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20.08.2019 Feature Article

Tech Predictions That Are Already Happening

Tech Predictions That Are Already Happening

Fifty years ago, the internet was not widely used, landlines were the most common medium of communication and no one had ever heard of e-commerce. In that amount of time, people have managed to change the world drastically.

In the span of 20 years, mobile phones were introduced and were big as walkies – talkies, if you’re missing a loved one, you can call them anytime through your mobile phone.

There’s no need to look for a phone attached to a cord. Within a period of ten years, though internet was still not widely but was in the some of the big and major countries in the world, if you need help with your homework or you want to figure out how to fix your sink, you can just look it up on the internet. There are so many advancements in technology that have changed our lives over these years.

Today, some people live their lives on the internet, work on it, school on it and even travels to another place without necessarily moving the physical body. People have obtained degrees, PhDs through online schooling on the internet, religious people have access to lots of information through the internet.

Is anyone thinking about the world in the next fifty years yet to come, a lot of technological advancement has taken place, introduction of hybrid cars, high quality HD cameras, high quality smart phones electric trains and now introduction of hybrid trucks.

Have you ever thought about what it would look like another 20 years from now? Would we still have mobile phones? What would e-commence be like? Would IT jobs still be the same? To give you a glimpse into the future of IT, here are some predictions that experts think will come true in the next 20 years.

Big Data will take over the world.
In the span of a decade, big data has become indispensable to companies and organizations worldwide. It indicates that everything from the best marketing approach to reach more customers and convert their curiosity into sales to how they can streamline their supply chain. There is so much use for this technology, and in the next fifty years, the world will see it fully integrated into all our systems.

The problem of deleting would be a thing of the past, large storage of data would be made available and possibly free for everyone, they would be no need of deleting and transferring new documents, you would simply create a folder for the old stuffs. Lots of people would have large amount of document that would need this kind of storage, books, newspapers, health records, certificates, personal details would all be online.

Surveillance will be unstoppable.
In Africa, surveillance is not common as it is in the western and advanced world, though some countries in Africa are now catching up with the advanced world despite all this even as much as people hate to admit it, the world is becoming easier to monitor.

Give it two more decades and it will become inevitable. With the combination of high quality HD cameras, sensors, wireless communication satellites and GPS, there will be no untraceable location, person or event, let’s take iPhone as an example, it is missing, you simply track it and it is found that’s all. Eventually, we will be tracking ourselves, each other, governments, countries, organizations and even corporations.

Automation is the way to go.
We are now at a point where much of the jobs we do are now than clearly by robots and much faster and more efficiently. Eventually, organizations, governments, companies or even in our domestic homes we will look to robots and automation for even the simpler functions and companies will look at difficult functions in the business, such as marketing, finance and IT. Not only will this reduce their bottom line expenses, it also expedites tasks and ensures high-quality performance.

Though it might sound weird now, but in the next 50 years driving your personal car may become illegal in order to avoid the dangers of inadequate human reflexes. Market research companies like Deloitte predict that there is a future where you cannot drive the car you have paid for. As machines become more and more intelligent, they will usher in fundamental changes to our everyday routines, just like smartphones did in the last decade, imagine how life used to be before the introduction of smartphones, if you are finding it difficult just do this simple test; put away your smartphone for a day and see how it feels like? But, if 2050 seems a bit far in the future for you, then take a look at these technologies that are highly likely to become a part of your reality in the next 25 years.

The Internet of things or web 3.0
The Internet of things has long been talked about amongst tech insiders as the next big innovation in home technology. In recent years, this has begun carve a niche for itself in everyday life with the growing adoption of systems like Google’s Home and Amazon’s Alexa. These devices will continue to integrate more aspects of the home into one harmonious system by utilizing the internet, allowing a user to control anything from the air conditioning to their security via voice command and a small personal assistant, it just like given instruction for things to be done but this time around not with humans but a bossier and simple way via the internet.

Apple has announced its plans to roll out the Home Pod this year and Samsung is reportedly working on their Bixby technology in order to compete with the success of the Google and Amazon systems. You can expect that one of these devices will be simplifying life in your home and the homes around you by 2020, not even 25 years or 50 but think of 50 years’ time how would it now be like? Basically we are living in the world of the internet even now this 2019 we are living in the world of internet.

