Where is technology taking us?

Where is technology taking us
One world loads of technology

This month we have trawled articles on the Net and looked at some ideas of where tech is going. Most of the credit for this content belongs to https://highexistence.com/10-ways-the-next-10-years-are-going-to-be-mind-blowing/, I have then added some of my observations. Here are some we have pulled together for you to think about and watch this space as they appear over the next few months and years. Please note that these ideas and statements are pulled from various sources and just give a reflection of what is happening. The nature of the beast is by the time you type these articles things have moved on.

Bio Technology

Bionic Hand controlled by brain signals

Okay, it doesn’t let you crush rocks as you would think, BUT it does allow people without fingers to have fully functional hands that can pick up and handle delicate objects. It is completely controlled by the brain and requires no surgery. Touch Bionics, the company the produces the Pro Digits hand, is able to install the hand complete with “living skin,” a plastic covering resembling human skin, for under $50,000.

Computer Speed, Size and Usability

Speed

Most people tech-nerds know of Moore’s Law from 1965 (the number of transistors we are able to cheaply put in computer chips doubles every year, thereby doubling the speed).  However, most people don’t know that Moore, himself, came out and said his law will most likely fail finally in 2020 where the number of transistors we can put on chips will be limited by the laws of physics. Does this mean the exponential rise in computer processing speed will come to a halt in ten years?

Not a chance, says Jim Tully, chief of research for semiconductors at Gartner. “The technology which will replace this is a bottom-up approach, where chips will be assembled using individual atoms or molecules, a type of nanotechnology.”

Ray Kurzweil, a well-respected Futurist, stated in 2008 that when this molecular computing technology comes out in 2020, computers will have the intellectual capability of human beings. You might want to digest that for a minute before moving onto the next section.

That Macbook Air is pretty damn thin. So thin, in fact, that it makes you wonder if physical computers will even exist in 2020. Well according to developers at Intel, the keyboard and mouse surely won’t. Who needs QWERTY when you can control a computer with your mind?

“We’re trying to prove you can do interesting things with brain waves,” said Intel researcher Dean Pomerleau. “Eventually people may be willing to be more committed … to brain implants. Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.”

Pomerleau and countless research groups around the world are working with brain scanning devices to map blood flow in the brain. They have found that when different individual focus on the same image, they have very similar patterns of blood flow in their brains. For example, one British group announced that they could discern where subjects wherein a computer-generated virtual environment by looking at where blood flowed in their brains.

How we interact with the world

The way in which we interact with the outside world has changed SO much since the introduction of the internet, smartphones, etc. In the very near future, another huge jump will be made: integrating the information on the internet with our surroundings.

By that, I mean being able to look at a building, product or place and immediately seeing information about the subject on our devices and eventually just with our eyes.

If you’re still confused as to what I mean, check out the earliest innovation of this concept, Goggles by Google. This app allows you to take a picture of whatever you are looking at and instantly receive info about it on your Android phone.

Like the video says, Goggle is only scratching at the surface of this technology. Kurzweil says that “By 2020 we’ll routinely have pop-ups in our visual field of view that give us background about the people and places that we’re looking at.” Your memory and the vast information bank of the internet will be one at all times.

Until we can do this with a chip in our brain, a new device has come out that overlays video onto our normal vision using special glasses. It’s called the Vuzix display Wrap 920AR and it goes on sale soon for around $800.

Energy

Solar energy will soon leave fossil fuels and inefficient wind farms in the dust. According to Kurzweil, “the cost per watt of solar energy is coming down rapidly and the total amount of solar energy is growing exponentially. It has in fact been doubling every two years for the past 20 years and is now only eight doublings away from meeting all of the world’s energy needs.”

Emerging technology from a company called Sandia is making the reality that much closer:

Sandia’s solar cells are made of 100 times less material than the current top solar cells while operating at the same efficiency. Since the biggest hurdle in the path of solar power is the expensive and large nature of solar panels, these new microscopic cells will make a huge difference. For example, current panels are massive and require large motors to move them to track the sun. Sandia’s cells, on the other hand, would only need to be moved a fraction of a millimetre to track the sun efficiently while weighing next to nothing.

