Top 10 Technological Trends to Expect in 2020
As per Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, the scope of technological prowess that humans would achieve in the 21st century would not be equivalent to 100 years but 20,000 years at the current rate of progress. The proof of this concept, from a neutral observer and not a scientific point of view, can be seen all around us. Within the first 20 years of the 21st century we have seen:
- Smartphones pack more gigabytes of RAM than computers
- Money takes on a digital avatar via the Blockchain Technology
- Interconnected devices shoot through the roof with IoT
- AI-powered programs running the show for businesses with minimal intervention
- And, 5G making 4G look Neanderthal-Esque with download speeds of up to 1 Gbps
It’s hard to look back and dwell that the infrastructure for such innovations was non-existent at the beginning of the century. This, when we haven’t even touched upon computers transitioning from cloud to quantum, genome sequencing and the possibilities of augmented/virtual reality. As things stand, we are in for a fast track development for the tech industry of 2020. With time fast ticking on hype-cycles, turning expectations into reality, this is what you should look forward to from the technology sector this year.
1. Automation Hits Hyper Mode
Automation or Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has delivered on its promise to mitigate human dependency for repetitive “tasks”. It comes as no surprise then, that it is ranked this high as one of the latest technology trends in Information Technology.
This included automating pattern-based tasks such as loans and claims processing. Whereas RPA was appropriate for standalone operation, automating an entire procedure is a next-level game. Enter picture Hyper-Automation. Hyper Automation concentrates on each step of the procedure which can be generalized as discovering the objective, analyzing the steps involved, designing a method to proceed, automating tasks, measuring results, and monitoring the operation to reduce errors. Hyper automation is like multiple RPAs, running at the same time and interacting with each other to ensure consistency in results. It combines the principles of machine learning, software and automation tools to make a computational process self-aware and error-free.
2. Introducing “Multi” in Experience
As part of the Information Technology industry overview and third party forecasts, by 2024 the Conversational AI market will be worth $15.4 billion. Conversational AI includes automated messaging apps, voice-based personal assistants (Amazon Alexa, Echo and Google Home) and chatbots. This aspect of user experience is geared for further development. Virtual and Augmented Reality has been rather slow to pick up, yet their business cases continue to rise. Considering the bigger picture with Mixed Reality (MR), it is safe to look forward to a tech trend that combines the elements of AR, VR, MR and Conversational AI for a multi-sensory business-to-consumer interaction.
These two-dimensional user-centric services that learn from and operate on the collected data, will show maturing signs in the upcoming decade. For instance, whereas the responsibility to guide the device lies at the consumer-end for now, intelligent and interconnected devices will automatically know your intent in the future, having studied millions of patterns over time
3. Knowledge Democratization
When you manufacture a product at scale, the cost of production comes down. The mass distribution of AI-knowledge has inched front-line workers a step closer to learning and developing high-end analytical tools for themselves. A simple example, there was a time when without a website developer you couldn’t manifest an online identity for your business. But that has changed, specialized software such as WordPress, Weebly and Wix, enable non-coders to create websites within minutes through drag and drop functionalities.
As per Gartner, 4 drivers will lead to this trend. First, Democratization of data and analytics will expand reach to the everyday IT developer. Second, the Democratization of AI-tools for custom developing applications. Third, Democratization of design tools with little to no code required to add aesthetics to applications. And fourth, Democratization of knowledge towards non-IT professionals.
Digital learning platforms have made open-source the new normal and empowered business professionals to adopt technology to their needs without spending a fortune. Expect to see more of this technology trends through 2020s.
4. Augmenting Humans With Tech
It is one of the hottest debated topics on IT tabloids and one of the key ongoing software industry trends. One of the best applications of technology is in helping humans overcome their limitations. This works at two levels, cognitive and physical. Physical implants operate in tandem with either an implanted or a wearable device. For instance, the Google Glass that may be famous for features like voice support, navigational capabilities, and photo/video capture, the device has been used in surgical procedures & to treat autism patients. Elon Musk’s Neuralink targeted at creating a Brain-Computer Interface is an example of cognitively augmenting the capabilities of the brain.
The immediate impact of it may be felt by patients but there is nothing to stop corporations implement the same to multiply workplace productivity. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) implants are already used to automatically lock/unlock doors, access password-protected laptops etc. Manufacturing frontlines are supplanting their power with exoskeletons. As time goes on we can begin to see augmentation make the most of Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to deliver an immersed experience to the consumer. For such reasons expect to see more of such technology trends in 2020.
5. Transparent Data Management
Artificial Intelligence brought in to replace humans, does not help the cause but exacerbates the requirement of an even ‘smarter’ AI. The deployed AI measures must reflect standard data protection policies for effective governance. Therefore with such a technology industry outlook for 2020, it is expected that organizations would focus on AI + ML data management tools, privacy policies, and an ethically acceptable approach towards storing user credentials.
6. Empowered Edge to Push Cloud
Edge computing is a networking practice that focuses on installing computer networks as close to the source of data as possible. The motive is to save bandwidth usage by reducing the number of processes run on the cloud but rather moving the same to local places. This local place could be an edge computer, user device or an IoT device. Edge computing reduced latency in the network by cutting down on communication lines. As per a Statista prediction, there will be 75 billion IoT devices by 2025.