Automatic payment eliminating cashiers
While large-scale innovation in automation has traditionally been limited to the production side of society, the technology will have far reaching implications for consumers by 2020. Amazon’s automated grocery store, eliminating the need for cashiers, has been one of the first major tech triumphs of the year.

The store has proven itself successful as an efficient alternative for shoppers in its first location. The current cost of this technology, however, puts it out of the reach of pretty much any other storefront. As the technology continues to develop, consumers can expect that pressure sensors and cameras that automate pay and alleviate long lines in stores will be coming to groceries and pharmacies near you in the next couple of years.

Crypto currency
After Bitcoin’s meteoric price jump in 2017, major tech players have begun to take crypto currencies seriously. Along with major Initial Coin Offerings that have hit major news outlets like Etherium, smaller companies are developing Stablecoins that provide attempt to provide all the pros of crypto currency transactions without the price fluctuations that have plagued the system.

As these coins begin to work themselves out and exchanges even out the fluctuations in prices, expect these assets to be mainstream methods of payment by 2020. Akon is about to own his own city in Africa which will use a crypto currency named AKOIN, apart it no other money would be accepted, Facebook is about to established its own crypto currency for transactions. Crypto currency is going to fade out cash system in the world.

Block chain
Block chain, the decentralized ledger that holds together crypto currencies, has applications reaching far beyond financial transactions. Companies have applied the technology to everything, from simplifying tracking and access to information in academia to interesting and amusing games that use complex algorithms to create unique experiences.

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence, which once may have seemed like something out of a Sci-Fi novel, is seeing the light and applications of the technology are already being worked on. In particular, with the rise of the Internet of Things, Information Technology and Cyber security firms have begun to adopt artificial neural networks in order to monitor and prevent DDoS attacks.

In addition to its security applications, companies like Amazon and Google have begun to apply the technology to regular consumers in order to simplify shopping and searching experiences on the platforms. With all the current progress of AI technology, it is reasonable to expect that by the year 2020 the innovation will be deeply entrenched in business and consumer activities, recently AI technology was established in Accra Ghana, first of its kind on the continent of Africa.

Some of the above predictions are already happening and some are gear for 2020

Let’s take a look at tech prediction in the next 30 years by some real top tech insiders from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

Darpa scientists have even bigger ideas. In a video series shot last year called "Forward to the Future," three researchers predicted what they imagined would be a reality in 30 years.

Dr. Justin Sanchez, a neuroscientist and director of Darpa's Biological Technologies Office, believes we'll be at a point where we can control things simply by using our mind.

"Imagine a world where you could just use your thoughts to control your environment," Sanchez said. "Think about controlling different aspects of your home just using your brain signals, or maybe communicating with your friends and your family just using neural activity from your brain."

According to Sanchez, Darpa is working on neurotechnologies that can enable this to happen. There are already some examples of these kinds of futuristic breakthroughs in action, like brain implants controlling prosthetic arms.

Just recently Darpa demonstrated this amazing tech for the first time and gave a paralyzed man back the sense of touch — with brain implants that provided the feeling "as if his own hand were being touched," he reported.

The future has more than just brain implants. Many other exciting things could change the buildings and other objects around us, says Stefanie Tompkins, a geologist and director of Darpa's Defense Sciences Office.

She thinks we'll be able to build things that are incredibly strong but also very lightweight. Think of a skyscraper using materials that are strong as steel but light as carbon fiber. That's a simple explanation for what Tompkins envisions, which gets a little bit more complicated down at the molecular level.

Here's how she explains it: "In 30 years, I imagine a world where we don't even recognize the materials that surround us."

"I think in 2045 we're going to find that we have a very different relationship with the machines around us," says Pam Melroy, an aerospace engineer and a former astronaut who is now a deputy director at Darpa's Tactical Technologies Office. "I think that we will begin to see a time when we're able to simply just talk or even press a button" to interact with a machine to get things done more intelligently, instead of using keyboards or rudimentary voice-recognition systems.

She continued: "For example, right now to prepare for landing in an aircraft there's multiple steps that have to be taken to prepare yourself, from navigation, get out of the cruise mode, begin to set up the throttles ... put the gear down. All of these steps have to happen in the right sequence."

