We are already well into the fourth quarter of 2018, a year that has seen many technological breakthroughs such as the launch of 3D metal printing, popularization of cloud-based AI services, and the creation of the first-ever artificial embryo. Each year technology tries to outpace itself, and this year was no different.
Ushering us towards a new post-modern age are major technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. But the important question arises; how will these technologies affect our future, and what technological advancements can we expect in the next year?
According to a recent report by Gartner, a leading research and advisory firm, here are the top 5 technology trends for 2019:
1. Autonomous devices
Artificial intelligence has been the subject of much interest for the past several years, yet we have not fully seen its utility. However, that doesn’t mean great things aren’t to come. AI is already being used across many industries for optimizing processes. Gartner’s Chief of Research, Brian Burke, says, “Artificial intelligence (AI) is a megatrend that the industry will continue to talk about for the next 20 years.”
A major use case for Artificial Intelligence is within the automotive industry. AI is enabling cars and other vehicles (such as airplanes) to be driven autonomously. In 2019, this trend is expected to rise significantly, and we should see more Level Four autonomous cars out in the market. Level four means that the vehicle needs no input from the driver whatsoever in order to drive. This will change the transportation industry in a very significant manner.
2. AI-driven software development
AI is not just for exceptional robots and self-driving cars. It is expected that as many as 40% new software projects will incorporate artificial intelligence, thus making consumer and enterprise-level software smarter and more optimized for workflows. Think about how the latest flagship smartphones these days integrate AI tweaks into their cameras and other applications. The same idea will be extensively applied to a much wider range of applications in 2019.
3. Digital twins
A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object. Think of an aircraft engine (physical object) having a simulated digital representation with respect to its engineering and design. This digital twin can be easily replicated at low cost and tested thoroughly without having to wreck the actual engine. The concept is getting much traction and is expected to be widely adopted by large industrial companies starting in 2019.
Blockchain technology has already provided a revolutionary method for storing transactions on a digital ledger and given rise to cryptocurrency. The technology is now set to revolutionize other industries as well by ensuring traceability of the origins of an item, transparency throughout the network, thus eliminating counterfeiting, and providing overall trust and security. It is already starting to be used in the food industry and is expected to be picked up by other large sectors (such as shipping) in the next year or so.
5. Quantum computing
Last year, IBM successfully developed a 50-qubit quantum computer, the most powerful of its kind. Researchers are already using quantum computers for creating simulations and carrying out other research work. Gartner predicts that after a few years, 20% of the organizations in the world will be budgeting for quantum computing projects. This percentage is currently well below 1%.