As we bid a fond fair well to 2017, we look ahead to the Coming new year of 2018. Predictions of the future can be a tricky thing, even if one claims to have the powers of a Nostradamus. However, certain trends can be analyzed and conclusions drawn. On the other hand, wildcard events can occur that will upend even the most thoughtful consideration of things to come.

No wave election in 2018

Democrats, still reeling from the election of Donald Trump, are looking forward to a repudiation of the president in the form of a Wave Election in 2018, capturing both the House and Senate.

Elections in Virginia and Alabama, polling data, and history point to the Republicans taking a beating. However, specific facts would tend to mitigate against a wipeout of the GOP.

First, the economy is likely to be booming in 2018. The combination of deregulation and tax cuts are going to spark economic growth and job creation that has not been seen in the current century. An infrastructure building program is also likely to create a lot of jobs in the coming year.

Also, Democrats are not only going to overreach but will start paying for sins of the past. No one is going to want to elect a party whose first promise is to impeach the president of the other party. Also, revelations of how the policies of the Obama administration led to disasters both at home and abroad as well as the moral and legal corner-cutting committed by Hillary Clinton will help to create revulsion.

In short, the Republicans may lose a handful of seats in the House but gain a few in the Senate, where Democrats have more to defend. The result will be a status quo election.

Technological advances will continue to change civilization for the better

Medical science will continue to roll out new and better treatments for diseases, especially cancer.

People who can avoid becoming addicted the opioids, a factor in a slight decrease in life expectancy, will continue to leave longer and healthier lives. Fortunately, better ways are being found to mitigate chronic paid.

The rise of autonomous vehicles will start to change the way we go from place to place. A lot of the drudgery and stress of driving is going to be shifted to the control of computers.

More people will opt out of owning cars altogether, choosing to use ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. More cars will run on electricity, freeing them from dependence on the gas pump.

The advent of artificial intelligence and robotics will cause creative destruction in the economy, destroying some jobs but also creating new ones. People who keep ahead of this trend and educate themselves accordingly will prosper the most.

2018 will also be the year Earth starts heading back to the moon. A number of both commercial and national (India and China) to land on the moon will begin in the coming year. We will have a greater understanding of how President Trump’s push to go back to the moon is going to take shape.

The SpaceX proposed flight around the moon may happen by the end of the year.

Wildcard events

Of course, the occurrence of wildcard events always has the potential of derailing, at least temporarily, long-term trends. A war in Korea, an armed revolution in Iran, or a really horrific mass casualty terrorist attack could dominate 2018. As someone once said, predictions can be hard, especially about the future.