19 predictions for ’19

A new year is always filled with excitement and uncertainty about what's to come. Binghamton alumni experts, covering a variety of areas, share thoughts on what we could see in the next 12 months.

Sunny Hostin ’90 – TV host

I believe we will see Oscar nods for Black Panther and Michael B. Jordan. Black Panther became a cultural movement.

Bruce David Klein ’85 – media and entertainment

Over the next year, traditional television will continue to come under enormous pressure to find new ways to monetize content and, in a related development, audiences will increasingly be presented with new options on how watch and pay for video content. Should you stay with your traditional cable package? Should you go a la carte and piece together your own television universe from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Sling and Roku? Options for consumers will get even more complex in 2019 as new Netflix-like services emerge, likely from companies such as the merged Disney-Fox and AT&T/Warner Bros. This will further escalate the war for your TV dollars!

Rick Krisburg ’88, MBA ’90 – marketing and social media

In 2019, we will see the expedited growth of social e-commerce, which allows consumers to shop directly within social media platforms. Businesses have the means to create a frictionless shopping experience, allowing in-app shopping experiences to a highly targeted consumer audience. The insights that the social media platforms have about their users allow marketers to personalize the user experience. These types of shopping transactions are now happening on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, allowing marketers to utilize social media, not for just awareness-building, but for direct sales.

Elaine Weyuker ’66 – computer science

I see data breaches continuing. It is just too easy for the determined hacker to get access to data, partly due to the amazing willingness of people to make available too much private information. Am I blaming the victim? A little bit, but that is reality. Also, I don't think that widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles will happen in 2019. The software is simply not reliable enough or going to be so anytime soon. Massive amounts of software are in all vehicles and because it is software that is embedded in hardware devices, it is very difficult to validate that it works correctly and interacts with all of the other millions of lines of code in the vehicle.

Jeffrey Reale, MBA ’11 – artificial intelligence

A new frontier that will start to gain more traction in 2019 is how to leverage artificial intelligence to discover interdisciplinary synergies. Every industry is trending toward increased specialization, and with that comes continued separation between pools of valuable information. Most innovation is leveraging a technique that is commonplace in one field in a different discipline. The prospect of a super intelligence that could house all the specialties in even just one broad field such as medicine (never mind multiple industries) will eventually reveal many breakthroughs that would otherwise elude us a society.

Ryan Floyd ’17, MBA ’18 – artificial intelligence

Machine learning, and the broader field of artificial intelligence (AI), will continue its rapid growth in 2019. Both companies and people in general will slowly gain a better grasp of what is possible with AI. Machine-learning applications show no sign of slowing down as adoption skyrockets in every major industry. Research shows AI is currently creating more jobs than it eliminates, and this trend will continue in the foreseeable future. As human and machine become increasingly integrated, research will shrink the gap between concrete understanding and the “black box” that is machine learning. I hope for increased discussion on the ethics and legality of AI, but I won’t hold my breath. Ready or not, artificial intelligence is already here, and its long-term impact will rival that of the Industrial Revolution as each and every one of us feels the impact in our everyday lives.

Stephanie Malmberg ’12, MS ’14, PhD ’19 – higher education

This will be the year for colleges to develop or refine their recruitment and holistic student-support model for nontraditional adult learners. With high-school graduation rates slowing and a decrease in traditional-aged student populations, it is imperative that institutions of higher education develop meaningful relationships with adult students and provide them with the tools they need to be successful: flexible course offerings, hybrid content delivery formats and accelerated programs that reduce time to a degree.

Lucy Volland ’13 – higher education

There will be a record number of female and minority students entering post-secondary pathways in computer science.

Larry Dake, MAT ’03, MA ’04, EdD ’14 – K-12 education

Educational assessment will shift away from one-size-fits-all standardized tests and toward personalized feedback geared toward individual student needs.

Dennis Wall ’07 – business

Given low unemployment and a generally steady economic picture, I would predict modest interest rate hikes throughout 2019, probably at least three.

Sheri Kaiserman ’88 – business

Bitcoin will ascend upward again, ending the year significantly higher. The infrastructure for cryptocurrencies, as a new asset class, is being built to accommodate the advent of institutional investing in crypto, especially Bitcoin, which will begin to be more evident in 2019, as greater regulatory clarity, digital-asset custodian solutions and additional products and trading venues emerge. Despite the 2018 carnage in the crypto markets, the development of blockchain and, more broadly speaking, digital ledger technology, continued unabated and will make great strides in the coming year. Equity valuations have declined to more reasonable levels and the stronger companies will be able to attract capital. Several proofs of concept will advance to production, giving the public a better understanding of the reality and benefits of this transformative technology.

John Widirstky ’72 – mining

Gold will be rising due to the bankrupt government spending policies, cost of production and lack of new development. Industrial demand and massive government purchasing will continue to raise the price and drain present inventory and resources. Government policies have destroyed small producers, and management with no knowledge of the business history has destroyed many mines.

Robert Kline ’86, MBA ’90 – personal finance

Fixed annuities will become very popular with investors as a bond substitute.

Rory Clark ’05 – real estate

Residential real-estate market across the country will generally see inventory continue to increase and prices stagnate as higher interest rates decrease home affordability while oversupply provides buyers with more leverage. The luxury real estate market will still be opportunistic for discerning buyers taking advantage of large price reductions. The New York City market, which saw a general price correction in 2018, will show more opportunities for buyers and prove to be the best market for trade-ups for homeowners selling a smaller home and realizing a relative bargain on a larger purchase. The rental market will strengthen with many would-be buyers opting to rent with fewer rental concessions and investors will consequently benefit.

Gigio Ninan ’08 – law

As a practicing attorney in New York and New Jersey, I believe the next big wave of businesses that will start popping up are in the cannabis area. With both states now almost complete in enacting laws that will essentially legalize its use, businesses will likely begin the long and lengthy application processes to obtain licenses to grow, distribute and sell. Attorneys who begin to learn the application process and an understanding of its intricacies will do very well.

Natalie Elisha Goldberg ’09 – law

The legal system at large will start considering privacy of our data and follow in the footsteps of the European Union with the implementation of a legal construct similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). When that happens, a blockchain solution will be an absolute necessity for businesses everywhere. There are companies solving this problem already. Examples include Lucidity, Axciom, Datawallet and Killi.

Ann E. Fronczek, MS ’99 – nursing

In 2019, I predict that there will be more options for seeking healthcare in virtual-care spaces through our mobile devices. Nurses will be at the forefront of helping patients navigate these virtual-care spaces. The Decker School will be an emerging leader in educating nurses about virtual-care technologies and preparing them for the ever-changing healthcare environment.

Lina Begdache, PhD ’08 – nursing

The National Institutes of Health will be allocating more funds to support interdisciplinary research that revolves around nutrition.

Michael Zeldin ’73 – politics

I feel confident in predicting that the Mueller Investigation and its progeny in the House of Representatives will be ongoing long after the Class of 2019 graduates.

Disclaimer: The opinions are from the alumni as individuals and not intended to represent the viewpoints of their respective employers.