Leading research firm Gartner has revealed its top predictions for IT organisations and users in 2018.

The forecasts include self-disruption, an explosion of ‘fake news’ driven in part by artificial intelligence (AI) and the near ubiquity of IoT devices.

According to Gartner, these forecasts will ‘enable organizations to move beyond thinking about mere notions of technology adoption to focus on the issues that surround what it really means to be human in the digital world.’

Looking first at how Gartner’s predicted changes might affect businesses, there is an emphasis on ‘self-disruption.’ The firm predicts that by 2020, most of the ‘digital giants’, such as Amazon, Google and Alibaba, will have chosen to disrupt their own business model.

This, it believes, is because these types of firms reach a certain size and market saturation where they struggle to ‘create new value scenarios.’ As such, it becomes necessary for them to self-disrupt, which Gartner notes can be a risky strategy, but less risky than staying still.

‘Fake news’ is a modern phrase used to describe an arguably old phenomenon. Gartner forecasts that in five years’ time, most people in developed economies will be reading more false information than real. This explosion of fake news has close ties to technological advances, in particular the use of social media. Gartner believes that by 2020 AI-driven ‘counterfeit reality’, or fake content, will outpace the ability of AI to detect it.

The firm’s analysis states: ‘While fake news is currently in the public consciousness, it is important to realize the extent of digitally created content that is not a factual or authentic representation of information goes well beyond the news aspect.

‘For enterprises, this acceleration of content in a social media-dominated discourse presents a real problem. Enterprises need to not only monitor closely what is being said about their brands.’

Continuing to look at AI, the report predicts that the coalface of interaction between AI and humans will be chatbots. It also argues that, contrary to popular belief, AI will actually mean the net creation of around 500,000 jobs. The technology will eliminate some jobs, Gartner states, but will create more than it takes, though this depends to an extent on the industry in question.

IoT is on the rise, with Gartner estimating that 95% of new electronic product designs will contain IoT technology by 2020 and that ‘through 2022, half of all security budgets for IoT will go to fault remediation, recalls and safety failures rather than protection.’

Other predictions include a boom in blockchain revenues, an increasing use of visual and voice search, and the changing face of IT departments, with an increase in generalists rather than specialists, and more of a focus on business as well as technology.