Something about artificial boundaries makes people want to celebrate or make predictions.
If you celebrate getting through another year today, I hope you do it safely.
I don't think I can make worthwhile predictions, at least about SL... but I can say what I hope for.
Improvements in appearance: just compare the appearance of SL to that of any traditional game. (UPDATE: make that "current game"; we can all agree SL beats Pong all to heck when it comes to graphics...) Windlight is a great advance, as are sculpted prims, but SL is still full of cardboard cutout landscaping and infamously low-res avatar shapes, and the drawbacks of implementing clothing as painted-on textures are well-known.
Improvements in performance: I've not studied how SL works, and have no idea of where bottlenecks might be, but I do wonder about one thing: if much of the time, most sims are empty or nearly so, wouldn't it be possible to share resources among sims as long as it can be done in a fair way? I'm sure of another thing: compiling scripts down to a bytecode that is both more efficiently executable and already has serious optimization work done for it desperately needs to happen.
Improvements in user interface: There's work being done on this already, but I'm hoping that there will be even more. One thing I'd love to see: a data glove UI, so that Deaf SL residents can communicate with one another in sign in SL.
Improvements in reliability: There are enough people clamoring for that, lamentably, and IMHO misguidedly, to the exclusion of all else... so I don't have to.