SNS Subscriber Edition • Volume 25, Issue 1 • Week of January 6, 2020


Top Ten
for 2020



SNS: Top Ten Predictions for 2020

In This Issue
Week of 1/6/2020 Vol. 25 Issue 1


Coming April 23!

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"Spy vs. You:
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No matter how closely we look, 2019 and 2020 may turn out to have been two of the strangest years in memory, the former for all of the weird things that happened, the latter for those that did not. This fall, in place of the usual listicles of predictions from pundits (and what a horrid term that really is!) far and wide for the coming year's exciting innovations and events, we get articles from Bloomberg experts referring to books on why predicting is just so, well, hard.

Another article on 2020 makes the point that all the trends are ending, so, well, that guy's cupboard was bare, too.

But perhaps my favorite came from the No. 2 fellow at the CES show, running this week in Las Vegas, whose idea of the future is "5G, Streaming Media, and the Home Network." If this were 2015, he would be so right.

My suspicion is that those having so much trouble seeing forward are unaware of the deep connections between innovations, their pace and quality, and the national business models that drive them. But since this is our bread and butter, we have plenty on our plate.

This year, as last, we are offering up predictions at the annual event hosted by the Technology Alliance Group (TAG), in Bellingham, which will be happening on Friday, January 10, from 11:30 to 1:30. We'll be releasing this version of the Global Report a few minutes afterward.

For those interested in my longer comments on the general economic and technological landscapes in 2020, as well as a half-hour interview on Pattern Computer Inc. and its latest achievements and discoveries, I'd recommend staying tuned to next week, when we will post a URL for that video.

Here, meanwhile, are my Top Ten predictions for 2020, followed by a graded refresher in the "Takeout Window" on last year's calls.

Top Ten Predictions for 2020

  1. Autonomous electric (AE) cars move from a technology platform story to one of the great global economic impact stories. While overall car sales remain down in the short term as a direct result of China's contraction, the industry's current retooling will result in future years of new growth and market domination in dozens of technology markets.
  2. 2020: It's time to talk about "The Real China" as Xi's ambitions for China become clear. The idea that it's OK to trade off quarterly profit performance for partnering with the most dangerous and repressive country in the world becomes a non-starter for an increasing number of global business leaders.

    The process of disengagement from The Real China has its practical start in this year.
  3. Privacy takes its proper place in e-commerce. Having awakened to Facebook's foibles and Zuckerberg's devious word evasions, people are now sensitized to being Zucked, with FB as Exhibit A. Even more encouraging: while half of its users just don't care, the others do.

    Not Using FB becomes a Thing. People invent excuses for why they use it at all, in niche form. While new laws are passed against its tactics worldwide, FB becomes the spiritual ghetto of the social-network city.
  4. The whole "home network" idea takes major hits, even as it grows. Some folks have 10 Echo Dots, cross-talking Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google appliances in every room, while others put their phones in the freezer. This home privacy invasion market becomes the physical battleground over world privacy rights.
  5. The Year of Cloud Confusion: Is it the AI Cloud, the Healthcare Cloud, or ...? Cloud providers find themselves desperate to differentiate their data centers through new acquisitions weekly, racing to bring on their own proprietary Pattern Recognition Processors, as they urgently chase more money than they can imagine, through hallways they are just now designing.
  6. Net division will continue to harm society worldwide, pitting big companies against countries, people against people, and countries against one another. CRINK vs. Rest of World will destabilize the planet using the net.
  7. Amazon emerges from the big tech scrum as the company that will just keep on growing forever, no matter what. Copycat Alibaba, eat your heart out.
  8. The Boeing story becomes iconic - not just for the firm's well-publicized safety lapses, but as an international takedown target. Who next will the Chinese Communist Party target? Cars, chips, and smartphones, with terrific stakes at hand. What happens to China if Huawei loses? To Germany with a declining Daimler or Volkswagen? Who will the new winners be, and what is it worth to their home countries to make it so? Boeing has a huge return in 2020.
  9. The ride disruption business model capitulates, with higher pricing, real differentiation, and corporate bodies everywhere. Electric scooters are headed for the dump, together with rental bikes of every color, Cars2Go that didn't, Zipped cars that got unzipped, and other flashy transport flotsam that either die, get bought, or limp off into the dayglo night. One of 10 survives by charging enough to profit, but at horrible historic capital cost, certainly never to be reclaimed. Oh, and electric bikes do well.
  10. Major discoveries are made in cancer and computing together, as accuracy and scale of integration into safe and efficacious treatments dwarf the past pace of advances. Life is complex, and it requires complex mathematics to be its proper partner.
  11. Unicorn collapses eat's business model of VC frat-boy poker, and new high valuations are based on discoveries, profits, and/or real business.

