Right from the invention of the wheel and the spear, technology has shaped human history – and the Digital Era is no different. Technology continues to have a formidable impact on the way we live, work, socialise, and exist. You only need to look at the device you’re reading this on and the internet that’s bringing it to you to see that fact in action. Let’s take a look at the ten most exciting technologies that are sure to have an effect on our future and society that may even dwarf that of the Industrial Revolution.
Here are the top 10 tech trends that will define the coming decade and beyond.
1. Quantum computing
Quantum computers are essentially a different kind of super computer, which uses qubits instead of binary to transmit a far greater amount of information in the same space. What this does is allow for a whole new level of advanced computers which can solve in seconds problems which would take our current computer technology thousands of years.
With such computers on the market, everything we do with computers would have to change overnight. The applications for quantum computers are limitless; its ability to solve even the most complex problems means it could do work that’s nearly impossible without millions of dollars in supercomputers, such as unfolding and predicting protein sequences in medicine.
Quantum computers aren’t still fully out of the lab and experiment chamber just yet, but with the world’s biggest tech companies (including IBM and Google) reporting significant breakthroughs, it’s only a matter of time until these advanced quantum computers change the face of computing itself.
2. Autonomous vehicles & self-driving technology
Cars and transport are a central feature of human civilization – and with advances in AI, visual recognition software, and computer technology, the era of autonomous vehicles is all but here.
AI and autonomous guidance are safer and more efficient than human drivers, and they can save time, money, and resources on existing transportation methods. Tesla recently published driver data demonstrating the life-saving results of its automated driving and safety technology:
‘For those driving without Autopilot but with our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 2.05 million miles driven. For those driving without Autopilot and without our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 978 thousand miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 484,000 miles.”Tesla report
Automated navigation systems can plot more efficient courses to save time and fuel, saving millions of dollars and tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. In some cases, this advanced technology can increase and decrease engine throttle and speed against wave and wind action to save fuel.
The impact of self-driving cars goes beyond just safety and efficiency; it could disrupt work and create whole new personless industries. Just imagine loading your Uber app onto your Tesla, and setting it to ‘taxi’ mode when you get to work, so it goes out and earns a living while you do?
3. Space travel, space tourism, and the new space race
On the surface, the news and hype around space travel doesn’t seem like much more than a few billionaires fulfilling personal fantasies of going to space. However, it would be a mistake to ignore the significance and world-changing potential of the world entering another space race.
The first space race brought remarkable advancements to the human race, including LEDs, CAT scans, cell phone cameras, modern athletic shoes, modern water purification, wireless headsets, freeze-dried food, smoke detectors, portable laptops, and many more. With new attention being thrown on space travel once more, and companies making this travel cheaper and more versatile, we could see the development of technology that we haven’t even thought about yet.
What’s more, it won’t cost taxpayers billions of dollars this time around: Space-X, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and other private companies are subsiding and refining the tech needed to get to space, both reinventing space travel and creating a whole new industry of space tourism in the process. One day, going into space (or even to a base on the Moon or Mars) could be as easy as booking a plane ticket today.
4. Intelligent spaces and places
As the world grows, our cities will only get bigger. The UN predicts that 68 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. So what do we do about the many social, environmental, and economic challenges that our cities will face? The answer: Smart Cities.
With the spread of ICTs and digital technologies, our cities will become more connected than ever before. We’ve already seen the power of tech automating home and office spaces, which result in more efficient, better living spaces by automatically managing lighting, heating, and water. As tech becomes ever more ubiquitous, our cities will become smarter, more efficient, and more sustainable.
Smart cities could be much more pleasant, efficient, and economic places to live within a decade, if tech is used to better manage our public spaces. Smart cities could, for example, keep traffic flowing, even at the heaviest peak hours. They could manage resources more efficiently, by avoiding wasteful lighting or unnecessary garbage collection timings. And they could make cities safer, more connected places to live for humans, as tech both connects us and allows us to better track, investigate, and prevent common urban crime.
5. CRISPR and gene engineering
CRISPR is a technology that allows researchers to edit genes – or even ‘switch on or off’ genes without altering their sequences. In the past few years, this truly revolutionary technology has made huge strides, giving the world much promise for breakthroughs in the treatment of HIV, Ebola, RNA viruses, and cancer.
