Breaking down 5 technologies of the next decade
Although we are living in exciting times with science and technology thriving, we have never done true justice to the power of scientific discovery and innovation. As Michio Kaku wrote in his book, “predictions for the future, with a few exceptions, have always underestimated the pace of technological progress.” We are making technological breakthroughs faster than ever and our ability to do that is increasing exponentially. The year 2028 would arrive even before we realize, so what, from a technological perspective, should we look forward to seeing by then?
1) Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is one of the most exciting and talked about technological trends all set to be the big innovation in home and work technology. IoT is the network of physical devices that enables these objects to collect and exchange data through the existing internet infrastructure. Sensors with internet connectivity are placed in physical objects so that they can gather and send data for smarter and better solutions. Thanks to the internet, IoT powered devices like Alexa and Google Home have become permanent fixtures in our houses.
Domotics, or in simpler words ‘Smart Home’, is a home automation system which can connect appliances and security systems to the internet, making it easier for people to access their home devices from one place. Home automation is a huge part of the IoT concept which provides users with central control and as the initial cost to obtain the smart home technology is being brought down year-by-year, we can expect ourselves to be controlling just about anything in our homes with a click of a button by the next decade.
2) Autonomous Vehicles
Just as self-driving cars continue to dominate our conversations, imagine that possibly in a few years we’d be able to use social media or take a quick nap in the driver’s seat while the car would steer itself. Autonomous or ‘driverless’ cars use sensors and software to control and navigate the car without the assistance of a human being. Although companies like Google, Uber and Nissan have also developed the self-driving technology, the most partially-autonomous car that we can frequently see on the road is the Tesla, which currently has the ability to self-park, summon to and from a parking spot, lane centre and adaptive cruise control. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is a very ambitious entrepreneur and in the upcoming years, he may very well become the first one to introduce a fully autonomous car which can steer itself without the assistance or presence of a physical human. Automakers and technology evangelists have estimated that level 4 self-driving cars could be up for sale by 2025.
3) Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence, first conceived in 1956 by John McCarthy, is the concept of machines capably performing tasks that normally require human intervention. In contrast to the intelligence demonstrated by the humans, machines displaying their intelligence still seems like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Some of the general tasks that ‘intelligent’ machines are able to perform on their own include translating between languages, navigation, detecting malware, lip-reading (better than humans) and speech, emotions and object recognition. Machine learning, which gives computer systems the ability to use data and learn on their own, is also associated with AI, as the technology is implemented in the artificially-intelligent machines allowing them to improve themselves with the passage of time.
IoT is also inextricably connected with Artificial Intelligence as the promises of both these technologies are being realized because of the other. AI uses different algorithms to makes sense of the data about our world which the IoT sensors provide. The interconnectedness between AI and IoT means that the improvement of one will consequently create the opportunity for the other to also accelerate drastically.
4) Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality is our first introduction to the cyberworlds we’ve been wanting to build and experience since ages. The technology makes it possible to convince our brain that it is somewhere it is really not. The aim of VR is total immersion, meaning that the computerized experience feels so real, that we forget it is a virtual environment. This would result in us reacting to the virtual experience as we’d normally do in the real world. VR requires our senses to be stimulated so that we can naturally interact with the virtual environment.
The way VR works is simple in the sense that its primary subject is simulating the vision. The three main components which are required to create a virtual environment are the following: 1) PC (Personal Computer)/Console/Smartphone 2) Head-Mounted Display (HMD/Headset/Goggles) 3) Input Devices (Controllers, Joysticks, Trackpads, Bodysuits, etc.). All three elements are equally important but the headset is the one that truly allows us to visualize the cyber environment. It puts up screens in front of our eyes, eliminating any interaction with the real world. The visuals which are displayed are usually rendered by using a mobile phone or a PC. But, without going further into too much detail, one must say that VR is a rapidly-developing technology and although we may have already experienced some form of it, this is just the beginning, as the technology will only continue to mature in the future.
By now we all know Bitcoin, don’t we? In 2017 alone, bitcoin produced more than 20,000 millionaires in the most astonishing fashion. The cryptocurrency, whose purpose was to make it simpler for people to transfer money unhindered by state restrictions, turned into a popular investment tool. Although the devaluation of bitcoin has eased the level of craziness more recently, cryptocurrency is here to stay and has the potential to change the way we live, work, consume and connect.
Blockchain, a robust technology which has been referred to as the new internet, may well become a very big thing in the next 5-10 years. The main aim of the blockchain technology is to create an environment where one person can securely send money to another identity in the form of digital currency. Since Blockchain facilitates transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable way by eliminating intermediaries and removing mistrust, it has great potential to innovate and affect various business domains like banking, healthcare, insurance, automotive, travel, politics, and a much more in the next decade.