Welcome to 2015, people of Canada.
To help get your year started, we have asked the Internet to predict the economic issues, technological advances and scientific breakthroughs that you will most likely hear about during the next 12 months.
How do you get the Internet to make predictions, you ask?
Simple. You Google "what to expect in 2015," and after you eliminate the links about the exciting outlook in food regulation (more labelling!) and the optimism of the mayor of La Crosse, Wisconsin (his town is riding plenty of momentum toward a positive future), you're left with the interesting outlines of the coming year.
Here are the results, broken down from most depressing to most hopeful:
The World Economic Forum warns us that income inequality, chronic joblessness, fervid nationalism, rising pollution, water stress and severe storms are all headline topics that will bring you right down in 2015. Arguably, bringing you right down is the role of an organization dedicated to improving the world using the twin tools of international monetary policy and seven-star hotels. For the world to get better, the political leaders, business tycoons, hereditary monarchs, Irish rock stars and Hollywood movie actors who can change it need to feel worse! Consequently, the World Economic Forum's top topics at its annual winter meeting in Davos, Switzerland, will not be income equality, jobfullness, fervid openmindedness, the end of pollution, perfect water tables and gentle summer rains. But a good time will still be had by all.
There will still be no instantaneous cure for the hangover in 2015, in case you were wondering right now. According to the Internet, supermodels treat theirs with Coca-Cola while Chinese scientists say to drink Sprite. Up to you, really. Try going for a walk?
There are no Hollywood films with release dates in 2015 that any nation anywhere will try to prevent from coming out.
Finally, from the fashion industry, two words: "Summer leather."
The Internet is fuzzy when it comes to predictions for investors. There seem to be remarkably easy and low-cost ways of getting rich that don't involve you ever having to leave your own home ("!!!!!"), but the sheer profusion of them coupled with the world's rising income inequality suggests they don't always work.
In fact, there is a dearth of consistent information on the Internet that everyone could follow in order to steadily grow their savings and prepare for a comfortable retirement. The number of wealth-management experts who think the economy will improve in 2015 seems to be carefully balanced by the number who think it will worsen, or will stay the same, or who advise that it remains to be seen.
Perhaps the only infallible way of knowing whether or not your personal wealth will remain adequate to your needs is if you get an invitation to attend the World Economic Forum annual winter meeting in Davos. If you do receive an invitation, you can assume that your financial outlook in 2015 is positive, and that 2016 will be pretty darn rosy, too. If you don't get an invitation, it remains to be seen.
Technology will yield an abundance of new possibilities in 2015. This year will see the rise of wearable tech, such as the Apple Watch and Google Glass. It will also bring us the first passenger car with pedestrian airbags. These are airbags that will inflate automatically across the hood of a car should sensors in the grill detect an impact with a pair of legs. At some point in 2015, a wealth-management expert looking at his Apple Watch through his Google Glasses will walk into the path of an oncoming car, be flipped onto the pedestrian airbags and get bounced through the third-floor window of a nearby office building.
Another positive trend will be the rise of conversational search phrases. Instead of typing "What to expect in 2015?", for example, a person will be able to say, "Okay, Siri, write my editorial."
Here is another interesting thing coming your way in 2015: Deep-sea mining. As the commodities available above sea level are exhausted, more countries are exploring the sea beds around their borders for what are believed to be valuable deposits of rare-earth minerals, not to mention trillions of dollars worth of copper, gold and nickel. Given the safety and environmental records of mining companies that work on dry land, and the fact that 98 per cent of ocean life is found in, on or just above the sea floor, we can't see a single downside to deep-sea mining! Not a one!
Also in 2015, the U.S. Secret Service will continue to develop computer algorithms that can detect sarcasm that isn't conveniently punctuated by ironic exclamation marks. Good luck with that!