CRISPR represents a significant stride forward in the curing of illnesses that are otherwise impossible to treat with conventional medicine. What’s more, it’s breakthroughs have whittled down both the cost and time requirements for gene editing, meaning that the ability to experiment with new treatments is open to a far greater number of laboratories.
The benefits and results of CRISPR will be life-changing for millions of people across the world, as doctors and scientists are taking tentative steps towards experimental therapies and treatments that could solve serious illnesses, such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, autoimmune diseases, genetic conditions, diabetes, and many, many more.
6. The intersection of Virtual Reality and Augmented people
Wearable technology and virtual reality are already on our wrists and in our homes. However, as the technology driving these advances steadily improves, and intertwines with technology for human augmentation, we could see the stuff of science fiction become as common as the phones in our hands.
A monkey with a Neuralink chip installed in its brain was able to play pong without its hands, using just its mind. This is a simplistic start, of course, but it holds great promise for people suffering brain injuries. With this technology, doctors could restore sight, sound, or movement to people with spinal or brain damage, or could allow people with missing limbs to use robotic, digitally-driven prosthetics as naturally as a natural human hand or leg.
7. 3D printing
The advancements of 3D printing have allowed it to become relatively portable and accessible, so that the average person can design and print sold objects without needing an industrial warehouse and specialized equipment.
This tech is so much bigger than printing statues and spare parts for your appliances at home, however. 3D printing employed a macro scale could mean houses that are faster, cheaper, and easier to produce – and as the lines separating different fields of science blur, 3D printing and medicine could intersect and leading to breakthroughs in bioprinting where new organs, skin, and tissue can be made in a lab to help heal the sick.
Who knows? One day you could even affordably bioprint a fillet steak for your dinner.
Since the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope in 1981, the world of nanotechnology has grown from science fiction to science fact. Today, nanotechnology is making steady progress, with experiments demonstrating promising results across a wide array of applications, including administering drugs and medicine in very specific places, diagnosing illness with microscopic graphene rods, treating bacterial infections with gold particles, healing wounds, and repairing cells.
As the coming decade reveals better (and even smaller) technology and more refined manufacturing processes, we could see nanotechnology taking a pivotal role in medicine delivery and medical treatment.
9. Green technologies
Green tech came about as a direct response to the challenges of climate change and global warming. Just as the issues of the changing climate across the world are multifaceted and varied, so too does green tech cover a wide range of applications and industries. Right now, green technology is being used to solve crises in energy, clean water supply, and carbon pollution, but it’s also being used to improve and refine other industries to be more efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
The climate challenges that humans face will likely only grow more severe as time goes on and population growth and resource depletion intensify, but with the rapid advancement of technology so will our capability to tolerate and reverse these climate effects. In the next decade, green tech is sure to be a frontrunner for the most important technologies on the planet.
10. AI and intelligent assistants
AI and intelligent assistants are already in our homes and hands, with Siri, Alexa, Cortana about as well known as any celebrity. However, with the significant advancements in AI, machine learning, and cloud computing, the role these assistants will play in our homes and lives will only grow more pronounced. These technologies won’t just become more sophisticated (we’ve already seen how an intelligent assistance could make you an appointment at a local hair salon), but AI and audio synthesis technology become more advanced, they could talk to you (and sound just like a real person), create complex software applications for you, or even write your blog articles for you.
With the rapid wave of digitisation and technological advancement happening across the globe, it’s clear that there are some massive and life-changing breakthroughs heading our way. All of these advancements rely on one thing: tech skills. Whether it’s new world-saving green technologies, sophisticated new AI, or medical technology that changes the way we think about illness, the ability to work with technology will be a vital part of this new future, world, and economy.
Our online and on-site mentor-led coding bootcamps put practical tech skills into the hands of those who need them, so that they can start real developer and engineer work in months rather than years. With our modern curriculum and project-based syllabus, you can start building a portfolio of working software, websites, or apps that will demonstrate your tech proficiency and launch your career in web development, software engineering, or data science in as little as 3 months.
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