When COVID Pandemic hit, we had to cope with the lockdowns, and it was a good year for those companies such as Slack and Zoom, which brought increased memberships because of the trend of remote work. The economic cost of the COVID pandemic was also felt in the tech industry, with companies such as Sophos, Uber, Booking.com, Groupon, and Airbnb laying off people. The interesting thing is the interest of technology companies to make salaries more open, with Facebook pushing for reduced salaries and adjusted to the local cost of living of where the employee lives.
In the field of AI, continuous improvement in GPT-3 has made it able to write entire articles. Elon Musk has predicted that the Singularity is coming closer each day, and probably will emerge within 5 years. This prediction actually accelerated from being 20 years away (2040) to just 5 years. THere is also the threat of deep fakes, which can be used for wrong things to discredit political opponents among other things.
In the US, the Black Lives Matter movement became stronger after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Technology companies came in full support, putting the #BlackLivesMatter Slogan on their documentation websites and prompted a change in the use of tech words such as “master”, “slave”, “blacklists”. This led to Github deciding to make the default branch on new repositories renamed to “main”.
In the world of Agile, people had to adjust to the new normal of work-from-home, challenging the notion that effective teams need to be co-located. In November, the new 2020 Scrum Guide was released, with major change by simplifying the language and the move from self-organizing to self-managing, as well as the accountabilities of each member in a Scrum team. Another key change is that Scrum is now less prescriptive and allows it to be applicable outside of software development. The idea is that the “product” is not necessarily just software, it can be a service, it can be something abstract (art?), as long as it gives value to the customers, you can apply Scrum methods to it.
For those who preferred the previous version of Scrum in which Scrum Masters are described as “Servant Leaders”, the new version created some confusion with what was meant with “True Leaders who serve the scrum team and the entire organization”. The change was meant to remove the emphasis on “Servant Leadership” into Leadership – in that they are providing a service to the organization/ teams.
There are many more updates to tech in 2020, including the emergence of Practical blockchain, new technology in the field of web development (Deno, Svelte and PWA development), 5G, intelligent transportation, Natural Language Processing, and the trend of providing AI-as-a-service (and related Machine Learning and Deep Learning).
Definitely, the year 2020 was a blast, and while the COVID pandemic brought our economy into a depression – technologies have still managed to keep improving. I would say it was a major turning point for IT – it made remote work became a normal thing, and forced many people to get a computing device, and helped push for the digital transformation of traditional companies that haven’t yet embraced the online world.