Technology is evolving at an exponential rate, and it’s hard to keep up with the numerous changes and innovations. For example, NASA recently released the first high-resolution photos from the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope of our unseen universe, which marks a new era. Even though that doesn’t directly affect our lives now, it will surely be invaluable for generations to come.
Technology is transforming the way we live our daily lives and impacting every major industry today. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic brought technology even closer to us and opened up new possibilities and applications of using tech to facilitate our daily activities. And technology is one of the main factors keeping the world economy afloat even with the ongoing pandemic. That is why it is important to stay up to date with current and upcoming technology trends. Knowing about these technologies will give you an idea of the skills needed to secure future jobs, especially in the IT sphere. In this article, we will introduce you to some of the technologies that are changing the world as we know it.
There are a lot of people who are paranoid about a robot revolution taking over the world. Well, if that were to occur, we could be moving closer by the day. Things that only used to exist in the realm of science fiction are now fully functional and assist humans with various tasks. That’s how it always starts in the movies, too, until…well, you know how the story goes.
Movies aside, autonomous robots are designed to gather information from their surroundings and require very little input from humans for long periods of time. There is a wide range of robots programmed to perform different tasks, from something as simple as vacuuming all the way up to flying a helicopter.
These technologies are already getting better and will continue to do so. Their ability to gather and interpret surrounding information will only improve. The robots will be able to use previous actions and data to increase their performance.
As the name suggests, this term can be simply defined as medicine performed at the smallest levels. Technology has advanced so much, giving us the possibility to work with things that are impossible to see with the naked eye. Tools have been developed to analyze microscopic parts of the body, helping doctors to diagnose diseases accurately and much earlier. This means that recovery and survival rates for previously terminal diseases will go up.
Nanomedicine can also help scientists create minute nanostructures that have the ability to speed up the repair of cells and body structures such as bones, skin, and whole organs. Even though this technology is still a long way from its full application, some aspects are already being used in drug administration. Nanomedicine has been used to create drug delivery systems that help medicine to be delivered with accuracy to the precise location where it is needed. This helps to reduce side effects and increase the amount of the drug that reaches the affected site.
In this digital era, almost every device has been computerized, and our computer power has exponentially increased over the past decade. Experts predict that our computing power will only continue to increase over the years. This has the potential to increase tech jobs in the industry for qualified individuals. From robotics to data science and IT management, computing power has the largest percentage of employment in most countries. As more devices gain computing power, we will need more IT teams, technicians, customer care and relationship managers, and other specialists, thereby ensuring the economy flourishes.
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Our world is getting smarter, faster, and smoother by the day due to artificial intelligence (AI). It simulates human activities, reducing the workload for repetitive manual tasks. All of this makes our lives easier and simpler. These devices will only continue to get smarter as technology advances. As devices such as wearable and smart appliances gather data about our activities and surroundings, they become smarter and can help us in many different ways.
Datafication of Our World
Internet of Things (IoT) devices and ubiquitous computing contribute to the huge sums of data collected on a daily basis. Together with this AI-generated data, we also add to the amount of data through our daily activities such as browsing the internet, driving, eating, running, etc. The amount of data generated daily keeps on growing. By 2025, the total amount of data generated is expected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes. In 2020, the volume of data generated and replicated reached a new high. This exponential growth was caused by increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic because more people learned and worked from home and used home entertainment options more often.
An increase in data generation is good for businesses. This is because companies can increase customer satisfaction and decrease attrition by designing better services and products, improving business processes, and making better decisions using customer feedback and data. However, data is a two-edged sword: customers know you have their data, their expectations tend to increase, and it becomes more difficult to satisfy them. Businesses also need to be careful when handling customer data because it could lead to a violation of privacy laws and potential penalties.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
AI is among the tech fields that have seen a significant leap in innovation over the past decade, especially when it comes to “conversational AI.” In 2020, smart speakers answered over 100 billion voice commands—75 percent more than the previous year. AI has been gaining attention because most “cool tech” is integrated with AI, which significantly impacts how we live, work, and play. AI has already made its name in fields like speech and image recognition, smartphone personal assistants, navigation apps, ride-sharing apps, and so on.
Artificial intelligence can also be used to analyze data and predict outcomes. That is why stakeholders invest in AI to help them make informed business decisions. It also helps them use resources efficiently while maximizing output and productivity, leading to more profits for the business. AI is also vital in analyzing customer behavior and providing recommendations to prevent attrition and increase customer satisfaction.
By 2025 the AI market will grow to about $190 billion, and global spending on this technology will reach about $57 billion in 2022. As AI continues to infiltrate different industries, many more jobs are being created, such as programming, support and maintenance, and testing. All of these jobs are high paying, with annual salaries ranging from $125,000–145,000.
