Future Horizons in review – 5 tech conversations that ruled in 2018
Future Horizons in review – 5 tech conversations that ruled in 2018

Future Horizons in review – 5 tech conversations that ruled in 2018

Many people have yet to realize just how fast technology is changing. In a chain-reaction fashion, new technologies lead to even newer technologies – which proves Ray Kurzweil right. According to his Law of Accelerating Returns, the rate of change in a wide variety of evolutionary systems, including but not limited to the growth of technologies, tends to increase exponentially.

This is all the more reason for tech companies and consumers alike to keep a close eye on trends and examine how technologies evolve from one year to the next. Here at QUALITANCE we turned this practice into a tech content program called Future Horizons (FH). Every year we pick out 5 ascending technologies that we investigate in an abundance of conversations, from talks and shows featuring prominent experts to in-depth blog articles.  

Here is a short recap of our key conversations on the Future Horizons technologies of 2018.

1. Artificial Intelligence

AI was a lot on our mind last year. Professor Dan Cautis from Georgetown University rocked our headquarters with a captivating talk on how important philosophy is to science in general and to machine learning in particular. It’s not everyday that we get to listen to renowned professor explain how AI understands reality and handles uncertainty, so I can assure you this video is worth your time.

For a synopsis of the talk, check out this blog post. If you need a richer context, you might want to delve into this short history of Artificial Intelligence and/or browse through the biggest AI breakthroughs over the past 10 years.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

In 2017, Gartner announced that by 2020 we would have approximately 20 billion connected devices. From healthcare, transportation and manufacturing all the way to agriculture or aviation, IoT reached its tipping point, yet under a new name – The Industrial Internet (IIoT).

With these two perspectives in mind, we kept a close watch on IoT and published a series of articles that paint a clearer picture of this widespread phenomenon:

If you’d rather visualize how IoT is changing our lives, our cities and our homes, check out this cool infographic.

3. Blockchain

The blockchain technology may not necessarily be breaking news anymore, but this doesn’t stop us from questioning whether it’s living up to the hype it created or not. Hence, with the help of blockchain expert Sebastian Cochinescu, QUALITANCE Chief Innovation Officer Mike Parsons took its pulse and identified the ways in which various industries, from energy, digital identities and medical research to voting and media can leverage this groundbreaking technology. 

The Bitcoin hype tends to overshadow the myriad of upgrades that blockchain offers in so many industries. So, here we focused on 3 non-financial blockchain applications that are worth everyone’s attention.

If you want to learn how blockchain works and how it’s changing our mindset around transactions, trust and freedom, we recommend you this light reading.

4. Immersive technologies

While Virtual Reality (VR) apparently lost a bit of ground, because of the simulation sickness it causes and the input it requires, Augmented Reality (AR) kept rising due to the easiness with which it enables users to live an out-of-reality experience in the immediate reality. Mixed Reality (MR) was also on an ascending curb, in spite of being the youngest of all immersive technologies.

In 2018, Statista predicted that by 2022 the AR & VR market would reach $ 209 billion, mostly due to the ease of development and awareness among consumers. It’s bound to happen, especially since tech giants started helping developers and creatives secure state-of-the-art tools such as Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore. Naturally, the number of immersive applications grew exponentially far beyond the entertainment space. If you want to find out more on how immersive tech keeps influencing our lives, we recommend you this synopsis.

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In an inspiring Future Horizons show, digital innovator Jeff Jaffers revealed the latest trends in AR, VR and MR, explaining how immersive tech can create mind-blowing experiences, instilling strong emotional bonds with products, brands, cultures and societies.

The show was such an inspiration that we investigated what the future holds for immersive realities in 2019 and wrote all about it in this short report. A new grammar of film, 6DoF, 5G, untethered headsets – it’s all there.

5. Autonomous cars

Ever since a self-driving Uber killed a pedestrian in Arizona, people started to rage against autonomous vehicles. In fact, never before have opinions been so divided. Some can’t accept all the behavioral and psychological changes this new concept of driving incorporates. Others insist that humans, not intelligent systems, should remain the ultimate decision-makers.

More often than not, the same questions resurfaces: Can AI replace our capacities as moral agents? Here is an insightful infographic on the most frequent concerns about driverless cars and how they change society.

All the above-mentioned advances lay the foundation to build even more advances, enabling technology to evolve faster and faster over time. On the other hand, whether we like it or not, technology is at the heart of our lives. It’s our new environment, so we can’t afford to remain oblivious or stay behind.

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