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Social media censorship the stamp of 2020

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Well, it’s that time of year again when I see how well my predictions for the year performed. With the advent of Covid-19, I’m not confident that many of them came to pass.

– The one I was definitely right about involved social media giants. Over the course of the year, social media platforms filtered out more people whose political beliefs they disagreed with and at the time of writing, 48 states in the US have filed a case against Facebook in order to break its monopoly. Other social media platforms are also under fire from political parties that dominate the US. Basically, social media giants have revealed themselves to be publishers rather than platforms and this has led to demands that their prior protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act be stripped or at least the wording be modified. How this plays out next year remains to be seen.

– Also, as expected — it was an easy prediction to make — malware and ransomware continued to grow amid the promise of cures for Covid-19. Since many organisations and corporations moved their staff offsite, it is unclear how well they prepared their security processes and procedures. China did indeed expand data collection on its citizens while — like many places — locking down the population in response to the virus.

– The big growth in data was somewhat slowed and with the movement of staff away from the office, the cloud became a more popular platform as did offsite office meetings through various software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The former was full of security issues and the latter was rushed out and is still somewhat unstable.

– My predictions on automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are hard to track so I’ll flag them as delayed or at least slowed for the time being. I was also wrong about virtual reality. There was little movement on this front and I saw nothing that enticed me. 5G also did not move that much this year especially with Huawei essentially shut out of the market after accusations swirled of security concerns after they were linked to the Chinese government. I was also wrong about quantum computing as I recently noticed a problem that would potentially take a regular computer many years to figure out was solved easily using a qubit-based computer.

– I was also right about driverless cars. They failed to impress throughout 2020 but some companies are claiming they will be a thing in a few years time. No smart glasses either this year and the Internet of Things moved slowly as well with some hacks reported throughout the year. Foldable phones were released, but as expected, I did not see a great take up in numbers and I have yet to personally see someone using one.

– Also, there was little improvement in printers, screens, computers and smartphones. There was potentially some good news regarding battery technology with the introduction of graphene technology that allows for faster charging and longer battery life in the same packaging size. Samsung is expected to use this technology in their 2021 smartphones.

– CPUs continue to improve and the new Snapdragon 888 from Qualcomm is expected to be in many top-end 2021 smartphones. Made with 5nm processing, it will be made by Samsung. Normally, the phones are made by TSMC but at the moment, the company is fully booked for new Apple chips along with those for Nvidia and AMD. The CPU will have a Cortex-X1 chip that has 1MB of L2 cache and 2.84 GHz to handle more intensive tasks on demand. There is also the three Cortex-A78 cores, which clock in at 2.4GHz for heavy tasks and add another four Cortex-A55 cores, which clock in at 1.8GHz, to run less intensive processes and save battery life and that is the new package. The chip implements a system with native 5G support, including mmWave and sub-6GHz with aggregation supporting up to 7.5Gbps down and 3Gbps up, along with WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 and multiple SIM card support. It also integrates the Adreno 660 GPU that is supposed to be 35% faster at rendering graphics over the current generation, including variable-rate shading to support those games. Qualcomm has also included machine learning algorithms for photo enhancement and speech processing.

– The 888 also comes with three image processing units that support up to three cameras to 2.7 gigapixels per second and 120 frames per second (fps) burst capture at 12 MP or even record three 4K video streams at the same time and playback at 120fps or slow motion at 960 fps at 720p. It also supports up to 16GB of RAM. So, next year, there will be phones nearly as powerful as your PC and notebooks are now. Devices with the 888 will ship in the first quarter of next year, just in time for the next Samsung release. Triple 8 also happens to be a lucky number in China and represents Jesus Christ in Christian numerology, so I guess that won’t hurt either.

Have a great holiday season.