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Top Mind At Adobe Ponders Over the Future of Tech in 2021

Scott Belsky of Adobe fame has recently published some musings about the development and progress that technology will see in the coming year.

Before we go into what trends Belsky believes will dominate 2021, let's have a look at the man's rather impressive credentials. He currently acts as the Chief Product Officer, Executive Vice President of Adobe Cloud. An impressive mouthful of words which, while being highly impressive, only scratch the surface on his lucrative career. A businessman out of Harvard, he quickly got to work by co-creating the work portfolio platform Behance (later acquired by Adobe). He would go on to invest in and advise start-ups such as Uber and Pinterest, both of which have gained massive traction. A perceptive, insightful mind such as his seems to be the perfect looking glass to glance at 2021 and what it may bring.

Scott Belsky lists some trends that he sees on the potential up-and-coming. Starting us off, decentralization's started a climb, and will keep on ascending as we reach 2021. Decentralization, the process of providing alternative routes to outlets controlled by a single authority. For example, as noted by Belsky, platforms such as CashDrop have developed ways for vendors and store owners to tout their goods without going through the entire process of setting oneself up with fees and middlemen.

This author also suspects that such developments see themselves take form as a growing sign of mistrust in authority figures. With capitalism on the rise, and small businesses being smothered by government regulations and well-established competition, such alternatives are bound to pop up. The next stop on our list, labelled "eduployment", also seems to stem from such mistrust.

The concept of eduployment involves people practicing in and taking up specific trades, as opposed to going through formal centres of education. A prime example is Nana, a company that trains its users in appliance and utility repairs, then sets them up with jobs in communities via local manufacturers. While these platforms are currently just taking off, there's a lot more than can be projected to come.

Student loan debt in the USA amounts to over $1.54 trillion. Numbers that, despite their best efforts, most students will be unable to cope with, taking nothing but leftover payments to their graves. This habit of training in a certain vocation, akin to Grecian apprenticeships, offers such people an alternative, with actual payment guaranteed at the end.

Belsky's next entry predicts the rise of new social media apps that will cater to the under 16 demographic (referred to as Gen Z) with creative twists to the formulaic platforms established by giants such as Facebook. The current generations do have a rather unique sense of world-weariness about them, despite their young ages, that older generations such as baby boomers have been constantly at odds with. In lieu of that, it'll be exciting to see what these new apps come up with.

With apps such as Patreon and Substacks having provided creators with a direct social and monetary link to their fans, future platforms shall work towards giving them more agency in branding and community management. Growing out of the shadows of TV networks, or even platforms like YouTube, apps such as Circle (based around creators building fanbases) will gain more traction over time.

SaaS (Software as a Service) will also see a projected leap in the coming year. As people stop depending on hiring entire teams for hyperspecific jobs, SaaS platforms such as Sora (used for HR automation) which can serve multiple functions at the same time will receive importance. With AI becoming a more practical reality in every passing day, its application to such features will be interesting to observe.

Speaking of AI, as algorithms and deep learning take over repetitive tasks and heavy-lifting, employee value will highly depend on creative input. Whether it be bringing new ideas to the table, or presenting with inventive graphics and organisational skill, an employee's creative force will end up determining their rise to the top.

Another point on the list dictates how much streamlined interfaces are going to take off. Simply put, apps and features entirely customized to deal with multiple functions at the same time will become the next big commodity. And honestly, it's about time. With applications being all over the place, it's about time some companies got together and set up APIs for the sake of general convenience. A realization of such vision exists in the form of Command E, a desktop app that helps access everything in easily distinguishable columns.

Finally, ending the list on a hopeful note, Scott Belsky discusses that due to the pandemic creating active repression for months at an end, 2021 could kick off the next Roaring 20's, with fashion, travelling and pop-culture receiving a big boost from people finally indulging in activities barred to them for about a year.


Photo: Adobe

Read next: How Society Creates Entrepreneurs (infographic)

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