Technology is an ever-shifting beast, and it seems like there is a new breakthrough every other day. However, certain technological developments stand out from the rest. These are the kind of innovations that have a lasting influence on the way the world works. 2020 is ripe with such radical developments, and these are the top seven you should keep a close eye on.
Top 7 Technology Trends
Several of the entries on this list are not new concepts— in fact, they have been around for quite a while. But leaps in their respective fields have made these technologies more relevant than ever, and they’re now primed to make a powerful impact on a global scale:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
What used to be a science fiction concept is now an everyday reality. Five out of six Americans, for instance, use some form of artificial intelligence in their daily lives. This includes ride-sharing apps, smartphone personal assistants, navigation apps, smart home devices, and private home assistants. On top of consumer applications, artificial intelligence is now being used for everything from business risk assessment, train schedules, energy efficiency, and predicting maintenance needs.
A controversial aspect of AI is automation, which can eventually lead to millions of jobs lost. Experts predict that AI will eliminate up to 73 million jobs by 2030. On the other hand, automation is also creating new jobs in the fields of development, testing, programming, maintenance, support, and more.
2. Machine Learning
As a subset of AI, machine learning is another piece of technology that’s reshaping how systems work. In a nutshell, machine learning is all about programming computers to learn something on their own by using data to discover insights and patterns.
In terms of application, numerous industries are already deploying AI, such as data analytics, data mining, real-time ads, web search results, and more. It’s also generating jobs— machine learning has more than 2,000 job listings on LinkedIn, and it’s now one of the top emerging posts on the platform.
3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Automation has gone beyond menial tasks, and has spilled over to more complex work – think activities traditionally done by doctors, financial managers, and CEOs. RPA is the use of software to replace humans for tasks like dealing with data, processing transactions, and interpreting applications.
Just like AI and machine learning, RPA will eventually wipe out millions of jobs that will become redundant once their tasks can be done by software. New jobs will be created too, and top career opportunities are those for business analysts, project managers, solution architects, and developers.
4. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Virtual reality, aka augmented reality, has been around for a while. Still, it’s mostly been used for gaming like Pokemon Go and training simulations for the military. However, it’s only now that the massive potential of VR is starting to get realized. Think training doctors for real-life surgery, making theme parks a more immersive experience, and transforming marketing with 5D advertising.
Today’s major VR players are Oculus, Samsung, and Google, but a lot of start-ups are giving the big names a run for their money. This means the demand for AR and VR professionals will increase, which will eventually change the direction of the IT industry.
Blockchain technology has broken out of the shadow of cryptocurrencies and is now making waves on its own. The decentralized platform is offering an unprecedented level of security, transparency, and efficiency. Not only has the tech industry taken notice, but governments, companies, and individuals around the world are exploring the applications of this innovation, some of which are:
- Money transfers and payment processing
- Supply chain monitoring
- Loyalty rewards programs
- Data sharing
- Digital IDs
- Digital Asset Management
- Royalty and copyright protection
- Digital voting
- Real estate
- Food safety
- Tax compliance and regulation
- Weapons tracking
On top of that, blockchain has proven to be a lucrative investment opportunity. Experts believe that blockchain will be one of the top technological developments of the decade, if not the century.
Along with blockchain, cryptocurrencies are starting to completely transform financial and economic frameworks today. For instance, the decentralized currency has shown great potential as a better alternative to outdated banking systems. It is helping pave the way for a cashless future since cryptocurrencies have no equivalent physical currency.
Cryptocurrencies can also boost the efficiency of financial transactions in dramatic ways. The exchange of money can be done in seconds. Because it’s done on blockchain, all parties can be confident that the transaction is secure. It eliminates middlemen and their fees. Crypto is creating borderless financial systems too. As a decentralized currency, it’s not controlled by a single entity or geographical jurisdiction.
In response to the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies, governments are starting to draw regulations about their use. Some of the countries beginning to adopt cyber currency are Canada, Switzerland, Italy, and Australia. Many tourist locations, restaurants, and companies are starting to accept cryptocurrency instead of cash.
7. Internet of Things (IoT)
Many items, aka “things,” now come equipped with WiFi, which allows them to connect to the internet – and to each other – which gave birth to the Internet of Things, or IoT. This technology has already enabled cars, home appliances, home security systems, and devices to exchange data just by going online.
Consumers are already benefiting from the IoT. Forgot to lock your doors or activate the alarms? You can now do it over the internet. However, its advantages go beyond convenience – industries as diverse as healthcare, transportation, and big data are starting to use IoT to streamline their process. As the world becomes increasingly digital, the Internet of Things will soon become a daily reality.
For most of these technologies, it is just the beginning. But one thing is for sure— what once were mere concepts are now a reality, and these groundbreaking developments are set to transform how people live, play, and connect all over the world.