Cloud has its limits and both economically and logistically, therefore, adopting wide-scale edge computing would naturally reduce the burden on cloud servers. Complex edge machines like drones and self-driving vehicles, as an example, would not be feasible on networks that are prone to downtime. This is the reason why a boom in edge computing is expected as one of the most tectonic technology trends 2020 has to offer.
7. Expansion of Self Governing Tech
It would not be wrong to say, that at this stage, self-governing AI is still an upcoming technology in India in 2020. Artificial Intelligence is being used to accord autonomy i.e. self-governance to machines that were operated by humans. Top of this list, are self-driving cars, robots, and drones to name some. In such cases, the intricacy levels displayed by AI are second to none. Especially, in times of a pandemic where social distancing is heavily advocated, such autonomous tech has begun spreading its roots slowly but surely. Unmanned delivery vehicles could cut fit a gigantic piece of the puzzle, regulated by AI with reduced risk of on-road accidents.
Such predictive analytics is fully deployed in Tesla models that can be automated (not to be confused with autonomous). Installed robots on factory floors could easily bring down labour costs and make local manufacturers compete globally. Fetch Robotics, a company that manufactures autonomous mobile robots is working with DHL to assist in their warehouse operations. A larger issue for some could be of massive job loss. But if global institutions are to be believed then AI would create more jobs than it would eliminate. It is appropriate to say that humans will be “replaced” than being “displaced” as AI will produce 58 million new jobs by 2022 as per a World Economic Forum report.
8. Blockchain Means Business
Blockchain is still an upcoming technology in India in 2020, due to political prohibitions. Yet, globally the Blockchain Technology has broken new ground with cryptocurrencies but its use cases go light years ahead than that. Being immutable it can be used to install safety layers for identity management. Imagine a single Blockchain ID that stores all your information such as the driver’s license, voter Id, etc. Analysts predict the possibility of such a thing to be high in which case a single authentication by the user would suffice to buy/sell anything. Smart contracts have found their niche in trade settlements and processing, reducing the risk of human error with a robust ledger.
Its distributed architecture is already being considered, big time, for global supply chain solutions, storing and updating sensor data to keep track of shipments. World governments are considering public ledgers to store crucial voter information protected by encryption that would be near impossible to manipulate. Its applications go on and on with industries like healthcare, and finance sensing mammoth opportunities for monetization. Blockchain Technology is entering a phase of enterprise application development, wherein startups are the quickest to offer implementations than legacy businesses.
9. AI Security
As an upcoming technology of 2020, AI security is yet to find its mainstream adoption. Still as Artificial Intelligence assumes a broader role in the IT industry with IoT, cloud computing and connected systems, it pays to think (twice) about the security. It is not a case of dealing with the situation when it arises. For instance, cyber-crime has survived despite stringent and (thought of) safe firewalls and each passing year exposes a new loophole in software systems that needs mending. As per research, global losses to security threats like ransomware are predicted to reach $20 billion in 2021. Artificial Intelligence could be used to exploit unprecedented glitches turning an accident into a catastrophe.
The kind of currently known security dangers that can be used to exploit AI includes 3 types of attacks. The first is Adversarial Examples, where the hacker tries to confuse the AI by making it wrongly classify data. A second category is Trojan Attacks. These are attempted at developmental stages of an AI where an AI is made to learn the wrong things making it incapable of identifying the right kind of threats. The Third category is Model Inversion, wherein malicious actors reverse-engineer the algorithm and uncover the data that was used to train the AI. To stay a step ahead of such adversaries, it is recommended to investing in AI-powered defence mechanisms, and conditioning Artificial Intelligence to identify threats in advance.
10. A New Era in Cloud Computing
Heretofore, cloud computing had a very centralized model controlled and run by vendor all throughout the IT industry. All that will change with the buzzword of our times “distributed”, changing service delivery models in cloud computing. In distributed cloud computing, public services of the cloud will be relocated to user-location clusters. The original provider of the service will continue to provide for software updates, maintenance support, operations and governance. At the same time, the new cluster centres will be responsible for sharing the applications, necessary tools, security setups and platforms at the location of the user, right where they need it. The most visible example of this tech trend of the 2020s will be the telecommunication businesses, but that is not to assert that others will be shy to adopt.
How Should You Prepare for the Future?
This concludes the list of top tech trends for the 2020s. There couldn’t be a better time to pursue a career in the IT industry. With digital channels for remote learning, you have all you need to step in the field and authoritatively pick a profile basis your expertise. Artificial Intelligence requires a combination of disciplines such as Mathematics and Science.
Students should be good at statistics, probability, calculus, algebra and Bayesian algorithms to begin with. Similarly, you should aim for advance lessons in physics, mechanics, cognitive learning theory and language processing. But it doesn’t end there, Computer Science is the last piece of the puzzle, wherein you develop yourself in programming, data structures, logic and efficiency. Take your first step towards an Artificial Intelligence job by enrolling into NIIT. Check your eligibility now!