Looking Ahead: Emerging Tech
Last year, we opined about the emerging technology of 2018. We watched as many of those ideas unfolded during the year, often playing along with what we scripted for them. Machine learning, AI, robotics, and automation were all at the center of the tech news cycle last year.
Those all remain highly relevant this year, with a few surprises thrown in.
Last year, we believed that heavy data processing would largely be moved into the cloud. With quantum computing coming into its own, we suggested that the cloud would become a powerhouse of heavy data processing.
But there’s been a reverse flow of that data processing. There’s a pull to move data analysis and processing to the point of collection. AI-based data processing leverages sophisticated embedded computers to enable heavy data processing on remote vehicles, personal computers, and even cell phones.
Moving this heavy data processing to the device reduces bandwidth needed to handle crucial data. Without passing heavy data back and forth, the power demands can be much less, meaning longer battery life or the ability to divert precious power to other processes. It also allows for much richer sensor data. With image processing at the cell phone level, for example, advertising analytics can work on the device, instead of transmitting to the cloud—meaning that an advertiser doesn’t have to wait for you to upload photos to Instagram before targeting ads tailored to your home’s color palette.
Better Sensors Available Consumers
We’re noticing that high-quality sensors are moving into the consumer price range. Lidar, for example, doesn’t just belong to NASA and the DoD. Applications for advanced sensor data include collision avoidance on UAVs, smart agriculture imagery analysis—even tracking customers in a store to see where they spend the most time.
Machine learning and natural language processing has gotten some notice in mainstream culture—a bot that watched 1,000 hours of Hallmark Christmas movies spat out a script for a new one. Gmail users have surely noticed scarily accurate suggestions for replies.
Look for predictive text next in coding applications. Although software engineers are safe (for now), they can leverage a machine querying enormous databases of code. Then the machine can suggest code based on what it determines is the programmer’s goals. This can also allow for very high-level programming, where an engineer can tell the machine what it needs to do, and the machine can figure it out, generating the code itself.
Stay tuned—we’ll continue to explore emerging technologies while highlighting some of our amazing clients.
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