7 Trends of the 4th Industrial Revolution?

Things are moving fast in our world, with technology leading the transformation of businesses, job and society generally. The next decade is going to define the latest Industrial Revolution and there are a number of technology trends that are playing a core role.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning refer to the ability of machines to learn and act intelligently. We are already using it at home as Amazon presents us with products we might be interested in based on previous purchases. But it is going to get even bigger, and we will see it carry out a wide range of human-like processes, such as seeing (facial recognition), writing (chatbots), and speaking (Alexa).

The Internet of Things

This refers to everyday devices and objects that are connected to the Internet and which gather and transmit data. We have smartphones already, but soon we will have smart fridges, and smart everything.

Big Data

This is all about the explosion in the amount of data that is being generated as more ‘thing’s and services are digital. By analysing masses of data with intelligent algorithms, companies can identify patterns and relationships that they couldn’t see before, allowing them to offer more personalised services.

Blockchain

Although blockchain has been around since 2009, it is still expanding and changing its uses beyond cryptocurrency. Expect to see blockchain being used for storing, authenticating, and protecting data, and transforming banking.

Robots

Robots are intelligent machines that can understand and respond to their environment and perform routine or complex tasks by themselves.

We will see more Cobots in the next few years. These enhance the work that humans do and interact safely and easily with the human workforce. They are your new work colleagues!

5G Networks

5G is the fifth generation of cellular network technology, and it will deliver much faster and more stable wireless networking. It is necessary for all the ‘smart’ things we’re going to have, as mentioned above.

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing will make our current systems look as though Fred Flintstone used them. It will completely redefine what a computer is, and is bound to be a game changer in the world of AI.

Technology will drive this decade

This year the global pandemic has forced most of the world to rely more on technology. With more people working from home — something that is almost certain to become the new normal for those who can perform their job remotely –plus the need for more apps to assist with work and in monitoring public health, there has surely never been a bigger opportunity for the tech sector.

Bernard Marr in Forbes has identified 25 ways in which technology will define this decade, including an area I am particularly interested in, which is Artificial Intelligence. This he believes, and I agree, will be a driving force behind many of the other tech solutions.

AI will be central to the development of the Internet of Things, which is the ever-growing number of “smart” devices and objects that are connected to the Internet. We will also see a boom in ‘wearables’ that will go way beyond the current fitness trackers. There will be an industry dedicated to “wearable technology designed to improve human performance and help us live healthier, safer, more efficient lives.”

Big Data refers is another feature of the next ten years. It refers to the massive amount of data created worldwide and we’ll see advance augmented analytics emerge to deal with it, supported by AI.

Blockchain is another important tool that could revolutionise many parts of business, particularly as it facilitates trusted transactions, as Marr says.

For those of you who are of a sci-fi frame of mind, there will be “digitally extended realities. These will include virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, all aimed at enhancing the virtual experience.

The concept of “digital twins” is also pretty futuristic. Marr explains: “A digital twin is a digital copy of an actual physical object, product, process, or ecosystem. This innovative technology allows us to try out alterations and adjustments that would be too expensive or risky to try out on the real physical object.” The potential applications are numerous, from the arts to science and more.

I’m sure you’ve guessed that there will be more Alexas and Siris, with chatbots being our first point of customer service for many brands, and facial recognition will grow, although the regulations about its use do need to be ironed out.

Many of us are also waiting for the quantum computers to be unleashed, and that could happen before 2030.

You can read about all the other opportunities at Marr’s Forbes article (linked above), or in his book, Tech Trends in Practice: The 25 Technologies That Are Driving The 4th Industrial Revolution.

Prepare yourself for what’s coming!

6 Tech Predictions for 2020

The tech world is constantly changing, and as we enter 2020 and a new decade, we will see even greater differences than we have seen over the previous ten years. Tech experts, who have their finger on the pulse, and are astute when it comes to making predictions about the coming decade in technology, have been discussing the key changes at various conference events worldwide, and I’ve selected six that I think are the most interesting, and significant for those working in tech.

