The world is progressing more rapidly than ever, and new technology trends are emerging every day. These technology trends will change the world by completely redesigning our future and our lifestyle. These are five technology trends that are rapidly developing and will define the next decade.
#1: Artificial Intelligence
Sometimes called machine intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (AI) progressed quickly from the basic computer that did some calculations to sophisticated machines. IBM developed Deep Blue, the first supercomputer that showed AI capabilities.
A chess-playing computer beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. While science-fiction films portray AI as intelligent, human-like robots, AI does it differently. It extends from Google’s search algorithms to autonomous weapons and self-driving cars.
AI is often based on the use of algorithms. Thus, a mechanical computer executes unambiguous instructions. Many AI algorithms can learn from and enhance data. They can even write other algorithms themselves.
At core, programmers built AI with the purpose to simulate and even replicate human intelligence in machines. Artificial Intelligence machines learn from experience, adjust and perform tasks similar to humans.
Many fields, such as healthcare, automotive, military, cyber-security, finance and economics, already use AI. It assists doctors in diagnosing and treating patients. It also helps the development of the automotive industry through the evolution of self-driving vehicles.
Financial institutions have long used it to detect charges and claims outside the norm. Cyber-security uses AI solutions to sort the data into low-risk and high-risk information. This enables security teams to deal with attacks that have the potential to harm the organisation. The military has also shown an interest in AI to integrate it into drones and weapons.
Artificial Intelligence is a controversial subject. Most researchers believe that AI is unlikely to intentionally become benevolent or malevolent. However, many big names in science and technology, like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, have expressed their concerns. Because it has the potential to be more intelligent than humans, we cannot predict how it will behave.
Though disputed, AI has many applications and advantages. It is up to humans how AI will be used.
Virtual Reality (VR) has existed for longer than one might think. Morton Heilig patented the first VR headset, the “Telesphere Mask”, in the 1960s. Virtual reality simulates experiences that are similar to the real world. Entertainment, especially video games, is its main use. Yet education, like medical or military training, also utilises it.
Users employ virtual reality systems with multi-projected environments or with virtual reality headsets. These generate images, sensations and sounds that appear as real as possible. Driving simulators provide the driver with the sensation of actually being behind the wheel. In applications such as aeroplane simulation, construction modelling or robot navigation, modelling the real environment is extremely important. Marriot takes pride in offering its customers the possibility to get from London to Maui in 90 seconds. Oculus helps to do all of this.
However, as technology trends go, VR is not all about fun and games. Healthcare currently makes wide use of the technology, helping to treat anxiety, depression and PTSD, and apparently being a real success. Doctors use it as a diagnostic tool and even for robotic surgery. That is when a human surgeon controls a robotic device to perform surgery, reducing the risk of complications.
The military uses virtual reality for flight and battlefield simulation. The construction industry also benefits from the VR applications, as it can easily simulate the construction of a building.
Virtual reality is only at its beginnings and there is more to be expected.
#3: Big Data
Every day humans produce data, such as emails, online articles, videos, social media posts and more. All this dataset is called Big Data. Companies analyse and process too large or complex datasets with the help of Big Data.
Volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and value characterise Big Data.
Volume is the quantity of data generated and stored. Every minute we produce volumes of digital data: thousands of photos on Instagram, millions of emails, billions of instant messages. Two big companies, Google and Facebook, collect the most part of this data.
Velocity refers to the speed at which new data is developed and processed. We can often access Big Data as it is developed almost continuously and in real-time.
Variety refers to the type and nature of data. Big data comes in various types such as videos, images, texts, and others.
Veracity is the reliability and credibility of the data. Not all data is authentic. Some messages on Twitter, for example, may include typographical errors, technical inaccuracies.
Value refers to the utility and profit that can be generated from Big Data.
Big Data has applications in many fields. It allows for predictive analysis, with wide usage in healthcare, agriculture, education, media and marketing. It is not important how much data you have, but what you do with it. Analysed correctly, Big Data can enable cost and time reductions, new product developments, and smart decision-making.
#4: 3D Printers
In recent years, 3D printers, have rapidly evolved. Now they’re at the point where certain 3D printing processes are usable as industrial-production technology. Objects are modelled in a 3D software or scanners. A 3D printer then produces them by overlapping thin layers of materials. With 3D printing, we can produce shapes and geometries so complex that would be impossible to make by hand.
3D printers have applications in many fields. Industries include medicine, robotics, jewellery, food, armament, architecture, aeronautics, marketing. There even exist 3D nano printers, that print on a scale of only a few microns. The 3D nano printer, Nanoscribe, uses lasers and rotating mirrors to print. It directs beams to create multi-layer structures by polymerisation.
On the other hand, some 3D printers are able to print objects of a few metres. Thus, one can print large pieces of wood to assemble a house, for example. Of course, a 3D printed wooded house would present problems of insulation and resistance, not to talk about legislative problems.
3D bioprinting has been developed over time, printing live tissue and circulatory systems to create artificial skin or even organs. It can print scale models of patients’ anatomy and structure. This allows doctors to better study a medical problem and hopefully quickly find a solution. The impact of 3D printing on medicine is truly astonishing.
3D printing can greatly benefit the aerospace industry. This is true since it can manufacture more complex parts. Moreover, it can achieve weight reductions using industrial 3D printing. This significantly decreases costs. Also, more efficient engines and lightweight parts will reduce fuel consumption and, therefore, lower CO2 emissions.
#5: Self-Driving Cars
As Artificial Intelligence and other technology trends continue to expand, self-driving cars are closer to becoming reality. Many expect autonomous driving to decrease accident numbers.
A self-driving car or an autonomous vehicle has the technology to sense the environment. It also safely moves with little or no human input. It is a vehicle equipped with sensors such as radar, GPS, sonar, lidars, cameras and ultrasonic sensors. All of these things help the car perceive the environment. All these sensors collect data that software then processes. Then, artificial intelligence algorithms decide which actions to perform, controlling the steering wheel, the accelerator, the breaks and not only.
The building of self-driving vehicles can imply the development of robotic taxis, a fleet of self-driving trucks or buses that could completely change the transport sector. Self-driving cars may be the solution to reduce the number of accidents and decrease the ever-rising levels of pollution.
As autonomous vehicles develop over time, they have been classified according to various levels of autonomy. There are six levels of driving automation, from no automation to full automation:
- Level 0 (no automation) means that the driver fully controls all vehicle functions but, the on-board computer can assist the driver, issuing audible alerts.
- Level 1 (hands on) means that both the driver and the automated system can control the vehicle at the same time. The on-board computer can control either speed or direction, so the drivers need to control the other function and to control the vehicle.
- Level 2 (hands off) means that the automated system has full control of the vehicle, but the driver must be ready to intervene at any time should the automated system fail to respond accordingly.
- Level 3 (eyes off) means that the on-board computer fully controls the vehicle and the driver can focus on other activities. However, this function is useful in pre-defined situations, like driving on a motorway. The automated system assesses all situations and invites the driver to retake control if it detects a situation that it cannot handle. Examples of such automated systems are the highway pilot or automatic parking.
- Level 4 (mind off) means that the automated system entirely controls the vehicle, while the driver can read a newspaper or even take a nap. This can happen in predefined areas, such as driving on a motorway or parking. When the vehicle leaves the predefined area, the driver should take control. However, if the driver fails to take control, the vehicle is able to react accordingly.
- Level 5 (full automation) means that the on-board computer is able to drive the vehicle in any situation and no human intervention is required at all.
Important, regarding technology trends, self-driving cars can be one of the first actual applications of artificial intelligence and will change our habits and the way transportation is performed.