This is probably the 20th year ahead-yearend outlook story I’ve written over the years. They’re usually fun, and experts who comment for them can be way off, far out or spot on.
Looking forward is good, and looking back is fun too, if nothing else just to see what we learned in 2013. Searching around the Internet I found a few words that essentially came into being or came out of anonymity and into the limelight in 2013: Binge-watch; bitcoin; schmeat; selfie; twerk.
I decided to hunt down experts in various fields to get them to look into their crystal balls and tell us what words we may learn this year.
I asked economists, executives, marketing gurus, social commentators, tech heads, to come up with a word or two they believe will come into existence or into prominence in 2014. The words could be business related, politically charged, part of popular culture, whatever.
I sent emails and put out calls to technology experts, including the folks at Google, who ignored me – they offer similar treatment when I reach out every few months to talk about driverless cars, but are otherwise generally responsive.
I dialed up a few marketing types who normally love media exposure, some academics, people often quoted on popular culture.
Of course, I wanted to get a wordsmith on the record. I reached out to IAC, owner of Dictionary.com, but got no reply from their public relations department, which may have been too busy with another big 2013 event – if IAC doesn’t strike a chord, I suggest googling “IAC PR.”
I was turned down or ignored by all but one expert. I expect more than half the considerable number of folks I reached out to just didn’t know what to make of what they probably felt was a hair-brained request. There’re also the holidays to consider, which for some reason people see as a time to spend with family and friends instead of working.
The only response I did receive was from one of the most listened-too people in the insurance industry. I asked him for a few words, and he delivered those and more.
Robert Hartwig, president and economist of the Insurance Information Institute, gives his thoughts on seven words we’ll see and hear a lot in 2014:
- Autonomous Vehicle: Cars with increasingly automated functionality will become commonplace within the next few years, perhaps leading to completely autonomous vehicles by 2025
- Hyperdata: This is the successor to “big data” because there’s not just “more” (i.e., bigger) data used insurance underwriting, it’s analyzed more quickly and in more detail than ever before.
- UBI: Still industry jargon for “Usage-Based Insurance” so it’s a dark horse for popularization, but it is snappy and more carriers are rolling out UBI programs.
- Yellen Swellin’: Term that could come to mean a steepening of the Treasury yield curve under new Fed Chair Janet Yellen as the Fed completes its tapering program during 2014.
- Taper Talk: Incessant media (over)analysis of the Fed’s winding down of its bond buying program
- Post-Crisis Economy: 2014 could become the year in which consumers and employers finally emerge from their crisis cocoons
- Crisis Cocoons: See Above
See related outlook story with Hartwig: Big Brains at Big ‘I’, Insurance Information Institute Give Their Take on 2014