(Ok, that was 11, but I couldn't resist.)

I hope these predictions shed a little light on where we're headed - and why - and I look forward to working with all of you to make the most of the coming year. Properly understood, there are plenty of new opportunities, particularly for those who have chosen true innovation over copying and theft.

A year from now, we'll review these predictions and see how they turned out. Meanwhile, members can look back at our predictions for last year in the "Upgrades" section below, together with the accuracy ratings we've assigned them.

Finally: in the spirit of the New Year, we are opening this first issue of 2020 as shareable by members with others.


Your comments are always welcome.


Mark R. Anderson


Strategic News Service LLC
P.O. Box 1969
Friday Harbor, WA 98250 USA
Tel.: 360-378-3431
Fax: 360-378-7041

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Takeout Window


Top Ten Predictions from 2019, Graded

  1. Autonomous vehicles quickly ramp up global commercial expansion, moving from the safer "racetracks" of defined routes and neighborhoods to general metropolitan uptake in pilot cities around the world. The US leads in the technology, but China pushes the adoption. Up 37% YTY, more to come; 10 pts.

  2. The Tariff War becomes a true Economic War, as - regardless of any March 1 agreement - China continues attacks on companies and countries in each of its "Made in China 2025" target sectors, including: cars, computers, phones, AI, chips, telecom equipment, aerospace, space, renewable energy, and more. Global markets and standards split into two camps: Innovators and InfoMercs. 10 pts.

  3. MALT goes Big. First described by SNS in November 2013, the retail revolution driven by the integration of Micromapping, Advertising, Location-based tech, and wireless Transactions pops up everywhere. First adopted by Amazon Go!, we'll see MALT now emerging in major global retail outlets. Becoming an international presence; 10 pts.

  4. The five major technology battlefronts in 2019 will be:

    1. Cars: Focus on Electric, Autonomous Cars. Example: Up to six new major Chinese car companies will move into the US market.

    2. Energy. Example: Nuclear and renewable technologies. [Addendum: See also: Sinovel vs. AMSC's Danny McGahn.]

    3. Infrastructure: 5G. Example: Huawei and ZTE vs. Ericsson, Nokia, et al.

    4. AI. China's top technical target is the West's top achievement.

    5. Healthcare. The major trends of computerized medicine and personalized healthcare put Pattern Computing and affordable genetics onto a single, compelling, track. All came true; 10 pts.

  5. Facebook fails. ZuckCo is dissed and dumped by droves of the disenchanted, disabused, and disappointed, with accompanying regulatory disdain and financial drops. All true but the $; 8 pts.

  6. Clouds lose their mantle of security, despite the protestations of their respective vendors. F500 companies continue to hold back, part of a now-reinforced long-term reluctance to move crown jewels out of HQ datacenters. No one is safe, and now we all know it; 10 pts.

  7. Anger at FAANG: We need a new acronym for stock favorites. Companies that are out: QC, Apple, IBM, GM, Intel. Companies that are in: Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Softbank, Tesla. All true re: anger at FAANG, and all on outs except Apple; winners were true except Softbank; 8 pts.

