As we get ready to say goodbye to 2018 it is time to look back on the years biggest tech story and how events of this year will shape our future in 2019.
There's probably no bigger story this year than the mess that is Facebook.
Month after month reports highlighted the social network's mistakes with leadership making poor decisions and failing users' trust.
The biggest blunder was the data breach tied to Cambridge Analytica.
The political consulting firm exploited loopholes and used shady methods to collect personal data.
On 87 million Facebook users and that info was harvested to make targeted ads that would influence Trump's Presidential campaign in the 2016 election, and influence Brexit in the UK.
We will enter the New Year questioning Facebook's influence on our lives and question our trust in the communication tool or, if the tool needs to be treated more like a utility with government regulation.
with all of Facebook's mistakes we even saw Apples CEO Tim Cook speak out against Facebook calling for more government regulation.
And speaking of government oversight, this year marked the start of the general data protection regulation in the European Union, or GDPR for short.
At its core, GDPR is a new set of rules designed to give EU citizens more control of their personal data, privacy and consent to what happens to their data, and if there is a data breach well the company needs to promptly tell users or else Face large fines as a penalty.
But GDPR didn't just make a difference for folks in the EU, many large online companies that do business in the EU are applying some of these transparency standards to all their customers regardless of location.
Just a month after the law was enacted, reports of data breaches increased dramatically.
2018 was also a big year for massive corporate mergers that will change your tech and media landscape.
AT&T won its case against the justice department to finalize its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.
And Time Warner owns HBO, CNN and other trigger networks.
So get ready for your AT&T service to push more content from Time Warner program.
Disney is buying up the rights to by 21st Century Fox film and TV studios, along with some cable channels like FX, all for $71.3 billion.
It means Disney is the majority owner now of Hulu streaming service.
You know, right as Disney is also about to launch its own streaming service.
Shareholders approved the organization this past summer, the deal is expected to be completed the first if January, and that means we're gonna have to see how Fox's franchises like the X Men and the Simpsons fit into the Disney family.
And after four years of trying to hook up, T Mobile and Sprint may finally get together with a $26 billion deal arguing that together they could be stronger to invest in a 5G network But it's not a done deal just yet, although it received shareholder approval the merger is currently on hold with the Federal Communications Commission.
As it needed more time to examine the transaction.
Now that's not the only thing changing in the mobile world.
Apple is changing our phones by leading the trend of the notch.
You know, the dark cutout in the top of the screen that holds the front facing camera, speaker, and other sensors?
Now, of course the first phone with a notch in an edge to edge scene was from a lesser known startup called Essential, founded by the former head of Android, but Apple's iPhone 10 was the first mainstream phone with a notch, and many folks poked fun at it, but this was just the start of a new movement this year in cellphone design.
The newest members of the notch club include the LG G7, the [UNKNOWN] 8. ASUS [UNKNOWN] phone five, and the Google Pixel three XL, get ready for more [UNKNOWN] in 2019.
But one technoligical achievement may change our lives more than we realized in the near future, I'm talking about Google Duplex.
A human sounding artificial intelligence system They can talk to people over the phone to do scheduling tasks for you like booking restaurant reservations and making hair appointments on your behalf.
In a demo during the Google IO Conference in May, Google showed how Duplex was so smooth and natural sounding, filled with little quirks of conversation like uhms and huhs, yeahs, and I got yous that a human may not know they're talking to a robot.
The wow factor became a creep factor, and to answer concerns, Google said going forward the system would include a disclosure, maybe introducing itself as a Google Assistant.
Google is currently testing the tech in a limited area, but in 2019 you'll need to start questioning if the caller on the other line is a real human or a robot.