What Do You Think Was the Biggest Tech Trend in 2016?

2016 has been a crazy unpredictable year for many, many things. But what about in the world of technology? What trends have we seen? We’ve seen Pokemon Go, live video, artificial intelligence, and more. We’ve talked in the past few weeks about what we think the biggest trends will be in 2017, but what about this year? We asked our writers, “What do you think was the biggest tech trend of 2016?”

Our Opinion

Derrik weighed in and suggested “live mobile video.” He looks at Periscope in particular getting popular and notes that Facebook, Tumblr, and even Instagram have live video functions, and he’s assuming there’s more to come.

Trevor points to the “mainstreaming of AI” with all the autonomous vehicles being put on the road, including the Tesla autopilot. He believes it “adds to the immediate gratification people expect with tech” to want to add it other areas of their lives than just phone, TV, and computer. Ada agrees with him on this noting that they’re not new but got mainstream coverage. She’s also looking at the “social impact of automation and how many people will inevitably lose their jobs.” For her it all adds up to AI being the biggest trend.

Phil saw the biggest trend this year as “really fast knockoffs on sale in China.” And he thinks it will continue to be a big trend. He thinks in the future knockoffs of Kickstarter ideas will start hitting the market before the Kickstarter campaign is even done.


Jeffry believes if the (somehow short-lived) Pokemon Go craze showed us anything, it’s that “Augmented Reality has started to pick up the pace.” He believes had the backbone been strong enough, that it could have been the biggest tech trend in 2016. But his personal opinion of the biggest trend would be the “unsung hero: the battery.” He sees Tesla setting the trend with the home battery, miniature batteries for smart watches and drones, and of course the exploding smartphone battery that “stole quite a few headlines.”

Miguel agrees with Jeffry regarding augmented reality and believes “we can expect to see even bigger things” coming next year. As far as consumer products are concerned, he thinks “drones have really become a strong commodity that have provided very interesting videos through the year.” He’s even been able to watch them in his own hometown.

Simon agrees with both of them on augmented reality, believing it’s come a long way in 2016, but he also wants to add its sister, virtual reality, into the mix. He notes that we saw VR headsets reaching many people this year as well as a lot of people demoing VR games and software. “While there hasn’t been the ‘flagship software’ to carry VR technology into a must-have,” he saw the reception of the current technology being well-received and people really enjoying it.

Being from the U.S., for me the biggest tech trend in 2016 has to be fake news. It changed many things, and the story just continues to get bigger and bigger. It fooled a lot of people, and I don’t want to get political here, as this isn’t the space for that, but it changed the scope of this country’s politics. And that’s going to have a far-reaching effect on the world as a whole.

Your Opinion

Do you agree with our writers about these tech trends? Do you believes AI really hit its stride this year? What about augmented reality? Do you think it’s come really far and will only go much further in the future? What do you think was the biggest tech trend of 2016? Join the conversation below in the comments.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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