A look back and forward at the biggest tech stories

Technology is advancing swiftly. So it will be little surprise that 2012 will go down as being a year that saw technology firm up its hold on the imagination of the U.S. public. Everything from how the election was covered to the way consumers handled their holiday shopping was influenced by technology this year. And next year? That appears to be another big year in technology.Here is a look back at the tech trends of this past year and look forward to what could be the important tech stories of 2013.

Obama’s grip on election tech

The 2012 presidential election was supposed to be a nail biter. At the end of the day it wasn’t. Pres. Obama won reelection with over 300 Electoral College votes, turning away a late challenge by opponent Mitt Romney. Part of the credit has to go to Obama’s superior polling technology, referred to as Narwhal. Obama knew exactly which voters he had to attract. And he aimed at those voters with laser-like precision throughout the election campaign. Romney’s vaunted Project Orca, meant to work as a massive get-out-the-vote machine for Romney, ended up as an epic failure. Orca even crashed during election day, dealing a major setback to a campaign that had been already struggling. Technology also changed the way newspapers and Internet sites reported on the election. Throughout the 2012 campaign, candidates were fact-checked very quickly during debates and campaign speeches by reporters and fact-checkers using Twitter. It’s safe to say that neither candidates nor reporters will ever view election campaigns in the same way.

Drones

Technology is changing how the U . S . battles terrorists. Unmanned Predator drones made headlines in 2012, especially as their deadly strikes claimed a number of the United State’s most-wanted terrorists. The drones, of course, were never without critics. Some worried they will be used to spy on law-abiding citizens. Others worried that drone strikes routinely claim the lives of civilians along with terrorists and other military goals. What’s not up for debate, though, is the fact that unmanned drones will continue to become a significant weapon in the United States’ war on terror. As drone technology improves, their accuracy and effectiveness stand to increase.

The coming year

What does 2013 hold for tech? Look for consumers to spend even more of their dollars on tech. And this holds true even if a second recession should grip the country. People are getting used to surfing the net and reading e-mail messages on smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices. They’re more willing than ever to spend in the convenience that comes with mobile technology. Expect, too, to see the popularity of tablets and smart phones only increase. These items already ranked as several of the hottest of the holiday shopping season. There is no reason to expect this trend will slow in 2013. Finally, don’t be surprised technology reach an increasing number of emerging nations in 2013. And this is great news: A global tech boom will connect our planet’s inhabitants. That can only be a good thing.

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