Machine Learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence. As the name suggests, it is the branch of AI that allows software applications to become more accurate at predicting outcomes using historical data without being explicitly programmed to do so.
Extended reality is the general name for technologies like Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality. When movie producers want to depict the future, it is mostly done by someone manipulating virtual objects with hand gestures in the middle of a room. However, this technology is not as far-fetched as you might think. Extended reality is making waves across several industries, including gaming, medicine, e-commerce, and modeling. Tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon are heavily investing in extended reality.
In the future, most of our interactions may take place in a digital world, so companies should start providing means to accommodate it. Extended reality will act as a door to a realm where people can interact with digital objects while in the real world.
One of the biggest dreams Americans had in the optimistic 1950s was a future with driverless cars. Although actually driving a car may be part of the allure of this method of transportation, some people may consider it too much effort. Being propelled in a personal fiberglass box without the need to even observe your surroundings was the dream.
When Tesla launched the Model S with its autopilot mode, it seemed like the future had finally arrived—except it really had not. Although the idea was that this should be marketed as a self-driving car, it really wasn’t the completely autonomous vehicle that one imagines when conjuring up the idea. It turns out it is tricky to make a completely self-driving car that would need to think for itself in real-world situations. This is because AI has not yet acquired such capabilities.
So, it is possible to produce a car that propels itself in test situations. However, it can’t yet cope with the challenges of being placed in a real-world scenario.
As many more people use technology and devices, they continue to place their trust in companies to build a safe and secure digital environment for their transactions and interactions. For example, the invention of blockchain technology has made interacting within the digital world more secure. Before its invention and use, people had to rely on trust and goodwill to do business online. This often led to fraudulent activities and scams. With the use of blockchain, however, you don’t need to trust or even know the other party. It ensures that all transactions are verified and transparent.
Not long ago, printing was only possible on a sheet of paper. Now, things have gone to a whole new level. 3D printing has enabled people to print anything—bones, action figures, vehicle parts, houses, and more. This technology can potentially transform the healthcare and manufacturing sector because of its speed and accuracy in providing personalized products.
Gene Editing and Synthetic Biology
Many diseases today are caused by defective or bad genes. Treating these types of diseases is often challenging or even impossible. But with the power of gene editing and synthetic biology, treatment is right around the corner. Gene editing can potentially eliminate harmful genes and fight against disease in humans, animals, and crops.
While gene editing can make minute alterations to DNA, synthetic biology can connect two strands of DNA together and introduce them into an organism. This may give the organism new characteristics or abilities. Synthetic biology and gene editing have a huge potential in the healthcare and food industry.
New Energy Solutions
So far, the world’s energy needs have only been increasing since the dawn of the industrial revolution. People needed energy to power huge machines, farms, and industries. This led to the use and burning of coal to generate energy, which is having a significant negative effect on the environment and is a major player in global warming.
Nuclear fusion is another source of energy that was thought to be a clean and inexhaustible solution for the future. But it is more expensive and consumes more energy than it produces. With the advancement of magnet technology, however, nuclear fusion reactors may start delivering a net power output by 2035.
Green hydrogen is another form of zero-carbon energy that we should be excited about. It works by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis, without creating any by-products. In the past, this process was unfeasible because it required a lot of electricity. It could soon become viable, though, with new forms of renewable energy such as solar and excess grid energy.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, RPA is another technology that helps us automate repetitive manual processes. It is a tool that is mostly used to automate business processes like dealing with data, processing transactions, interpreting apps, and even responding to emails.
This technology has the potential to make businesses more productive by automating minor and unimportant tasks, giving employees the chance to focus on processes that require significant human intervention.
Solar Panel Technologies
Using the latest technology, engineers have found a way to create solar panels that are widely efficient but require very little space. Add to this fact the people working on it are coming up with innovations to make solar panels even more efficient, and you can see why this technology will be very significant in our future.
Not long ago, cloud computing was the technology creating waves throughout the tech world. Now it has become mainstream, and tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are dominating the market. Lots of businesses are still adopting cloud computing to ensure that their data is secure and readily available.
However, as the quantity of data generated worldwide grows, cloud computing starts lagging behind and does not have the power to process that amount of data. The new trend is edge computing, which is designed to solve the issues of cloud computing. It has the capability to process huge amounts of data without much latency because the processing occurs closer to where computing needs to happen.
With edge computing, the use of IoT devices will increase. And by the end of 2022, its market value will reach $6.72 billion. This technology trend will only continue to grow.
The popularity of quantum computing is on the rise, and tech giants and even governments are racing to be the first to harness its power. It is a form of computing that uses quantum phenomena like quantum entanglement and superposition. This technology has already helped us in the fight against COVID-19. It has the power to process data easily regardless of the source. Quantum computing is also heavily used in banking and financial services to mitigate risks and detect fraudulent transactions.
