of 2018, 1 out 12 major Brexit issue has been settled, with 2 more deadlocked and 9 in progress. Not great given how long the negotiations have been ongoing.
Score: 7/10


13. North Korea
Prediction
: The world learns to live with a nuclear Korea. The Cheeto-In-Chief continues his Twitter-rattling while other nations actually get things done and adapt, as South Korea has in the past month. Whoever claims The True Believer Rule could apply here has not been paying attention the reality on the field.

Results: And so we have. Last week, North Korea announced that it had no intent on denuclearizing, unless the U.S did it first (which will not happen). Shocking. This comes after major thaws and leaps forward in diplomacy during the summer of 2018 BECAUSE WE’VE ACCEPTED A KILLER AND DESPOT ONTO THE WORLD STAGE by having The U.S and South Korean president meet with him. We got things done. We adapted. The Twitter-rattling continued. We moved on.
Score: 10/10
14. Iran
Prediction: Ayatollah Khamenei chills out with regards to internal politics, granting more freedom to the Iranian people. He wants his regime to stay in power, and remembers the Arab Spring well. Expect no change in regional politics, though.

Results: Despite some big words, promises, and d*ck-measuring contests, Iran is coming out of 2018 winning. Well, not the Iranian people necessarily, but all the geopolitical uncertainty in the region is serving the Ayatollah well. regardless of strategic victories, the Iranian people are no better off, though, and the regional dynamics remain vastly un-changed.
Score: 8/10

15. Syria
Prediction: Syria-related headlines get rarer as the West does its best to ignore/forget the fact that it failed to act in any sort of meaningful way when faced with evil.

Results:  After a year of ignoring major humanitarian disasters on all sides of this bloody civil war, the developed world has completely given up and has decided to let dictators get away with genocide.
Troops being withdrawn from the country means that Iran and Turkey can now freely persecute whomever they see fit. History will not judge us kindly.
Score: 9/10

16. World Cup
Prediction: France wins the FIFA Word Cup. You heard it here first.

Results: Bulls-eye. They had about 5% chances going in according to state-of-the-art A.I. Bow down, silly algorithms.
Score: 10/10

17. Oscars
Prediction: The Post wins Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. Gary Oldman wins Best Actor for “Darkest Hour” and when taking the stage, he pulls off his mask to reveal he’s actually Daniel Day-Lewis and there never was a Gary Oldman.

Results: The post did not win, beaten as it was by what I consider to be a Hentai movie. Gary Oldman DID however win his well-deserved Oscar, but no mask-pulling took place. Shame.
Score: 5/10

18. Hope
Prediction: nfant mortality, deaths from infectious disease, and wealth inequality between the poorest and wealthiest nations continue to decline. The number of girls attending college and global income continue to increase. People continue loving each other, and keep making great TV shows. The world keeps turning.

Results: So far so good? The use of renewable energy is up, average carbon footprints are down, literacy rates are up, tiger populations are growing, more trees are being planted than cut, technology is helping us live longer, the Ozone hole is smaller than ever… Yes, the news is grim, but we must remember not to let that stop us from helping ourselves and others be better off than they were last year.
Score: Score: 10/10 (despite my better judgement)

Final Grade : 7.9/10

This is The Pourquoi Pas' penultimate newsletter. If you want to keep up to date with my writting, do follow me on MEDIUM
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Bonus round
Bonus #1: How the world got better in 2018, in 15 charts (Quartz)
Bonus #2: Ten reasons to be optimistic in 2019 (World Economic Forum)
A lil' piece of wholesomeness
The Pourquoi Pas lives through its readers. If you liked this newsletter, forward it to a friend and/or send me your reactions, whimsical thoughts or cocktail recipes by hitting Reply.
 
Have a great week.
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