  8. Elon emerges triumphant, as short sellers and negative media lose steam and Elon proves that he is who fans think he is. Stories turn from doubt and scorn back to admiration, and the world has a real hero on its hands. Both SpaceX and Tesla do well in 2019. Yep; stock at all-time high, hitting production targets, drilling tunnels in Nevada, and Gigafactories are under way in China and Germany; 10 pts.

  9. China Crash. China enters a new phase of failure and decline, as the property market - its last standing asset class - takes a dive. Global investors flee China's instability. The US, German, and Nordic economies remain relatively strong. The property market was buoyed by the CCP, went up, now going down again - same with banks and loans, on a seesaw; 9 pts.

  10. AI expands. As AI goes wide and brings increased business returns per sector - but declining returns per year per company - new mathematical approaches used in unsupervised data runs provide the early shoots for the next generation of large-scale business returns. This becomes more generally known as Pattern Discovery. Lots of new shoots in the AI field, even as old-school AI expands; 10 pts.

  11. A new paradigm in the SNS "How the World Works" program: Above Flow and Interaction: Energy and Geometry. Discovery-Driven Design. (OK, we cheated by quietly adding one to last year's list, because we found it so attractive.)



(Inventing Nations vs. Nation-sponsored Theft of Intellectual Property)

This section highlights current stories regarding IP theft - or,
   Who's stealing from whom?

For more on the SNS INVNT/IP division, and how your company can get privileged access to our information, go to:



The U.S.-China Trade Deal: A Tentative Win for American National Security

US Senators Oppose China's Nomination for WIPO Head

China-Based Cyber Espionage Group Targeting Orgs in 10 Countries

Russia Up in Arms Over Chinese Theft of Military Technology

Worse and Worse: More Evidence of Chinese Theft and Human Rights Abuses

Chinese Researcher at Harvard Detained for Stealing Trade Secrets

Florida House to Probe Chinese Infiltration of State-Funded Cancer Research Center



Russian Hackers Pose Increasing Threat to UK's National Security, GCHQ Chief Warns

US Indicted Russian Hackers


Company Interest

5G Technology Has Stirred Up Troublesome Geopolitical Issues

General Interest

SEC Sets Disclosure Expectations on IP Risks Associated with International Operations




Re: SNS: Asia Letter, Q1 2020: Japan and the EU

Mark [and Russ Daggatt],

China Plays US As Media and Military Go Missing

Scott Foster

[Author, Stealth Japan
Partner and Analyst, JA Research
and SNS Ambassador for Asia Research


Scott and Mark,

There is a large element of truth to this, but it overstates the case. It is not inherently corrupt to engage China. It works in both directions. As the rewards of working peacefully and constructively with the other country increase - on both sides - the likelihood of escalating conflict decreases. By all means we should be smart and self-interested in the rules and incentives we negotiate. But it's not binary - naivete or war.

The last 30 years has seen hundreds of millions of people in China, India and elsewhere lifted out of subsistence poverty. The human race has never before experienced anything like it. Some of that has come at the expense of our manufacturing base. But the US has steadily increased its manufacturing output during all that time. We have done it with far fewer workers thanks to technology and capital investments. 

President Obama came into office determined to "pivot to Asia" to counter the long-term emergence of China (after climate change, the biggest geopolitical challenge of the 21st Century). That required reducing our engagements in the Middle East (which he felt have been a drain on our attention and resources out of proportion with our strategic interests). That, in turn, required getting Iran to dismantle its nuclear program (the hottest spark in the region). And, at its core, building a rules-based Asia Pacific alliance under US leadership, and excluding China - the TPP. At the same time, increasing mutually-beneficial economic ties, and exposing their best and brightest to US institutions and thought - I think that was a more effective strategy than a tariff war and belligerent bullying (Chinese, like us, are proud nationalists and aren't inclined to acquiesce in zero-sum humiliation).