These computers are now many times faster than traditional computers and represent the next era of computing for humans. The quantum computing market value is projected to surpass $2.5 billion by 2029. To work in this field, experts will need to have experience in quantum mechanics, information technology, machine learning, linear algebra, and probability.
Even though blockchain technology is often spoken of in relation to cryptocurrencies, it is much more than that. Blockchain can be described as a continuously growing chain of blocks that are linked together like chains, hence the name blockchain. These blocks contain information or data that cannot be changed or deleted. The blocks of data can only be added to the already existing chain. Because the chains, or data, cannot be altered, blockchain technology is very secure. Also, anyone can check transactions on the blockchain, making it transparent and trustworthy.
There are a few different types of things on the market being sold as so-called “smart mirrors.” Their functionality and technological usefulness vary significantly. However, the currently available ones just do tasks like log into your Twitter account or display text messages.
There are smart mirrors in development that may actually deserve to be called “smart.” The idea behind them is that the face can reflect a person’s overall health and well-being. The built-in sensors can check various disease risk factors. Cameras can analyze your heart rate and blood oxygen level, and scanners can check for changes in your weight, along with gas sensors that can detect alcohol and cigarettes.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is another promising technology that has been making waves worldwide. It is the name given to everyday devices from home appliances to cars with built-in sensors and biochips in farm animals. Essentially, it is how machines communicate to improve automation and efficiency in daily tasks.
Even though this concept has been around for a long time, the technology is still improving as many more devices are connecting to the internet on a daily basis. We are already benefiting from the use of IoT devices. For example, people can lock their doors remotely, preheat ovens, and track their fitness activities through IoT devices. The data from these devices can help us be more productive, speed up healthcare, improve customer service, and much more. Experts forecast that by 2030, over 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet.
5G, the fifth generation of wireless data networks, will improve Wi-Fi far more than 4G or 3G ever could. You will notice it in your phone, your home, your car, and the city and town around you. Downloads and streaming will happen literally without delay. Cars will talk to each other to prevent collisions, and untethered, augmented, and virtual reality will finally be achieved with real-time response. Not to mention, there will be industrial benefits like remote surgery or drone control.
5G does its magic with key abilities such as high bandwidth. 4G could only muster about 200 megabits per second of data throughput—on a good day. 5G can handle up to one gigabit or more. That’s a thousand megabits per second. Low-latency 4G suffers from around a hundred milliseconds or so in response delay or latency. 5G reaction time, on the other hand, can be as low as one millisecond, making everything happen virtually instantly.
The US CDC says there is no scientific evidence to provide a definitive answer to the question of how safe cellular radio waves are, whether it is 3G, 4G, or 5G. 5G will take years to roll out and some investment on your part, but the complexity of that deployment and debugging should be worth the wait, because it will deliver the world we have been promised for a long time—one where everything is connected, aware, and responsive, and a world in which we can stop worrying about the availability or performance of connectivity in the first place.
Although we are increasingly familiar with this technology, with items like fitness trackers and the Apple watch, the future of wearable technology is much more complex than you might think. Some people seem to be very attached to their phones to such an extent that we often joke that it will require surgical removal. But what if you could actually assimilate your cell phone into your body? If you’re completely addicted to your phone, you may think of that option.
Tech companies are working toward integrating phones into our bodies. Since the development of the cloud and the advancement of nanotechnology, it has become possible to make personal devices do more advanced things. These machines are integrated into our lives, recording data of all our activities—data that is worth a lot of money. And there are plenty of companies who are extremely eager to find ways to gather more of our data.
Taking wearable devices to the extreme, an exoskeleton is a bit like a robot that you wear. Rather than working separately from your body, it works to enhance and assist your body’s capabilities. These suits can’t turn you into a superhero, but they can certainly give you an edge, as well as a hint of Iron Man if you’re into that sort of thing.
Exoskeletons come in a wide range of materials, from carbon fiber or metal to soft fabric in elastic pieces. Generally, the tech that these things contain are parts like sensors and actuators, which are the components that cause movement in a machine. Robotic exoskeletons are designed to enhance human performance. Wearing one may give a person superhuman strength or perhaps much greater stamina because the suit takes over a good deal of their usual effort.
The potential for this technology is only just being realized, and the idea of augmented human bodies—and the new possibilities that this could hold—is limited only by our imagination.
Wrapping It Up
Technology is a huge part of our world, helping us live, work, and rest efficiently. That is why it is important to understand and keep tabs on new technologies and innovations that are changing the way we live. Even though not all technological advances will benefit us equally, there are some that will propel humanity to the next era.