Social media misinformation, semiconductor shortage, NFT’s explosive growth, ransomware attacks hit a new high, and right-to-repair gains traction.
With the new year nearly upon us, it’s once again the time to take a look back at our favourite trends of the year. Welcome to Hashtag Trending, I’m your host, Tom Li, and in part 2 of this two-episode special, we’ll be listing the top ten tech trends that emerged in 2021. Here’s part 2. Make sure to listen to part 1 if you haven’t already!
Social media was a massive point of contention this year. In addition to misinformation across almost all platforms, Parler was especially scrutinized after the attack on U.S. Capitol Hill. Parler, which champions freedom of speech, was accused of failing to enforce its anti-violence content policies to quell incitement of violence from its users. Parler was subsequently delisted from almost all cloud hosting platforms but made its return, at least in the Apple App Store, in May.
The semiconductor shortage continued throughout 2021. From graphics cards to auto chips, no one was safe from grossly inflated prices and component constraints. With that said, there’s hope on the horizon as semiconductor manufacturers ramp up supply and spin up new factories. Intel, TSMC and Samsung have all promised new fabs, and countries like the U.S. and China have greatly increased investment into their semiconductor supply chain.
Some think it’s all hot air, and some think it’s the next big thing. Regardless of its controversies, non-fungible tokens (NFT) have exploded in popularity and everyone’s trying to become an early adopter. In addition to the innumerable startups, some well know figures and brands have also embraced NFTs, such as sportswear company Nike and chess legend Garry Kasparov. Some NFTs have sold for millions of dollars. the artwork Everyday: the First 5000 Days was sold for a staggering $69 million to a sole collector. Another piece, called The Merge, was sold for $91.8 million to a crowdfund of 30,000 collectors.
One of the most devastating cybersecurity incidents this year–maybe even all time–was the Colonial Pipeline attack. Orchestrated by ransomware group Revil, the attackers gained access to Colonial’s systems on May 7th, forcing the company to stop operations to contain the breach. Colonial eventually relented and paid a ransom worth $4.4 million, $2.3 million of which were later recovered. Beyond the hefty ransom, the damage to the supply chain was catastrophic, so much so that U.S. president Joe Biden declared a state of emergency on May 9, removing the limits on the transportation of fuel by road to prevent shortages. Ransomware has become the number one cyber attack in 2021, and its popularity is expected to persist throughout the new year.
The fight for the right to repair gained momentum this year when both Apple and Microsoft released specialized tools and parts to repair their devices. Through Apple’s Self Service Repair program, customers can repair displays, batteries and cameras on their own. Microsoft, on the other hand, partnered with iFixit to release repair tools for Microsoft Surface devices. This is a good start, but there’s a lot more work to be done across the industry to reduce e-waste and extend electronics’ lifespan.
And that was part 2 of our trending stories for 2021. Thank you for listening to Hashtag Trending this year. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Have a happy new year!