these 5 emotions will dominate 2016 (Wired UK)


This article is a preview of The WIRED World in 2016, our fourth annual trends report in which our network of expert writers and influencers predicts what’s coming next. The standalone magazine is on sale now in all good newsagents or through our iPad and iPhone app. Here, some of WIRED’s writers share their predictions for the year ahead.

A few days ago I noticed, with some alarm, that 2016 was approaching. Over a cold cup of tea I watched it stalking towards me, slinking across the fourth dimension with unsettling poise.

In an instant, horror struck: I knew the new year’s arrival could mean only one thing. Sooner or later, I was going to have to predict what it would contain.

Dread washed over my brain like a dropped mug of cold tea, soaking into my clammy hands, drenching my barely-conscious mind in terror and foreboding, and tea.

But then a report arrived in my inbox that solved my problem. For this one email confirmed that (a) not only was I right to fear and agonise over the prospect of 2016, but that (b) in a very real sense, that sensation of angst was in itself research for this column.

Why? Because it turns out, according to a report by Havas PR contained within that email, fear itself is set to be a key trend in 2016.

Havas PR predicts in its annual predictions fluff that that “for 2016, a sense of unease (and fear) is the übertrend”. The email — which is real — explained that fear “pervades much of life [in 2016] giving everyone a lingering feeling that things aren’t as they should be”.

The PR company goes on to explain that a few key factors will contribute to this “constant struggle” over the next 52 weeks. These include mounting gadgets, a pervasive sense of unease caused by terrorist atrocities, over-protective parenting and, most oddly of all, the death of “preparing meals from fresh raw ingredients”. Havas CEO Marian Salman adds that we will “become more fearful and uneasy about looming threats” in 2016, “whether that’s keeping children out of harm’s way, tech addiction, climate change or any of hundreds of other worries”.

Anecdotally, fright does indeed seem to be something of a trend: in the early stages of the ever-more depressing US elections, fear of terrorism has eclipsed the economic and social optimism that elevated the 2008 contest. Fear of immigration, private communications, and normal people browsing the internet without the constant supervision of our nation’s espionage infrastructure are also major themes, and fears, in the world of tech. A looming sense of major health and governmental crises, and a stalling industrial boom slowing the “app” revolution’s momentum, hardly help.

True, part of me in reading Havas’ anaysis maintained the belief that the agency was being risibly glib and transparently shallow by reducing an entire, yet-to-be-lived year to one negative emotion.


But another, lazier part of me realised that this might be an excellent strategy to finish my predictions column before the year actually began.

To that end, I have compiled five other indefinable human feelings, each without an accurate English translation, which I expect to be “big” in 2016.

The WIRED World in 2016, our fourth annual trends report in which our network of expert writers and influencers predicts what’s coming next. The standalone magazine is on sale now in all good newsagents or through our iPad and iPhone app.

Pena ajena 

(Spanish) ’embarrassment at someone else’s humiliation’

The prospects of major humiliations politically (the US election of Donald Trump, the EU referendum), culturally (the Superman Vs Batman movie), sporting (Euro 2016, the Rio Olympics) and environmental (the environment generally) are expansive in 2016. Expect the entire world to watch the rest of the world in awkward, pena ajenda-tinged embarrassment even as they are riven with their own, first-hand shame and ignominy.


(Dutch) ‘comfort at being together with loved ones at home’

As technology continues to infuse and defuse through our entire social lives, expect humanoids to become more loving and well-natured at home, spreading a powerful sense of Gezelligheid through the entire culture — even while secretly looking at their phones in the toilet, talking to their real friends.


(German) ‘the feeling of being alone in the woods’

Solitude will prove increasingly difficult to attain and maintain in 2016: expect the silent and monastic calm that is felt while walking through a dark forest or wood to be a popular emotion in the coming year.


(Japanese) ‘a troublesome act performed for you by another for which you are required to be grateful, but which you tried to avoid having them do’

The commercial release of virtual reality headsets will lead to profound sensations of arigata-meiwaku across the world in 2016.


(Portuguese) melancholic longing for a feeling of joy that will never return

If 2016 is really as bad as Havas PR expects, billions will experience this emotion in 2016 as they realise that, all told, 2015 wasn’t as terrible as they thought at the time.

Major advances in science, space travel, technology and creativity? Greater exposure to art, communications and victories over major diseases? A good Star Wars movie?

In reality, 2015 was nothing to be afraid of after all.

And, even as the world seems more confusing and difficult (at least to those employed by PR agencies) WIRED suspects that 2016 probably won’t be either. Embrace your inner Gezelligheid this holiday season, and — if you’re going to feel pena ajena at all — feel it on behalf of Havas PR.

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24 December 2015 | 9:00 am – Source:


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