17 Questions for 2017

Caithlin Ng 20 January 2017

It is impossible to predict exactly what each year will bring, but here are 17 questions – from the political to the cultural, the technological to the environmental – that 2017 might hold the answers to.

1. The hope and number of reasons for Trump’s impeachment have continued to rise, yet will the new President be able to weather both old and new controversies this year?

2. Will Theresa May’s ‘hard Brexit’ strategy bring about the unity it seeks, or prove to be even more divisive for an already divided country?

3. Which way will international attitudes toward refugees and asylum seekers, such as those from Syria, sway in 2017?

4. The growth of Chinese wealth was a head-turner in 2016, but many predict that this won’t continue in 2017 – with considerations like friction with the US, will the Chinese be able to adapt?

5. 2016 often seemed to be propelled by ethnic and religious intolerance, but did the world see the climax of this last year, or was 2016 merely a catalyst for 2017?

6. With Mark Zuckerberg’s AI home assistant Jarvis, and greater involvement and investment of major companies like Google, will we finally have the collaboration we need to achieve the transition of sophisticated AI from screen to mainstream consumer reality?

7. Augmented reality: will it finally become a mainstream form of gaming? Pokemon Go dominated the gaming industry in 2016, so what more can we expect from this line of technology in 2017?

8. With computers, like Amazon’s Echo, steadily seeping into our daily lives, robotic journalists already employed by the Press Association, and AI set to grow 300 per cent in 2017, will this year see the battle between white collar and robotic workers for jobs, and, if it does, who will triumph?

9. Cybersecurity: how will we respond to increasing threats to our online privacy? Will we have to redefine privacy and security?

10. Will SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft successfully deliver humans to the ISS?

11. Until gene-editing tool CRISPR, “there has never been”, according to The New Yorker, “a more powerful biological tool, or one with more potential to both improve the world and endanger it”. Will this be the year we see swifter progression towards the eradication of diseases like Lyme disease and malaria?

12. NATO is set to launch the Cold Atom Laboratory to the International Space Station in April, so what laws of the still-mysterious quantum physics will this help uncover this year?

13. Will Trump pull the US out of the Paris global agreement to reduce emissions?

14. The Bornean orangutan, the giant otter, the Amur leopard, the black-footed ferret, and Darwin’s fox are amongst the most alarmingly endangered of species: which of them will make it through 2017?

15. Given the mainstream success of musical Hamilton, and the fact that the onslaught of mediums for political discourse is making it harder to make yourself heard, will we see a greater politicisation of the entertainment industry this year?

16. Filming for Star Wars Episode 9 is set to begin this year, but how will its producers manage with the loss of Carrie Fisher while giving due respect to the absolute legend she is?

17. Finally, will Eleven return in Stranger Things???