Let’s start with Gartner’s annual report (you can find its full content here), which presents the most important technology trends for the year. We are talking about both completely new phenomena and those that will be intensively developed. From the report, we have selected the most important trends of 2019.
Artificial intelligence and autonomy
Whether it’s cars, drones, or robots, what they all have in common is the use of AI to perform tasks traditionally done by humans. Remembering autonomy, we usually associate it with Tesla cars, but in fact, we are talking not only about them, but also about robots and drones. Autonomy and “intelligence” are different here, but they all use AI to naturally interact with the environment. Gartner is paying attention to the mechanisms of autonomous movement: the more devices of this type, the wider the possibilities of their application, requiring ever more advanced AI. The more advanced artificial intelligence, the greater the ability to automate processes and make devices more autonomous. However, the safety of autonomous cars, for example, raises big questions, as we have written about on numerous occasions.
Augmented Analytics, Data Mining
The amount of data collected is so large that it is no longer possible to apply traditional analysis to them. Data mining is performed using machine learning methods and transformation of the result into natural languages. Gartner predicts that more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated by 2020.
Software development with the participation of artificial intelligence
AI-driven development analyzes tools, technologies, and the best ways to implement artificial intelligence into applications on the one hand, and then uses these programs to create additional tools that work on the basis of AI. In this case, developers can use the methods of artificial intelligence. As stated in the Gartner report, “Such methods provide developers with an ecosystem of AI algorithms and models, as well as programming tools tailored to integrate AI capabilities and models into a single solution. Ultimately, highly advanced AI-based development environments that automate both the functional and non-functional aspects of an application will lead to a new wave of civilian application developers, in which non-professional programmers can use tools based on AI interfaces to automatically create new solutions.
A digital twin is a digital representation that reflects a real object, process or system. The digital version can simulate a power plant or an entire city, for example. Thus, thanks to AI methods, we have the ability to control reality, simulating the consequences of changes in the digital version. The digital twin is essentially the result of the existence of the Internet of Things. The following movie explains the idea well:
As everyone knows, blockchain is mainly (and rightly so) related to cryptocurrencies. However, the essence of the blockchain is to create decentralized blocks of information, not necessarily financial. Applications that use blockchain are used, among other things, for data protection, in the operation of transport networks or power grids. According to experts, the testing period of this technology is coming to an end. Today we already see some concrete implementations of this technology. One of the most well-known examples of blockchain application is the government IT systems operating in Estonia.
Intelligent “edge” technologies
This is a method of information exchange in which terminal devices communicate with each other directly, without the use of a central server. Thus, the exchange of information is faster. Gartner says there will be a cumulative effect as the number of sensors on end devices increases, as does the total memory of devices enriched by cloud computing and enhanced AI capabilities. In general, smartphones, refrigerators and speakers will get smarter and smarter.
Virtual, augmented (AR) and mixed (hybrid) reality will have an increasing impact on the perception of not only the digital, but also the real world. Popularized by Google, Facebook and Apple, AR will increasingly change our perception of reality. Google already this year at the conference presented how AR works in navigation (Street View).
Processing more and more information requires more and more powerful computers. Quantum machines are perfect for this. Quantum processing is a type of non-classical computation based on the quantum state of subatomic particles (electrons or ions) that represent information in the form of units called quantum bits or “qubits”. To illustrate how a quantum computer works, the Gartner study provides a great example: imagine a huge library where one computer “reads” all the books in turn. A quantum computer “reads” all the books at the same time. Quantum information processing as a commercially available, inexpensive and reliable service will change some industries, although it probably won’t happen next year.
Of course, the trends that Gartner calls major may seem futuristic. The Internet of Things is still crawling rather than flying, autonomous cars are unlikely to be seen on city streets next year, the digital twin is unlikely to affect the average Internet user in any way. What can such a person expect next year?
Soon we will have to deal with a 5G network that will be almost four times faster than 4G. Already, there are many test implementations of such a network by companies such as Qualcomm, Intel, Nokia, Ericcson, Samsung and Huawei. Already in 2022, as many as 22% of the world will be covered by 5G. The bulk of Internet traffic will come from mobile networks. At least that’s what the Cisco Visual Networking Index says.
In 2017, Apple introduced the iPhone X with a distinctive notch that will definitely become obsolete in 2019.
The latest Huawei and Samsung models have a typical hole instead of a notch. It will probably become the must-have fashion for smartphones. The question is whether another idea, a foldable smartphone, will also be enthusiastically accepted. We have already seen this model from Samsung. Oppo, LG and Apple also choose them.
At the same time, Corning is working on Gorilla Glass for such phones. In the coming year, all major manufacturers will introduce new, more powerful chips, the development will focus on functions related to artificial intelligence. New smartphones will be even faster, often bezel-less, and 32-megapixel sensors will become standard. Of course, this trend applies to flagship models, some of which will certainly add up.
In mid-2019, devices should appear that work with the new WLAN standard, that is, Wi-Fi 6, which was previously called 802.11ax. Wi-Fi 6 makes it possible to bring the Internet speed up to 10 Gb / s. In the case of Wi-Fi 5 (formerly known as 802.11ac), the maximum speed is 3.46 Gbps. Wi-Fi 6 supports the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. The first such routers have already entered the market, for example, Nighthawk AX12 12-Stream AX6000 belongs to such devices.
Fuchsia instead of chrome
Google is working hard on a new system called Fuchsia. This solution should work on any device: from smartphones to laptops – in general, on any wearable device. The first alpha tests should start next year.
Fast processors, big drives
In 2019, processor manufacturers, namely AMD and Intel, will continue their race. AMD already during CES 2019 intends to show new processors made using 7nm process technology. This is one of the most anticipated premieres of next year. And, of course, this is a heavy stone in the garden of Intel, which is still struggling with the 10-nanometer process technology. Launching the 7nm process means building very fast processors with 16 cores.
Another upcoming technology is thermal magnetic recording (HAMR)
When writing to a disc using the HAMR method, a laser is used to heat the surface. This allows you to increase the density of data recording. The first HAMR discs should appear as early as 2019, although it will be possible to talk about mass production only in a year.
So, in 2019, no revolutionary changes are expected. Artificial intelligence will slowly spread around the world, although unemployment due to fully autonomous robots does not yet threaten us. We also won’t be able to drive in electric autonomous cars or walk around with augmented reality glasses yet. There is an evolution, not a revolution.
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