Even more amazing, they can be suspended in liquids and printed on flexible materials, allowing the cells to be placed on any surface. What if your entire car was covered in these powerhouses? Bye bye, Chevron.

Health

While we still can’t cure a common cold, custom-made organs are just around the corner.

A company called Organovo has developed the first commercial 3-D bio printer that builds custom organs cell-by-cell. Each individual cell is based upon sample cells from the body of the customer. Organovo reports that veins and arteries will be available in 5 years, and more complex organs like hearts and livers in 10.

On a more general note, nanotechnology is revolutionizing the health world. The awesome combination of a higher understanding of how DNA works and the ability to create very small cellular parts is painting a very bright future for medicine.

Scientists are finding specific sequences of DNA that code for conditions like schizophrenia, autism and even ageing. The cures are actually in sight.

Robots

The first decade of the 21st century has been a remarkable time for innovation in robotics. While we’re still far away from having bots helping around the house or doing our construction, big strides have been made towards that future.

Recently a robot was able to teach itself human facial expressions by randomly contorting its face and receiving feedback on what resembled real expressions.

Here’s another robot called BigDog that came out a couple of years ago, but if you haven’t seen the video, you really should. It’s a 4-legged robot that can navigate difficult terrain and correct its balance when shoved. If you can’t watch the whole video, at least fast-forward to 1:50 where the robot can be seen running and jumping.

And finally here is the bipedal version of BigDog that walks heel-to-toe just like humans do. Again, it can regain balance when shoved.

Clothing

Nanotechnology in Clothing

– Nano-fibres will make garments tremendously more comfortable and durable. “By this process, the textile products can be made more attractive, strong and responsive to customers’ choice.”

– Fibre-based Nano generators will build up electrical energy in clothing from physical movement, ultrasonic waves and even blood flow. “If we can combine many of these fibres in double or triple layers in clothing, we could provide a flexible, foldable and wearable power source that, for example, would allow people to generate their own electrical current while walking.”

– Extremely hydrophobic (water-resistant) Nano filaments allow for completely waterproof clothing. It can be submerged in water for two months and still remain dry to the touch. “The water comes to rest on the top of the Nano filaments like a fakir sitting on a bed of nails.” (Whatever that means…)

2019 Trends

Machine Learning will advance Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations will continue to bring scientific breakthroughs, in part, thanks to the vast amounts of data that new technologies have been collecting and is now available. 

In 2019, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will be embedded in the business platform creating and enabling smart business operations. 

In the Artificial Intelligence space, China is going to leave the U.S. behind, emerging as a leader in AI developments and applications.

Advances in Machine Learning technology and algorithm training will result in new and more advanced AI. Autonomous vehicles and robotics are the two industries that will see the most rapid developments during 2019. 

In 2019, there is going to be a convergence of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning in business applications. As AI and learning technologies get to work together in order to reach better results, AI will have greater accuracy at all levels. So far, humans have only developed Narrow Artificial Intelligence. A superior AI, though, is in the future of mankind. How far should humans go with AI development is still a subject of controversy. Is this really going to be mankind’s last invention? 

Quantum Computing (Supercomputing)

Quantum Computing, still an emerging technology, is one of the most fascinating things researchers, organizations, and governments have been working on in this century so far. The race toward building the first fully-functional, fully-working quantum computer (also called supercomputer) is on.

With its impressive computational power, quantum computers will most like be a cloud service in the near future rather than on-premise machines. IBM is already offering cloud-based quantum computing services. 

The first quantum computer is going to have a significant advantage over others. In 2019, the competence to achieve supercomputer supremacy will intensify. As a consequence, the last mile in the race will remain mostly secretive, for obvious reasons.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Advances in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR), all of which can be summarized in R+, will continue to be at the forefront of attention during 2019 with some fascinating new practical applications for industries.