Russ Daggatt

[Founding General Partner
Denny Hill Capital
Seattle, WA]

P.S. I find it tragically ironic that China is corroding our society with exports of fentanyl, mirroring the Western use of opium to weaken the Qing dynasty in the 19th Century. 



Obama may have been better in Asia in terms of foreign policy. My frame of reference is the Middle East... where he was a disaster. I'm willing to accept that for Asia he was likely better... much likely better.

Greg Ness

[Marketing maven
and SNS Ambassador for Cloud Computing
San Jose, CA]


Mark and friends,

TPP was blatantly the very first thing on Two Scoops's list of endeavors to destroy, as part of his contract with Putin and Xi etc to destroy American influence in the world. It was HALF of his mission. Because had TPP stood, all of Asia would have been united with us. While TPP might have been imperfect, it was on-off. When we dropped it, the Philippines and Vietnam and all the rest began scurrying to bow before Beijing.

David Brin

[Author and Physicist
and SNS Ambassador for Science Fiction
Encinitas, CA]


Mark and friends,

Russ, I agree except when you introduce Obama as foreign policy strategist.... for which I heartedly disagree.

Greg Ness


Greg, Mark, and friends,

The biggest Obama win re Middle East. While fracking has its problems we'll pay for, under his admin the US became energy independent for the first time since 1968. We took our vulnerable fleet out of the Straits of Hormuz. We gained the ability to say F--off to the Middle East and they could see it coming, with Saudi and Israel holding talks. What's the beef again?

David Brin


Mark and friends,

What, specifically, was wrong with President Obama's strategic approach to the Middle East?

Which elements, in particular:

1/ Built a broad international coalition, including Russia and China, imposing crippling sanctions on Iran with the explicit goal of forcing them to dismantle their nuclear program. (That coalition and those sanctions would not have been possible in furtherance of regime change or other goals.)

2/ Negotiate the peaceful dismantling of Iran's nuclear program and the most intrusive inspection regime ever agreed to by any country. Are we better off without that agreement?

3/ Fulfilling the requirements of Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq signed by Bush in November 2008, requiring the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. Overall, withdrawing 170,000 US troops from the Middle East. Would we better off with those troops still in the Middle East?

4/ Fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq through an alliance with the Kurds that entailed a minimal US footprint. Would we have been better off with more US troops directly engaged in that war? 

The end result was to free up our attention and resources to focus on Asia. 

And where are we now? We alienated our allies by walking away from the Iran nuclear deal. Iran is ramping up its nuclear program again. We have betrayed the Kurds. We are tilting policy in the region heavily toward the corrupt, authoritarian Medieval royal family of Saudi Arabia. (What is our long-term strategic interest in siding with that regime in an escalating Sunni-Shia regional conflict?) And we are adding troops back to [the] region:

Trump Administration Considers 14,000 More Troops for Mideast

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is considering a significant expansion of the U.S. military footprint in the Middle East, including dozens more ships, other military hardware and as many as 14,000 additional troops to counter Iran, U.S. officials said.

The deployment could double the number of U.S. military personnel who have been sent to the region since the start of a troop buildup in May. President Trump is expected to make a decision on the new deployments as soon as this month, those officials said.

The additional forces would join the roughly 14,000 U.S. service members sent to the region since May, when American intelligence analysts identified a threat from Iran and the U.S. Central Command commander, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, requested additional ships, missile-defense platforms and troops....

I'll take President Obama's Middle East "disaster" any day. 

Russ Daggatt


Subj: Re: China plays US as media and military go missing


I agree with Russ and David about the Middle East. What is this nonsense? American "intelligence analysts" identified a threat from Iran in May? It's a yo-yo. Send troops, bring troops home, send troops, bring them home. No strategy, no plan for victory, just send the cannon fodder to keep the commanders and military industrial complex happy. No permanent war, no job, no budget. Trump may think he looks Presidential in that photo with troops, but he is joining the stupid wars he complained about and which more than half of the electorate and more than 60% of Middle East war veterans oppose. 

