Global Currents
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Global Currents

Technology is moving fast. Blink, and you’ll miss it

Samsung and Apple are elbow-to-elbow as each company strives to out-design and out-sell the other. With each product launch, rumors swirl over its specs and price. For instance, the news now ahead of Samsung’s August 10 announcement of its Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4, is that the Galaxy Watch 5 will allegedly charge 45% in just 30 minutes and will switch to the USB-C charger. At the same time, the new iPhone 14, while using the same A15 chip, is expected to boast an improvement in performance while selling at a cheaper price point. The new iPhone, according to rumors at least, is expected to have a whopping 48-megapixel camera, support for 8k recording, an Always-On Display (AOD) and even a car-crash detection feature. OnePlus appears about to launch a phone that can charge from 0–100 in just 19 minutes.

All of these advancements are encouraging. Let’s not forget, it has only been about 16 years since Steve Jobs reinvented the cellphone when he introduced the iPhone to the public. Technology has developed leaps and bounds in the last few years and yet the public is unaware of the futuristic and highly-sophisticated technology that exists already but is not yet consumer-ready.

For instance, a quantum device developed by a Canadian company was able to carry out a task in just 36 microseconds. The same task would have taken conventional computers over 9,000 years to complete. If this does not demonstrate the power of quantum computing, I don’t know what does, but clearly the possibilities are endless. The future definitely lies in a combination of quantum computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The technology is there. Scientists just need to learn how to harness it and make it affordable.

AI is fascinating, not so much for what it does now, but for what it could potentially do. One program using the machine learning tool is working to predict crime a week before it happens based on past data. Other programs are being developed for the medical field as advancements in technology could add an entire layer of patient care as well as accessibility. Doctors can potentially see and operate on patients from anywhere in the world. People can do medical self-checkups from their own home without requiring an annoying and time-consuming visit to the doctor’s office.

AI could also be scary. A viral AI video going around has a user asking the computer to produce an image of the most closely-held secret on Earth. The AI then showed an image of an underwater city of sorts. Another AI was asked to show an image of the last selfie on Earth. It then produced an apocalyptic- looking image of an individual in a gas mask with his surroundings completely obliterated for some unknown reason, but one can easily imagine nuclear war. The system, called DALL-E (a knock-off of WALL-E?), is available online and users can ask it any question they please.

But that is just the surface of AI. AI modeling can be used for purposes that are both good and nefarious. AI can be used for fighting terrorism in the real world or for fighting cyber crime online. It can be used to predict earthquakes, accidents, wars or anything else. But AI can also be used by criminals or even rogue governments to assist them in achieving dangerous objectives.

I’d rather not think about what North Korea, Iran or China are trying to do in the realm of AI and quantum computing. But I do hope someone else is because the results could be terrifying.

In the end, as with most technology, the good guys will win and the average consumer will benefit from the latest advancements. Hold on to your seats because the future is going to be amazing. And don’t blink. Or you’ll miss it.

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