Green Tech Predictions For 2013
With each passing year, the public somehow falls even deeper in love with the gadget. Many expected 2007, which saw the first release of Apple’s epoch-defining iPhone, to be the peak. But no, somehow the ecstasy surrounding 2010’s iPad topped even that. 2013 shows no sign of bucking the trend, with rumours swirling of a major new tablet from Microsoft and a game-changing phone from Google. But the best relationships mature over time. The demands of the masses for the latest machines could do terrible damage if we aren’t a little bit more selective with our wallets. Here are a few of my top predictions for the year ahead in the tech stratosphere. Two hopes and one fear, to balance it out a little.
The End Of ‘Playstation Wars’
The day-glo fantasy of video games seems several universes away from the bloodbath and misery of African civil wars. Or so millions of gamers would have presumed as they indulged in a quick round of Guitar Hero or Pro Evolution Soccer on Sony’s blockbuster series of Playstation consoles. But harmless fun in one part of the world can have the oddest knock-on effects. Around 2008, the term ‘Playstation War’ was coined to describe the violent conflicts being fought between Rwandan and Congolese militants over an element called Tantalum, a material widely-used in the manufacture of new technologies… particularly Sony’s Playstation 2. The worldwide success of the console could possibly have caused thousands to lose their lives, because of one element. Consumers are already increasingly questioning where their gizmos were made, in the future, they could also ask what they are made of. As battles over increasingly-scarce resources get fiercer, will 2013 be the year when big companies, prompted by increasingly strong amateur-journalism in the third world, realise they’ll have to think up alternatives?
Consumer Expectations Become Mainstream
Back in the day, the difference between one phone to the next was as clear as night and day. The new model has a colour screen. Next year’s is even going to have a camera! But nowadays, with most phones running either Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS, they seem identical. Sure, one might have slightly higher specs or a slightly bigger screen, but none of them are re-inventing the wheel anymore. This is why consumers, no longer hungry for the latest features, will hopefully start to demand that their gadgets improve in other areas, such as environmental sustainability and battery life. The recent backlash against Apple could signify a growing concern about environmental issues in the tech world, even from casual consumers.
The Future Won’t Be So Bright For Solar Panels
Figures released sometime this year will almost certainly show that the number of solar panels that have been installed since May last year will have plummeted. Just as the UK solar movement seemed to finally be gaining traction thanks to generous support from the government, the clouds came out in the form of a dramatic halving of the subsidy available to those willing to put the panels on their roof. In the first month of the cut, solar panel installations fell by 90%. Yet ironically, it was announced only a few days ago that the current government see solar power as one of the key nine technologies to rescue us from climate change. With friends like these…