Half a decade ago, back in January 2010, I wrote up a list of predictions for the end of the decade. You can read that list here. It’s still 2015, so I can plausibly say that we’re halfway there, which is a good time for a status update.
0000: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, 50% of all passives will be embedded passives and 20% of all PCBs will have 90% or more of their passives embedded.
In 2015, I say: This doesn’t look to be coming true, but it still might. As mobile devices and wearables get smaller, or more powerful, more electronics will need to be stuffed in progressively smaller areas. Those passives need to go somewhere. That somewhere could be into the PCB, or into the chips. I think the PCB is more likely.
0001: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, quad stack PoP (package-on -package) will be commonplace.
In 2015, I say: Quite likely. Double layer POP is showing up on low cost devices, like the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero. If it can go there, it can go pretty much anywhere. It won’t be long before double stacking won’t be enough. Although, the layers may end up being inside the chip package, rather than individual chips as layers.
0010: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, Each individual human will have their own IP address. Several of us will have more than one. That way, we can jury rig accelerometers into our hands and feet so we can wirelessly know where each of our extremities are at all times. Cats will have them too.
In 2015, I say: Yep, and then some. I already carry one in my pocket. In five years, we’ll likely see personally assigned IP addresses that won’t be device-dependent. We’ll be able to buy IP-enabled clothes, like gloves, which will do a lot more than just know where each finger is. The pet ID chips that today use NFC will be available in wireless Internet connected versions.
0011: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, solder paste will be used less often than not when assembling components on to PCBs.
In 2015, I say: We will be seeing welded copper, additive embedded 3D printing processes, conductive glue, and other non-solder methods of assembly, but nowhere near to the degree I was thinking back in 2010.
0100: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, nearly all hydraulics and pneumatics in new motor vehicles will have been replaced by electrics.
In 2015, I say: This is already well on the way. With electric and hybrid electric cars growing in numbers, and with weight and fuel mileage being such a concern, this has to happen.
0101: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade,the first semi-autonomous passenger vehicle will be on display on the auto-show circuit. Hobbyist built semi-autonomous cars will already be on the road.
In 2015, I say: I may have missed the boat on this prediction, in the pessimistic direction. Part of it has already happened. I haven’t yet seen hobby kits, but most of the major car manufacturers have shown models. Tesla has a really good driver assist “auto pilot,” and is promising fully autonomous vehicles for sale within two years of this writing.
0110: I said: By the end of the decade, “airline pilot” will generally be a really, really, really boring job. That’s a bit of a problem.
In 2015, I say: The necessary level of automation required for this prediction to come true is already installed in most airliners. The only real question remaining, is how long before it changes from “Pilot primary, systems secondary” to “Systems primary, pilot secondary.”
0111: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, most military “foot action” will consist of two soldiers in command of a squad of robots and those two soldiers will as likely be in Fort Lewis, Washington as in the combat zone.
In 2015, I say: Sadly, I still think this will happen. Not sad that fewer humans will be shooting and getting shot, but sad that we as a species will still consider war important enough to be throwing large quantities of money and resources at.
1000: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, the president of the US will be promising health care reform as the highest priority.
In 2015, I say: Yep. The president, presidential hopefuls, senators and representatives will still see this as a hot issue. One side will be trying to make quality healthcare more accessible, the other side less. One side, more publicly funded, the other side, less. I’m not really sure which side will be doing which, but I’m certain that each side will say they want to fix it and the other side wants to destroy it. Ugh.
1001: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, routine bioengineering will be, well, routine. Very scary.
In 2015, I say: I’m not so sure about this one. When I wrote it, I was thinking that home bioengineering would be happening and a class of bio-hackers would be emerging. That may still happen, but it won’t be common. Governments, agriculture, and medicine will be doing a lot more of this, but I’m not sure the term “routine” will be accurate.
1010: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, the 2019 recession will be looming large and all the people who have forgotten about the 2009 recession and the 2001 recession and the 1985 recession and the 1975 recession … will be freaking out again.
In 2015, I say: Is there any doubt? Does this ever not happen?
1011: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, lead will be gone from 98% of new electronics. Bummer.
In 2015, I say: Exemptions are going away. This will happen.
1100: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, four of the substances that replaced the substances removed from electronics due to RoHS and similar regulations will have been found to be significantly more harmful to the environment and the people recycling the materials than are the substances that they replaced.
In 2015, I say: I was being tongue-in-cheek, but it still might happen. The only caveat is that if it does happen, the data will be so obscured by politics that it likely won’t be possible for anyone to come to an informed opinion.
1101: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, the world of intellectual property will be in even more of a mess than it is today. Virtually everything will be accessibly for easy theft and cheap replication. (This is pretty much a big “duh.”)
In 2015, I say: This is still well on the way. Any industry that designs things will need to adapt to keep competitive. The patent world will still be a mess. Copyrights will be more of a litigation attack weapon than a protection tool. The best defense against pirates will be faster innovation. On the positive side, a lot of IP sharing will be intentional (by the inventor) and many businesses will be built based on collaborative innovation.
1110: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade,building your own multipurpose robot will be as easy as building your own PC was in 1988. Hardware components and operating systems will be off the shelf, but standards will be pretty loosely defined, interoperability will be more theory than reality and applications will be sketchy and buggy.
In 2015, I say: This will happen, but it may be a little later than the end of the decade. The technology will very much exist for this to happen, but the capability of the hardware will probably be advancing so fast that even the limited amount of standardization needed for this won’t be possible.
1111: In 2010, I said: By the end of the decade, still no flying cars and personal jet packs, dadgummit!
In 2015, I say: And, still no real hover boards.