Technology! It certainly is a key part of our lives these days and continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. But, where will it go from here? Trying to make accurate predictions is difficult, because envisioning the future normally results in comical, largely inaccurate science fiction nonsense. After all, who could have guessed what a smartphone-based online casino was back in the 1980s? No one. They predicted hover boards and jetpacks instead, which mostly still don’t exist.
Though, in terms of short-term technology trends, predicting where things will go is a bit more feasible. Take a look at some of our top technology trends for 2020, what they are, and where they are likely to go. Spoiler; there isn’t a hover board or a jetpack to be seen. Yes, secretly we’re pretty bummed about that too.
It’s artificial intelligence! If you haven’t heard or read about it, it’s because either you are completely separate from the general media, or you’ve made a concerted effort to not pay attention. Everyone and their dog know about AI these days, because, frankly, the media can’t stop shrieking about it like banshees. Yes, AI is a thing, and yes, it is pretty fascinating. It has applications in various technologies around the world, such as that voice that speaks to you from home smart device. You know, the one that does things that you could do yourself, only you don’t have to touch a screen. Magic!
AI isn’t as advanced as some have been made to believe, with its potential largely blown out of proportion. But, the tech can, and probably will, still have some far-reaching consequences. No, not in terms of going rogue and enslaving us, but more in terms of potential job losses. The first industrial revolution saw a wave of job losses in a short space of time, and the advancement of automated AI systems may well do something similar.
Early predictions say that as many as 73 million jobs could be lost be lost to AI by 2030, and although these numbers are largely speculative, even 20 million job losses would be significant. Though, on the flipside, early predictions also state that AI could create as many as 23 million jobs. Though, if the AI industry needs 23 million more specialists is a bit questionable.
Robotic Process Automation
The term AI itself is flippantly used to refer to a vast range of software. One of those types of software is Robotic Process Automation, or RPA. RPA is where most job losses will occur, depending on how specifically software development occurs. What RPA refers to is the automation of menial jobs, all but entirely removing the need for a human element. Examples include replying to emails, processing data, or operating the first level of a customer support centre.
Though, it has been said that around 45% of all jobs could be handed over to software, so those with menial jobs need not feel too badly. Jobs that can be automated include a doctor, financial manager, and even company CEO. Which just goes to show that there isn’t that much difference between a data processor and a doctor. Except for the years of medical school, of course, and enormous salary.
Again, it is being pointed out that while jobs are being lost, others are being created. So, if you’re not already considering getting into designing the software that will rob the world of 45% of its jobs, now is the time.
VR and AR
Lastly, we have virtual reality and augmented reality. Many are already declaring it to be dead, but it is having somewhat of a second wind lately thanks to PC gaming behemoth Valve. As it stands, the tech has mostly been used for gaming, but is now branching out into much more significant fields. Namely, training. The U.S Navy and coast guard have developed a system called VirtualShip, which is used to train ship captains on a level never before seen.
Though, VR or AR aren’t exactly mainstream yet, there is still plenty of room for the tech to become applicable to an average household. How this will happen remains to be seen, but we are sure that whatever applications it’s used for, they will benefit us all.