As for Asia, Trump was a Japan basher and a tariff advocate in the 1980s. He'd been waiting to impose them - and shut down the trade agreements that made them impossible - for decades. And he wanted to undo anything Obama did just because Obama did it. And don't forget, Hillary also turned against TPP, correctly reading the changing attitude of American voters toward one way, job killing, exceedingly expensive "free" trade. 

So, led by Japan and Australia, the other countries involved formed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as TPP-11 (the old TPP minus the US) and Japan entered into trade, investment and strategic agreements with the EU. No one went scurrying off to China - they already did a lot of trade with China, usually more than with the US. Trump's withdrawal from the TPP - combined with protectionism and China's ongoing trade liberalization - means that the US offers allies no growth while helping force China to open up. Which it is doing for everyone except the US. All of them - Japanese, Europeans, Southeast Asians - are expanding business with China while America shuts itself out (it used to complain about being shut out) and China steadily reduces its dependence on the US. A serious own-goal for Trump and a long-term negative for the US. 

Which is what happens when shit floats to the top of a grossly mismanaged, gerrymandered, money and media driven democracy. 

Scott Foster


Mark and friends,

Don't worry, Princeling Jared will solve all the problems with our China trade relationships, having brought about Middle East peace and building The Wall (with Mexico paying):

[And, later:]

Forget nukes, the insults are escalating!

Russ Daggatt


Mark and friends,

While threatening the lives of every American west of the Rockies... a murderous communist tyrant far more seriously threatens to retract "falling in love."

It's okay, Trump is also in love with other communist and "ex"-communist dictators, whose path in the world he has assiduously helped for three years while demolishing our alliances and sciences and skilled officer corps and every fact-using profession. They'll show him more gratitude, perhaps?

(Not a chance, the instant they see him as more a liability than useful. God Bless the US Secret Service.)

I address some of Putin's "liability options" in Polemical Judo.

David Brin


Mark and friends,

Jared is definitely a problem... along with Donald.

Greg Ness


Mark and friends,

Back to China: While I am somewhat more hawkish than Zakaria, I'm in general agreement with the views he articulates here:

I think it is a useful perspective. 

Russ Daggatt


Mark and friends,

Yes, it is a very good article. It is too long to comment on in detail, but this strikes me as important:

It is worth noting that on the economic front, almost every charge leveled at China today - forced technology transfers, unfair trade practices, limited access for foreign firms, regulatory favoritism for locals - was leveled at Japan in the 1980s and 1990s. At the time, Clyde Prestowitz's influential book Trading Places: How America Is Surrendering Its Future to Japan and How to Win It Back explained that the United States had never imagined dealing with a country in which "industry and trade [would be] organized as part of an effort to achieve specific national goals." 

"never imagined" - Really? The U.S. fought and won WWII with a command economy. America's continental railways and interstate expressways were built without national strategic purpose? I am a fan of Prestowitz, but this is rubbish. Washington, DC, was self-absorbed, that's all, the politicians and the institutions designed to analyze the rest of the world failing to do their job, as usual. They were blindsided by Japan, failed to understand Vietnam, screwed up with the Shah of Iran, indulged in wishful thinking with China, and the list goes on. 

Look at the photo of Bolsonaro smiling with the other BRICS leaders. Trump has done a Great Deal with China - for Brazil.

Scott Foster


Subj: This while they're complaining about Huawei's treatment...


Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) Tweeted:

Just published: front page of the Financial Times, UK edition, Monday 9 December

William Lohse

Social Starts LP and the Pivot Conference
NYC, San Francisco, and Tokyo]

[And ]


Subject: wow. I first heard this from you last week. You've got a friend.


Gordon G. Chang (@GordonGChang) Tweeted:

#China is divorcing the outside world. To protect ourselves, is it time to start barring Chinese nationals from employment in the US? Forget the failed notion of "proportionality." Our response to Beijing's discrimination must be overwhelming.

William Lohse


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