We want more privacy

Privacy has been a major issue over the last two years, highlighted by the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. Consumers are going to pay more attention to how their data is collected, and how it is stored. As a consequence, more businesses will be looking for cloud-based solutions with privacy features that fully comply with the law and fair consumer practices.

Biometrics will produces more wearables

People are already wearing FitBits, but in the next few years we will probably see more interactive data tracking using heart rate and brainwaves for example, and using them to power personal experiences. One suggestion is that when you lower your heart rate, you’ll see a scene on your screen change colour and sharpness. Positive thoughts may do the same. In other words, we will be using more augmented or virtual reality. Sarah Hill, CEO at HEALium, sees it as a new form of meditation. She says, “These new kinds of meditation are harnessing the power of your body’s own electricity via your wearables to allow the user to feel content in ways that have never been done before.”

Recession-proofed credit

Few people will ever forget the last recession, so as rumours of another one filter through, more people are trying to prevent slipping into a bad credit rating situation by using credit-building fintech tools to bolster their credit scores in advance.”

More AI in publishing

Monetising content has always been an issue for online publishers, and this decade should present them with new solutions, such using machine learning and AI to predict readers’ specific interests and how likely they are to subscribe.

The advance of 5G

Many are agreed that this is going to be a 5G decade. It will probably evolve rapidly and we will see more enterprise applications, plus investment in 5G technology will rise significantly.

The assistant in your car

Niko Vuori, CEO of Drivetime, says, “It is estimated that there will be eight billion digital voice assistants in use by 2023. As voice assistants continue to dominate the home, the in-vehicle usage has remained relatively limited to navigation, despite being one of the only environments that truly requires a hands-free experience.” Expect to have much more voice-assistant technology in your car.

There are many more tech changes to come. What prediction have you seen that appeals to you the most?

Siri is witty, but knows her limits!

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Back in 1956, a man called John McCarthy coined the term AI for artificial intelligence. However it is only in recent years that we have personally witnessed the benefits of AI, and its mass scale adoption by larger enterprises. One of the things that has encouraged the use of AI is the need to understand data patterns, because companies want to know much more about their target audience and Ai allows them to gain useful insights into consumer behaviour.

There is much to be gained by understanding AI, including the fact that it is segmented into ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ sectors.

WEAK AI
Weak AI is also known as Narrow AI. This covers systems set up to accomplish simple tasks or solve specific problems. Weak AI works according to the rules that are set and is bound by it. However, just because it is labelled ‘weak’ doesn’t mean it is inferior: it is extremely good at the tasks it is made for. Siri is an example of ‘Weak AI. Siri is able t hold conversations, sometimes even quite witty ones, but essentially it operates in a predefined manner. And you can experience its ‘narrowness’ when you try to make it perform a task it is not programmed to do.

Company chatbots are similar. They respond appropriately when customers ask questions, and they are accurate. The AI is even capable of managing situations that are extremely complex, but the intelligence level is restricted to providing solutions to problems that are already programmed into the system.
STRONG AI
As you can imagine, ‘Strong AI’ has much more potential, because it is set up to try to mimic the human brain.  It is so powerful that the actions performed by the system are exactly similar to the actions and decisions of a human being. It also has the understanding power and consciousness.

However, the difficulty lies in defining intelligence accurately. It is almost impossible or highly difficult to determine success or set boundaries to intelligence as far as strong AI is concerned. And that is why people still prefer the ‘weak’ version, because it does not fully encompass intelligence, instead it focuses on completing a particular task it is assigned to complete. As a result it has become tremendously popular in the finance industry.
Finance and AI
The finance industry has benefited more than many by the introduction of AI. It is used in risk assessment, fraud detection, giving financial advice, investment trading, and finance management.

Artificial Intelligence can be used in processes that involve auditing financial transactions, and it can analyse complicated tax changes.

In the future, we may find companies basing business decisions on AI, as well as forecasting consumer behaviour and adapting a business to those changes at a much faster pace.

Artificial Intelligence is going to help people and businesses make smarter decisions, but as always we need to remain mindlful of finding the right balance between humans and machines.