Emerging Technologies With Near Term Impact

Given the overwhelming number of science and technology building blocks available and emerging, keeping pace is a monumental task. Harder still is identifying those that have near-term impact. A recent article by Kevin Dickinson identifies ten emerging technologies projected to impact us in the short term – many of which were accelerated by COVID-19. Here is a quick look at the list.

Artificial intelligence: inclusion of AI should surprise no one. The focus continues on a narrow form of AI that is good at specific tasks. People like Max Tegmark see this narrow focus broadening.

5G and IoT: 5G pushes a number of future scenarios forward. At 100 times faster than 4G, the reliability that these scenarios demand is enabled. The Internet of Things sits at the heart of many of these scenarios, and 5G is set to expand the power of the Internet beyond computers.

Serverless computing: compute capacity when needed – and you get charged only when the service runs. This capability dramatically improves resource effectiveness.

Biometrics: the end of the password paradigm. Biometrics allows a system to recognize users by biological markers such as their face, voice, or fingerprint.

Augmented/Virtual Reality: the day may finally be here. Multiple aspects of the pandemic (remote work, reduced business travel, etc.) have driven an acceleration of an augmented and virtual world.

Blockchain: the number of potential use cases is impressive. The article states some of the ways that blockchain could be used. The decentralization of everything is a scenario on the futures curve – blockchain could play a big role in realizing that scenario.

Robotics: so many examples of automation on the horizon – I need no further proof on this one – and this is another case of pandemic-as-accelerant.

Natural Language Processing: it was 2006 when I first was exposed to the potential of NLP. This one has been slowly driving value since that time.

Quantum Computing: it was just the other day that TCS CTO said he was taking a more aggressive approach to quantum computing. As the article states, while we shouldn’t expect the quantum PC any time soon, we can expect quantum computers to become the backbone for the emerging technologies.

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