2020 has arrived. As we progress into a new digital age, we see transformative technologies rapidly emerging like never before. People often do not comprehend how fast technologies evolve and how they affect our lives as a whole. Although this blog focuses more on blockchain, there are many emerging trends taking precedent alongside blockchain. As important as Distributed Ledger Technology can be, these other technologies should be observed and noted. These includes Machine Learning and automation tools. Companies like DuoLingo, SparkCognition, Augury, Signal AI, Chorus, Cobalt, and over 230 cities globally with Machine Learning startups in operation.
Multi-sensory projects are shifting peoples perceptions of the world. In the early 1990’s Virtual Reality experiences tried to gain adoption in shopping malls. If you recall the thriller movies “Lawnmower Man” or “Total Recall” this kind of environment can be visualized. Now, companies like Oculus, HTC, Hewlett Packard, Magic Leap, and of course Google are all rapidly deploying new experiences for mass adoption. Many of these experiences are geared towards gaming, but other uses include recruitment and training, pain management, creating and forecasting trends, training medical students, treatment of PTSD, and social cognition.
The democratization of of information continues to gain momentum. Data & Analytics tools, like MongoDB, Apache Hadoop, Lumify, RapidMiner, and others will allow for scalability and rapid deployment of data. Custom application through the use of AI, low-code and no code platforms will enable non developers to deploy solutions to the masses. Non IT professional will be enabled with tools allowing them to apply specialized skills above and beyond their training.
Human augmentation. Traditionally, we have referred to the science fiction name of “Cyborg” when thinking of man merged with machine. In 2020, companies are continuing research into solutions for prosthetics, sight, implants, and “Bio-printing” which essentially is 3-D printed organic tissues. This in particular could be quite revolutionary for human evolvement as many are in need of replacement parts which can be damaged from bone loss. When we think of Cyborgs, we think of action and entertainment movies of the future, however they are becoming very real with the merging of humans and machines. The movie “Blade Runner” illustrates a dystopia of this environment.
Smart Cities and Smart Spaces will continue to evolve. Some cities are rapidly deploying this model in Asia, Particularly Sejong and Busan in Korea. In China dozens of cities are deploying automation, facial recognition, automated transportation and endless IoT solutions. The advanced urbanization of our planet will only see massive and rapid increases of these practices in the years to come.
Distribution of the Cloud. Cloud computing will become more distributed and less centralized as more options open. Cloud initiatives will account for 70% of all technology spending going into 2020. 80% of all organizations globally will be involved in cloud computing by 2025. As remote working will continue to expand, workers will greatly benefit from Cloud advancements and its capabilities.
Automation is King. In simple language, robots could advance over human capabilities. Robots will rule the world – but not yet. Autonomous vehicles continue to be tested and have yet to hit mainstream due to safety reasons. There are parallel effects from this which will cut costs, but also remove low skilled labor and increase a demand in high tech skills for all humans. You may have experienced autonomous transportation by taking your local airport terminal commuter trains. Drones and other AuT (Autonomous Things) will expand.
Last but not least, Blockchain. Since the inception and notoriety of digital currency (Bitcoin), the general public has had a fascination with the capabilities of the various distributed ledgers. Most of this focus has been on the price of digital assets, and enterprise level firms have been deploying their own in house blockchains. The international banking giant HSBC recently announced that it will transfer $20 Billion in assets on a blockchain based custody platform. World governments are also starting to seriously explore the capabilities of their own national digital currencies. The wild west atmosphere of Cryptocurrency is becoming increasingly institutional but still piques the interest of more grass roots enthusiast communities, developers, and retail investors who still “Hodl”. One of the trending buzzwords of late 2019 was “DeFi” which is short for “Decentralized Finance”. Projects like MakerDao have gained prominence, loaning and staking platforms, as well as Stable Coins. Regardless of the price of Bitcoin, it will be an interesting year for all of these emerging technologies.