R+, which once was only found in video gaming has been quickly advancing to become a useful tool in industries such as engineering design, manufacturing, healthcare, space exploration, and many others. 

In 2019, Virtual Reality is going to open up to innovative industrial applications that will change how people work and collaborate across geographies. 

Augmented Reality has been rising in Virtual Reality’s shadow for the past year. But in 2019, AR is set to grow exponentially. 

Global Internet of Things (IoT) security breach

Hackers never sleep. Everyone in the cybersecurity industry knows that. As long as you connect something to the Internet it immediately becomes vulnerable.

In the past years, we have seen how hackers have turned to the unsecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices to create an extensive botnet which then they could use to push enough traffic to take down Dyn, the DNS provider. As a way to refresh your memory, here is how the DDoS attack using IoT devices happened in 2016.

A quick look at the news tells us that not much has been learned. However, the great number of security breaches occurred during 2018 should serve as an alert of what can happen at a global scale in 2019 if organizations don’t take the necessary precautions. 

Analyst firm Gartner forecasts that 20.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. And with the rise of autonomous things –I will call this the Internet of Autonomous Things (IoAT)– there is a good chance that many of these things will show a certain level of weak security. 

In 2019, it will be paramount for IoT manufacturers and all of their supply chain to dramatically increase the security in all the products that come out to market. It can be a connected refrigerator, a robot, a drone, a vehicle, or a health tracker.

Manufacturers must implement a level of security that keeps hackers at bay. Otherwise, there is a good chance we are going to witness a global IoT security breach in 2019. 

Blockchain technology

In 2019, for the delight of organizations, Blockchain is going to bring the first enterprise applications in active use. The most innovative corporations will start using Blockchain as a way to improve collaboration.  

Blockchain in 2019 comes out cryptocurrency transaction and becomes an integral part of the business platform. Blockchain enables transactional transparency across a variety of business functions. In 2019, Blockchain will be present in many industries at the core of business innovation.

Should old kit be abandoned?

laptop update
Old kit gets a new life

The current statistics shown that the sales of various tech is now down and that people aren’t eagerly awaiting to buy the latest thing.

There are various reasons for this and to put your finger in the one would be wrong.

But it begs the question about what we do with old kit? I have been recently taking 7 year old laptops that have still some very good kit on board and upgrading by adding a SSD drive to them.

What do we do with our computers?

We need to look at what we now do with computers: –

  • A few years ago all programmes were on the computer and so was the data until we backed it up
  • The Internet was growing fast and we are getting faster access.
  • So cloud storage became a thing and has grown over the last few years to an amazing level.
    • “According to recent research by Nasuni, there is over 1 Exabyte of data stored in the cloud, or: 1024 Petabytes of data. 1,073,741,824 Gigabytes of data. Quintillion bytes of data” This data was 2013. 6 years ago.
  • These figures don’t even make sense to us. To try and comprehend this amount of data and storage becomes something we can’t relate to.
  • Applications are also becoming more cloud driven and this will only increase over the next few years. SAAS. (Software As A Service). Office 365 is a well-known one. Google utilities, (G-suite), etc. Monthly subscriptions and the latest and greatest always at your fingertips.

So what does this mean?

Well, the strain is being taken off a lot of standalone machines as the storage needs to be less as all data goes to the cloud. (See article on using the cloud, here.)

The machines if they have a large amount of RAM and a fast SSD drive can boot up in anything from 4 seconds to 18 seconds. (The one I worked on recently booted up in 4 seconds)

So old kit can be slightly upgraded and cope very well with what you need it to do. Thus alleviating the direct need to buy the latest kit all the time.

What’s best for you?

Well, that really depends on how you operate and the things you need to achieve. But don’t immediately write off all your current kit. Maybe it is just better connections that you need or you need to think about the way you operate and see if there are ways it can be done better.

What are your thoughts on this?

Comment below.