It’s an exciting time to be alive, technology-wise. Things we could only dream about doing as little as ten years ago are not only possible now, but the jump-off point for even more new, awesome technologies.
You don’t believe it? Check out these three technology trends.
AI and Robotics
First thing first, AI and Robotics are not the same. AI, which stands for artificial intelligence, is the creation of software that has the ability to imitate “human-like” decision-making. This is done with algorithms. Robotics, on the other hand, involves the building of machines to perform repetitive tasks.
Some robots do not have AI. They can perform a set number of tasks, ultimately with human direction, like MowRo, where a human being inputs the data and leaves the robot to mow the lawn. Robots that have artificial intelligence can perform functions that usually have been the domain of humans.
For example, the BBC, The Guardian, and The Associated Press have been using robots to write stories. Many readers could not tell the difference between a human-written story and a robot-written one.
Does this mean the robots are coming for our jobs? Not exactly.
Experts are saying that while only 5 percent of jobs have the ability to be totally automated, 60 percent of them can be automated to some extent.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Imagine visiting Stonehenge in England, then Mount Fuji in Japan, then finishing your trip on the white sands and blue waters of the Caribbean. Virtual reality can make this possible for you.
Virtual reality is designed to be an immersive experience. You are taken from your current environment into another, simulated one, made to appear as realistic as possible.
The implications for future applications of this technology are far-ranging. For the most part, gamers are the population segment most familiar with it. But can you imagine movies for example with a virtual reality component? Music concerts?
It can be used in education to provide students with an immersive experience of whatever subject they are studying. It can enable dangerous military training, without endangering the lives of soldiers.
Augmented reality is different in that it is not meant to immerse viewers into an experience or a different reality, so much as to provide more information about the current one.
In augmented reality, the glasses overlay information onto objects, helping you to understand more about them. This would be useful for someone like a medical student, doing their human anatomy course. While they are working with the cadaver, the augmented reality equipment is providing them with information on what they are seeing.
These technologies are not widely in use today among everyday consumers, but scientists and IT specialists are working to change that. In the near future, there may be so much choice between VR or AR products that consumers’ heads will spin.
The Internet of Things
This is a term that has gained wide usage in the last several years but people are still unsure about what it is.
It refers to the connection of everyday electronics and appliances to the Internet. Why would you want to do that? Well, think about it for a bit.
In the old days, if you had chicken in the freezer to defrost for dinner and the oven to preheat, if you got home late from work, all of that would still be waiting for you to do and dinner would be late.
With the Internet of Things technology, a command from your mobile phone can turn off your freezer to defrost the chicken and turn on your oven to heat it up. The only thing it can’t do is getting the chicken in there to cook. But they’re probably thinking of something.
The possibilities of this technology are endless. Imagine going on your morning jog. Your smartwatch keeps track of your vitals and tells your HVAC system to turn your AC on because of the rise in your body’s temperature. When you get home, the temperature is cool.
Your smartwatch also “contacts” your shower. When you get upstairs, the water is just the right temperature when you get in. The dehumidifier has just the right level of moisture in the air, so your allergies don’t act up.
Here, the machines are “talking” to each other, exchanging information you have programmed into them about your preferences.
It sounds like an episode of the Jetsons, but this technology is already here. Aren’t you excited by all of this? What’s even better is that scientists and technologists are coming up with more inventive ways to improve your life. Keep your eyes open for what trends may be next.