The Future of IT – 5 Trends in Tech that will shape the Next Decade

When we were hit by the pandemic back in 2020, the world has gone through one of its biggest disruptions and we have been forced to adapt our very way of life. This has only further driven the inevitable move towards digitization at an unprecedented pace.

Studies show that responses to Covid-19 have brought forward the adoption of digital technologies by several years. This is especially true in developed Asian cities where technology adoption is 10 years ahead of what was previously predicted based on surveys and studies.

Businesses ranging across various factors are more likely than ever to say that their main customer interaction happens online. This can be observed in everyday life by the rise of online shopping and e-hailing services as opposed to shopping in physical stores or simply waiting for cabs. Whether we choose to accept it or not, the future of IT is here, and it is here to stay.

Read on to find out 5 trends in tech that will shape the next decade.

Big Data

To put simply, big data is a set of data of greater variety, complexity and sources that can be extracted and analyzed through the use of systems. The shift online has led to massive data dumping and created a huge data pool. With the help of AI systems, organizations can now extract and segregate this data but there is still room for optimization through data storytelling. Once the information has been extracted, it is then the  job of the data expert  to break it down and create a narrative that allows for the data to be easily used.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the use of the internet for storing and managing data on remote servers and accessing said data over the internet as well. With the ever expanding need for storage, cloud based services will continue to rise as well as the demand for cloud computing professionals.

Cybersecurity

With seemingly everything moving online, and the increase of cyber security threats, there is a growing need to keep the cyberspace secure from both external and internal threats. As we keep moving forward in digitization, cybersecurity is predicted to be one of the biggest growing areas and experts in this line can expect to receive a handsome sum.

Digital Platforms

The growth of digital platforms such as Facebook and Instagram cannot be denied. This will only continue in an upwards incline. With newer digital platforms emerging, large platforms will be faced with the pressure to keep upgrading and evolving to anticipate the shift in consumer behaviour. It is not a stretch to say that digital platforms can even play a role in creating  user trends.

Robots

Though we probably aren’t at the age of Ultron just yet, this could very much be our near future. Robots and AI technology have grown so exponentially and  the advancements made in these last few years alone have pushed AI technology far beyond what was ever deemed possible. A time when robots are sentient enough to comprehend emotions is near.

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Home Robot Assistants

LG said that Cloi had been deliberately designed to appear cute.  Image credit: LG

At the recent CES, a number of keynote presentations and demos featuring robots designed to help at home didn’t exactly go as planned. How far are we from having fully functional robot assistants?

THE CES ROBOTS

Almost every year at CES, potentially the greatest gathering of visionaries and ideas that push technology forward, one would see a robot walking, rolling or sliding down an aisle. Occasionally, one of these robots would even pop up during a company’s presentation, as was in the case of LG’s Cloi (which is pronounced Kloh-ee) during the recent show. The machine was described as being the “ultimate in simplicity when managing your smart home,” when it was presented on stage by David VanderWaal, LG’s US marketing chief. Continue reading “Home Robot Assistants”

How Do You Make a Conscious Robot?

 

You’ve likely heard of conscious thought and subconscious thought, but humans may in fact possess three levels of consciousness, a new review suggests – and this concept could help scientists develop truly conscious artificial intelligence (AI) someday.

Though AI technology has been advancing at a rapid clip, in many ways, computers still fall short of human performance.

“Human consciousness is not just about recognizing patterns and crunching numbers quickly,” said review co-author Hakwan Lau, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Figuring out how to bridge the gap between human and artificial intelligence would be the holy grail.”

To address the controversial question of whether computers may ever develop consciousness, the researchers first sought to explore how consciousness arises in the human brain. In doing so, they outlined three key levels of consciousness. Continue reading “How Do You Make a Conscious Robot?”

Bio-hybrid Robots

Biohybrid robots are robots which take on human features.

There may come a day when humans take on the form of cyborgs with integrated, robotic parts to enhance our abilities. But long before then, a seemingly opposite type of integration may take place, with robots being equipped with human tissue or other living cells to make them more lifelike.

These “biohybrid” robots could be endowed with muscle cells to help them perform subtle movements. And on a microscopic scale, tiny robots could be merged with bacteria to ferry them through the body for precision medical procedures.

And the future, it seems, is happening now. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

In a new review of studies, an international group of scientists and engineers described the state of biohybrid robotics – a field that is entering a “deep revolution in both [the] design principles and constitutive elements” of robots. The review was published recently in the journal Science Robotics.

“You can consider this the counterpart of cyborg-related concepts,” said lead author Leonardo Ricotti, of the BioRobotics Institute at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, in Pisa, Italy. “In this view, we exploit the functions of living cells in artificial robots to optimize their performances.”

Scientists have created robots of all shapes and sizes with increasing complexity in recent decades. Some robots function well on assembly lines, tightening bolts or welding together sheets of metal. Miniaturized robots smaller than a millimeter are being developed to be placed in the body to kill cancer cells or heal wounds.

Nanobots could help fight disease. Image credit: Getty

But what’s lacking among all these fascinating robots is the range of fine movement and the energy efficiency found in living organisms, which evolved toward perfection over the course of millions of years, Ricotti told Live Science. That’s why it’s necessary to incorporate elements of living organisms into robots, he said.

If robot movement and efficiency are fine-tuned, scientists could be use them to explore the human body, monitor environments too small or intricate for current robots, or manufacture products with greater precision, the authors wrote in the review.

Actuation, or the coordination of movement, is a persistent hurdle in robotics, Ricotti said. For example, robots can be designed to easily lift heavy weights or make precision cuts, but they have difficulty coordinating actions as subtle as cracking an egg cleanly into a bowl or caressing a distressed individual. Their initial movements are jerky.

Animal movements, in contrast, start gently on a micro scale as a cascade of molecular machinery becomes activated inside nerve cells, and culminate in large-scale muscular motion, according to the review.

This raises the possibility that animal tissue, such as cardiac muscle or insect muscle, could provide precise actuation and steady movement in robots. For example, a group led by Barry Trimmer of Tufts University, a co-author of the Science Robotics paper, has developed worm-like biohybrid robots that move via the contraction of insect muscle cells.

Another problem in robotics is the power supply, particularly for micro-robots, in which the powering device can be bigger than the robot itself. Biohybrid robots can overcome this obstacle as well, Ricotti said. His colleague Sylvain Martel, of Polytechnique Montreal, also a co-author of the Science Robotics paper, is using magnetotactic bacteria, which naturally move along magnetic field lines, to transport medicine to hard-to-reach cancer cells. Martel’s group can direct the bacteria with external magnets.

There are limits to what these biohybrid robots can achieve, though, Ricotti said. Living cells need to be nourished, which means that, for now, these robots tend to be short-lived. Also, biohybrid robots can operate only in the temperature range suitable for life, meaning that they can’t be used in extreme heat or cold.

Despite these challenges, Ricotti and his colleagues said, the field of biohybrid robots is rapidly evolving from the “art of possible” to the science of “reliable manufacturing.”

It may be that, in the near future, our cyborg descendants will be cured by biohybrid robotic medicine – administered, no doubt, by an android doctor.

Credit: Christopher Wanjek, LiveScience.