Technologies To Keep Up To Date With

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Technology seems to be advancing at such a pace that it is hard to keep up with what is and is not going to make an impact and affect our lives. Regardless of whether we are early adopters or reluctant late starters, we live in a world that is increasingly connected.

Understanding what technologies are coming down the tracks, or are already here, is essential to help us make informed decisions.

1. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning

Artificial intelligence allows computers to mimic human behavior. Machine learning is a subset of AI that helps to improve the accuracy of the imitations. These technologies are already widely used in finance, transportation, health care, and online gaming. They make predictions, analyze data, and automate tasks.

These will become inbuilt into almost everything we do online, and it is important to understand where you will see them pop up.

Finance and payments

AI and ML are used to analyze financial data, look for patterns and trends, and help with decision-making. They are also at the forefront of keeping our financial information and accounts secure. In addition, they can help to detect fraud and automate data entry. For example, if making online payments, AI can detect your usual pattern and make suggestions. So when using Google Pay shopping, ApplePay subscriptions, or PayPal casinos, it can autofill details and check for fraud.

Health care

These technologies can be used to help with diagnosis and treatment planning. For example, AI and ML are used to analyze medical images and data, looking for patterns and trends. They can also be used when monitoring patients, scheduling care and treatment, and improving record-keeping.

Customer Service 

We are all aware of the live chat help we find on many websites and the ‘chatbot’ that guides us through the most commonly asked questions. They have become an interactive Frequently Asked Question feature. However, AI can do more than this as they help to improve customer service and effectiveness by routing customers to the correct department. However, if there is not sufficient human backup, they can cause customer frustration.

Managing supply chain in organizations

AI and ML help to improve inventory management and can create accurate forecasts whether businesses operate on just-in-time or stock-holding models. They can be used to improve logistics and transport. Many tasks previously requiring human input and pouring over spreadsheets, such as tracking orders and paying suppliers, can now be automated.

Servicing and maintenance

We are used to our cars letting us know it is time for a service, oil change, or that the tire pressures look a little off. AI and ML can analyze sensors in all kinds of settings to predict when machinery is at risk of failure. This information can be used to schedule proactive maintenance and minimize downtime.

2. Blockchain and Web3

Most of us are relatively comfortable with the concept of AI and ML. However, blockchain and Web3 technologies are still unfathomable for many. They are a decentralized and secure way of processing and storing data which could revolutionize the industry in the not-too-distant future. There is much talk and hype about cryptocurrencies, but here are some other ways this tech can be used.

  • Blockchain can be used to track goods in the supply chain and improve accountability and transparency. Where this will be at its most useful in food safety and quality, where traceability is critical.
  • In healthcare, this technology can be used to store and manage patient data in an efficient and secure way. As a result, healthcare providers can access and share information, and mistakes can be minimized.
  • Web3 technologies make decentralized identity systems a reality. This means identities can be verified in a decentralized system which is particularly useful for online transactions. Web3 could also be used to enable secure and transparent online voting systems and make it easier for individuals to engage safely in democratic processes.

3. The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things has been with us for quite some time now. Connected devices can communicate with each other and exchange data. On the one hand, it includes a chip that allows us to switch on the kettle from our phone; on the other, it can be used to improve efficiency and decision-making on an industrial scale. Some examples of how IoT will affect our lives in the future include the following.

Smart cities

IoT will create cities that are more sustainable and efficient. We already have smart meters to help manage our energy usage. Whole towns could have sensors to organize transport, energy, water, and waste disposal.

Maintenance

Using IoT technology, the performance of industrial equipment can be monitored and tracked. This allows companies to predict and plan preemptive maintenance schedules.

Looking after the environment

IoT devices can track and monitor environmental conditions. From air and water quality to earthquake and tsunami risks, sensors can help manage extreme weather events.

Health care

IoT will also be of benefit in managing and monitoring patients. This will enable remote patient care and ‘at-home’ virtual hospital wards. In addition, wearable devices and home systems will be able to exchange data with healthcare professionals and systems.

4. Quantum Computing

Anyone uncomfortable around the technicalities of tech might run a mile at the words ‘quantum computing’. The concept seems alien and the preserve of the brainiest professors. However, this technology is now finding its way into the everyday.

Put simply, quantum computing can solve problems that are too complex for traditional computers. They use quantum-mechanical phenomena to manipulate data. These techniques are used for financial modeling and pharmaceutical discoveries.

Financial modeling

Quantum computer technology can perform complex financial modeling and run the analysis of varying risks. This can help financial institutions make investment decisions based on a broad range of potential outcomes,

Drug discovery

Creating simulations of chemical reactions and protein folding can accelerate the process of bringing new drugs to the market.

Machine learning

Quantum computers are being deployed to train machine-learning models. In addition, the technology has the potential to improve artificial intelligence.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is always a battle, with banks and institutions needing to stay one step ahead of criminals. Quantum computers may be used to create quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms and secure data from attacks by quantum computers. 

5. Robots and Intelligent Automation

Robots

No article on tech to look out for would be complete without a nod to robots which have always been hailed as what the future will look like. While the robots we live alongside are not the humanoid machines of sci-fi books and films, robotic process automation (RPA) is constantly evolving.  

RPA lies behind many of the automated customer support programs we find on websites and customer contact centers. In addition, automation (in conjunction with AI and machine learning) is deployed in healthcare, human resources, financial services, and manufacturing. 

6. The tech of the future

Many of us are not interested in the technology behind our devices – as long as they work, we are happy to use them. However, it is interesting to think about how far we have come from the earliest days of dial-up modems and speech-only mobile phones. 

Twenty years ago, it would have been almost impossible to envisage how reliant we are on our phones and devices. In a similar way, it is hard to understand what will happen in the next two decades. What is pretty certain, however, is that whatever we think might happen, we are probably in for some big surprises.

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