Update: I have added two more technologies, making 7 in total. I talked about all of these technologies in my podcast:
The world is moving very fast and the times are changing with it. We need to keep updating our knowledge to stay relevant. The following are my picks for five technologies that will probably have the most influence on our future, and learning about any one or more them might greatly increase our chances of being relevant in the future.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI):
This is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
Most people think AI is about physical robots or the likes. However, the applications of AI are rather too wide-ranging to put them all under one technology. In fact, AI powers every part of our smart world today. There is no smart technology without an AI behind it. This tech, presently, helps you to quickly find what you are looking for on the internet, gives you a personalized movie recommendation on Netflix, gives you appropriate music suggestions on Spotify based on what other people like you are listening to. It will help drive the future cars without humans’ intervention, and soon you will not need to learn a language to converse in that language.
In all fairness, this technology is too wide to categorize as one, majorly because of the vastness of its applications. It is probably causing the biggest job and industry disruption of the century. A report has found that almost 40% of jobs will be lost to robots by 2030. If the prediction by this report comes true, I think learning about AI itself might be one of the ways to stay relevant.
2. CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats):
Pronounced ‘krispa’. This is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. In other words, this technology allows scientists to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene functions or characteristics in organisms. Some of its many potential applications include correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops. This might be the biggest medical disruption of the century.
Scientists could use CRISPR, to ‘design’ children that are immune to certain diseases at birth, have chosen traits or even go as far as giving special intellectual or physical properties to newly born children. In fact, it potentially allows us to be able to create our own breed of organisms from the genome level up. Of course this raises many ethical or moral questions and arguments, but eventually CRISPR will become ubiquitous, mostly thanks to its simplicity.
This is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography (a way of hiding information in messages). Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. This technology powers the bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. For bitcoins, it could be understood as a digital ledger in which transactions made are recorded chronologically and publicly. This ledger is regarded to be immutable, since altering a record would mean altering all of the subsequent blocks, and all of the records on the peer-to-peer managed network.
It has the potential to power future agreements, protect intellectual properties and financial transactions, and safely manage digital identity. Many government procedures might port to using the technology, including procurement, contracts and polls. The applications of this technology are still at infancy but current trend shows that a blockchain-powered future might not be too far away.
4. Augmented and Virtual Reality:
Augmented reality (AR) is the technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Basically, it enhances the real world in the user’s perception. Currently, primitive forms can be seen in applications like Pokemon Go, Snapchat lenses and the likes. Usually, new information or environment is generated and added in the user’s field of view to create the AR experience. On the other hand, Virtual reality (VR) is the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors. The major difference from AR is that the computer-generated simulation replaces the user’s environment, blocks out the worldview, and ‘fools’ the user’s senses, giving a perception of a real experience from the generated views.
These technologies are the future of games, education and learning, advertising and promotions. There are, presently, systems proposed to enhance social interaction and give the illusion of telepresence. An example is the Facebook Spaces which allows users to socialize in virtual environments. Some proponents also believe this technology can be used to enhance human capabilities, making us rather super-humans like the idea in Elon Musk’s neural lace. This is going to have great impacts on our lives because it directly influences our perception of the real world and our experience of it. See this video for an example of how creepy things can get.
5. Internet of Things (IoT):
This is the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. In other words, connecting physical devices together in a way that allows them to communicate with each other. Imagine if your phone could talk to your water heater five minutes before you wake up so that you could quickly hop into the shower immediately you get out of the bed. And just as you wake up, your bed informs your doctor’s computer how well you were able to sleep so your doctor can closely monitor your health and give you appropriate diagnosis the next time you see him. This technology aims to build an interconnected world through everyday objects. Your coffee maker, your refrigerator, your door lock, your dustbin, and so on. Experts estimate that the IoT will exceed 25 billion objects by 2020. Another study shows that the IoT industry is in fact worth about $267B by 2020. This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants a stake in the future.
The list could go on, but I thought of adding just one bonus technology. It is necessary to think about how the energy of the future will be generated.
Bonus — Alternative Energy:
This might probably take longer to have an effect as the other technologies because presently 80 percent of the world’s energy still come from fossil fuels, but the truth is that the world is slowly but surely moving away from fossil fuels and alternative power generation is slowly gaining popularity and many companies are racing to cash in on the potentials. The different sources of alternative energy are hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, solar and marine energy. The major challenge for alternative energies is that it presently costs more to produce energy from alternate sources rather from fossil fuels. However, since the last decade, the cost has been greatly reducing and the transition might come earlier than projected. I personally think there is a great capacity here for developing countries like mine. We really need to create better models on energy generation and distribution. These models should have at its core the democratization of energy as the world moves away from fossil fuels.
There you have it. My picks for the top technologies of the future. If you liked this article, please applaud it and share it with others who might also like it. Follow me for more articles like this in the future.