Your Presents-as-a-Service project will weave together disparate technologies and change the meaning of gift giving forever. The heart of the project will be a tree with a 3D printer built into its base. On Christmas Eve, the tree will analyze the brainwaves of everyone sleeping in the house and then, as they gather in the morning, print out the exact gifts they hope for – including things they dreamt about but forgot upon waking. There will be gasps of surprise, laughs of delight, and the persistent festive whirring of the printer as it makes dreams come true.
Your team will pilot a new mobile work initiative where everyone uses a smart watch and nothing else – no phones, no laptops, just watches. Your abilities are considerable, but shifting your entire workflow to a smart watch tests your limits. Custom apps help fill some of the gaps, but the screen real estate is challenging. Look to a colleague for the answer: he will be the one wearing a dozen smart watches up and down both forearms and demonstrating how a movie can be played on them by stitching the displays together through software. It’s impressive, but you can’t help but feel there’s another way to go.
With the majority of planets in the northern sector of the horoscope, you’ll get a lot of new ideas through dreams. Instead of trying to jot them down in the middle of the night, set up your phone to record whatever you mutter in your sleep. The recordings will be incoherent, but you can train an AI to glean sense from them. This pipeline of ideas, from dream to machine learning-interpreted text, will prove to be extraordinarily fruitful, and will only get richer when the AI itself begins to dream.
The history department at your school will request something that demonstrates the history of computing. You can fulfill their request with a design modelled on the Antikythera Mechanism, the bronze alloy analogue computer wrested from a shipwreck off Greece and dating to about 70 BC. Your “Antikythera Mechanism 2” will be superior in every way: not corroded by salt water, gears intact, and not only able to predict astronomical positions and eclipses but also the movement of the stock market. As for the children, they’ll enjoy turning the gears and experiencing a computer whose bones are laid bare for them to see and feel.
8K displays are on every gamer’s wish list this holiday, which is frustrating because the human eye doesn’t see in that resolution and the benefits are debatable. But this month, you’ll see a way to reconcile this problem. The bionic eyes you’ll create will indeed be capable of perceiving 8K resolution and beyond. Selling them as a bundle with 8K displays will provide incredible value. However, some will complain that the bionic eyes make the real world look too grainy. There’s nothing else to do: you need to upgrade the resolution of reality. Somehow.
This month, Santa will know who’s been naughty and who’s been nice with the aid of a machine learning application that pulls in data from children’s mobile devices. As an IT consultant, you’ll ensure their personal data is anonymized; Santa will only see a judgment of each child’s moral worth on a piece of ticker tape hundreds of miles long.
You’ll enter your company’s annual holiday baking competition with an oven of your own design, trained on millions of uploaded gingerbread cookie recipes and methods. Your cookies will be a triumph of texture, flavour and machine learning, but somehow only win third place.
In a moment of inattention you sign up for a new phone plan without realizing that it provides a device for everyone in the family, including your dog. The dog, being a dog, finds its new canine-friendly phone before you can return it. It attempts to video call you every five minutes, all day, and leaves whimpering voice messages. Sad puppy emojis drown out important messages. Your attempts to block messages from your dog are futile, because it inexplicably has administrative privileges over the family’s devices, including your own. You settle in for a power struggle that in your heart you know you’ve already lost.
Calamity will strike in the form of snow drifting through an open window into the server room. Don’t panic – upon examination and testing, it’s revealed to be packing snow. As such, rather than frying any equipment, it will gather in tidy, discrete piles that will cool the room. Monitor the situation, of course, but for now you can open more windows.
This month, a colleague will go too far and you will be powerless to stop it. His obsession with creating the ideal conditions for data centres will lead him to the development of a contraption that intermittently blocks out the sun and thus cools the planet. As a knock-on effect, it will also reverse global warming and arguably save humanity from extinction. “I just wanted to build more data centres,” he’ll shrug as the press lauds him as a genius and saviour. Privately, you’ll be thankful you did nothing to intervene.
Your team will be asked to participate in an episode of a new reality TV show that chronicles renovations – specifically, IT overhauls. For the first time, many viewers will understand the challenges, the artistry, and the drama inherent in your work. You’ll have some concerns, however. Editing an office IT refresh down to 20 minutes loses too much nuance, you believe. But be careful what you wish for – if you voice your concerns, the producers will address them by turning the show into a 24-hour livestream, and you’ll be contractually obligated to participate.
The costs of GPS technology have come down enough that Santa will be outfitting his entire team with GPS tracking noses, in case any get separated from the pack. But to keep the GPS running in remote locations, they need continuous Wi-Fi access. When your SIEM detects network activity from the North Pole, do not be alarmed. Tis but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.