She continued:
Instead, Melroy envisions an aircraft landing in the future being as simple as what an airline pilot tells the flight attendants: "Prepare for landing." In 2045, a pilot may just say those three words and the computer knows the series of complex steps it needs to do to make that happen.

Instead, Melroy envisions an aircraft landing in the future being as simple as what an airline pilot tells the flight attendants:

Or perhaps, with artificial intelligence, a pilot won't even be necessary.

"Our world will be full of those kinds of examples where we can communicate directly our intent and have very complex outcomes by working together," she said.

Tech visions that will become a reality in just half the expected years.

Another unbelievable thing that would happen is wireless electricity.

Wireless electricity
The first step towards a true wireless power transfer has been taken by leading mobile manufacturers through what we know as wireless charging. If you own a supported model, you can just put your smartphone on a charging dock (which is a surface) and refill your battery –no cords involved. But, companies like WiTricity are already working on taking this technology a step further.

Envisioned by Nikola Tesla more than a century ago, wireless power transfer over distance is believed to become commonplace in the next 25 years that’s half of even what we are predicting.

This technology uses magnetic resonance to transfer power from one device to another and it will have a profound effect on consumer electronics, electric cars, medical devices and robots, in the era of Industry 4.0. Imagine an office without any cords or a home where you can just put your phone on the kitchen counter and watch your favorite YouTuber while your smart device gets recharged.

Utility fog
As a form of self-reconfiguring modular robotics, utility fogs are tiny robots that can replicate a physical structure. These microscopic robots are one of the main aims of the advancements in nanotechnology. It is best explained by Dr. J. Storrs Hall, a research fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing: "Imagine a microscopic robot. It has a body about the size of a human cell and 12 arms sticking out in all directions. A bucket full of such robots might form a 'robot crystal' by linking their arms up into a lattice structure. Now take a room, with people, furniture, and other objects in it - it is still mostly empty air. Fill the air completely full of robots. The robots are called "Foglets" and the substance they form is "Utility Fog," which may have many useful medical applications and when a number of utility foglets hold hands with their neighbors, they form a reconfigurable array of smart matter."

Domestic robots
Vacuum cleaner robots like Roomba or Dyson 360 Eye are only the beginning. As early as 2030, we will see robots that assist us in household chores. The innovation on this area stands between artificial intelligence and robotics. So they will be singing your favorite songs and keeping you company while you wash the dishes. As all futurists agree on a future where human beings will become lonelier, companionship will become a primary goal for future robots.

Smart contact lenses
Forget Google Glass, a smart contact lens does not need to be fancy to change people's lives. It needs to improve quality of life by constantly measuring eye pressure of glaucoma patients, gauging glucose levels, and sending all that information to their doctors in real time. Auto-focusing lenses will let aging people shift their focus between near and far distances without any glasses and will also allow users to have better night vision. Aside from a built-in camera, secondary vision and other gizmos, these will be the real-life benefits that can "display" a better world for millions of people.

Non-flying cars
Despite what we saw in Back to the Future II, the next 25 years will not bring us flying cars, rather, the future holds a smart, efficient and "shared" riding experience for humanity. As self-driving vehicles become ubiquitous, we will not be driving these vehicles. We will simply ride them. This will also take ride-sharing systems like Uber to the next level. With the "Internet of Things" and billions of sensors and smart devices, you will be able to order a very cheap ride and share it with others in a route that is smartly designed to deliver all passengers to their destination with maximum efficiency.

The Matrix
No future-predicting list would be complete without a nod to the 1999 blockbuster starring Keanu Reeves who will probably not age in the next 25 years. Like the prolific futurist Ian Pearson, many insist that we could live in a virtual world, just like the Matrix. With advancements in nanotechnology, our brains could be plugged into systems using tiny chips, living in a stimulated world.

Speaking to Tech Insider, Pearson once said, "You can certainly make something a bit like the Matrix, if you wanted to. You could link people's brains to the computers in the future, so much that they believe they're living in a virtual world."

So, get ready for a future where everybody dons a leather trench coat and knows Kung-Fu.

It no doubt that the future with tech is going be exciting and with the brain, voice recognition and simple touch difficult things would be made simpler for us all. I pray we live to see it!!!!

Azuraa Bukari Ayuba
Azuraa Bukari Ayuba, © 2019

This author has authored 1 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: AzuraaBukariAyuba

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