Here are 5 top trends that if taken seriously can make many careers, if not, can break many careers.
1. Big Data
We are creating and consuming a huge quantity of data in our lives. 90% of the exisiting data across the world was created in the last few years. Every second 900,000 users log on to Facebook, 452,000 post on Twitter and 3.5 million users log on to Google to search for something. The amount of data is doubling every two years. This huge volume of data from which useful information can be mined is called Big Data.
Big Data market revenues for software and services are forecast to reach $103 billion in 2027. There are more than 50 billion smart devices worldwide collecting, analyzing and sharing data. A few years ago only giant corporations would have the resources and expertise to make use of data at this scale. But today it is possible to hire services that have reduced the need for big spending on infrastructure. This explosion in data is what has made many of today’s other trends possible, and learning to tap into the insights will increase anyone’s prospects in just about any field. As always those who resist change will lose the race.
2. Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet. IoT Revenue is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2025. In 2021, the combined markets of the internet of things will have reached $520 billion.
IoT devices are constantly collecting and sharing data without the involvement of humans. Already more “things” are connected to the Internet than human beings. Every equipment and machine will be fitted with sensors and tagged. RFID ( Radio Frequency Identification) technology will be used to collect data from the machines. The data collected will be used to make the systems more efficient. The IoT can make our homes, offices and vehicles smarter and more measurable. As the price of sensors continue to drop, it becomes cost effective to add more devices to the IoT. Earlier we had only smart and dumb human beings. Now we will have smart and dumb machines depending on whether they are part of IoT or not.
The person who coined the phrase Internet of Things, Kevin Ashton, has this to say : The IoT integrates the interconnectedness of human culture — our ‘things’ — with the interconnectedness of our digital information system — ‘the internet.’ That’s the IoT.
It remains to be seen how much this technology will intrude into our privacy and how secure it will be against hacking.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is the intelligence demonstrated by machines, unlike the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals, which involves consciousness and emotionality. The following are considered to be the components of intelligence : learning, reasoning, problem solving, perception and using language. The Internet of Things generates Big Data. Artificial intelligence (AI) can learn patterns in the Big Data to automate tasks for a variety of business benefits.
Some of the areas in which Artificial Intelligence will be helping our lives are Home Security, Digital Media, Self Driving Cars, Ride-sharing Apps, Fraud Prevention and Music Recommendations. Face Recognition is another area in which Artificial Intelligence will be used. Our face will be mapped in 3D and stored in a central database. The movement of each person and their habits can be tracked. How much of our privacy we will be losing in exchange for the good of society is something that needs to be debated and finalised before this technology is introduced.
4. Talking to Machines
We may all be familiar with virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. These are machines to which we can talk and they will recognise the words and give an appropriate reply. Until a few years ago computers were advanced versions of a calculator, doing routine calculations at high speed. But now with the development of technology they will be able to make decisions, think and act independently. They will become more active in our lives.
When we talk to a machine speech waves are converted into digital form. This is then converted into parameters. Speech recognition software then turn the parameters into words. A semantic decoder then turns the words into meaning.
Machines are now being taught about humor, sarcasm and irony so that they can behave more like humans. In an experiment a group of scientists were fooled by a chatbot into thinking it is a 13 year old boy from Ukraine. If scientists can be fooled what about the rest of us ? In another experiment Microsoft created a Tweeting Bot and connected it to Twitter. Things became ugly when the Bot started attacking feminists and finally Microsoft had to pull the plug when the Bot said that Hitler did not do anything wrong. Was this reflecting the position of the creator of the Bot or was it because of an algorithm where it had to behave agressively in every discussion as it was Twitter ? Well, Microsoft has gone back to the drawing board to find out what went wrong. In another experiment two Bots were made to have a discussion. Things got very heated up when one Bot told the other that it was nothing but a piece of manupulative metal. But soon they became friends and decided that the world would be a much better place without humans. Again, back to the drawing board.
There are 600 languages in the world and many of them are dying. Machines can now be taught those languages and they can be kept alive even if humans speaking those languages disappear. The number of benefits of machines with which we can talk are countless. Only time will tell in which direction this technology goes.
Blockchain, sometimes referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), makes the history of any digital asset unalterable and transparent through the use of decentralization and cryptographic hashing.
A simple analogy for understanding blockchain technology is a Google Doc. When we create a document and share it with a group of people, the document is distributed instead of copied or transferred. This creates a decentralized distribution chain that gives everyone access to the document at the same time. No one is locked out awaiting changes from another party, while all modifications to the doc are being recorded in real-time, making changes completely transparent.
Of course, blockchain is more complicated than a Google Doc, but the analogy is apt because it illustrates three critical ideas of the technology:
- Digital assets are distributed instead of copied or transferred.
- The asset is decentralized, allowing full real-time access.
- A transparent ledger of changes preserves integrity of the document, which creates trust in the asset.
Blockchain is an especially promising and revolutionary technology because it helps reduce risk, stamps out fraud and brings transparency in a scaleable way for myriad uses.
So we have gone through the five top trends in technology development which will be changing our lives to such an extent that nothing will ever be the same again in our lives. What we thought was Science Fiction is now happening right in front of us. We need to align ourselves to these changes or be left out of any progress. The choice is ours.