What’s ahead in technology for 2022? Forbes has taken a look at the future, now shaped by the pandemic-induced acceleration of digitization and virtualization across society.
In 2022, Forbes contributor Bernard Marr says that means a growing need for sustainability, ever-increasing data volumes, and faster network speeds to drive the next wave of digital transformation. Luckily, one lesson of the world since March 2020 is that transformative change isn’t as difficult as we might have thought.
“As a society, we will undoubtedly continue to harness this newfound openness to flexibility, agility, and innovative thinking, as the focus shifts from merely attempting to survive in a changing world to thriving in it,” Marr says.
His five trends to watch are:
Artificial Intelligence Everywhere
“Smart” really just used to mean connected, Marr says, but now it means more: powered by AI, a term we’re using to describe machine learning algorithms in general.
AI is already all around us in our daily lives, with facial recognition algorithms to address behavior and technology to help us take better pictures, have better phone calls, and improve voice-recognition software. AI down the road could even mean smart toilets, we can dare to dream, able to diagnose health issues with a close look at stool samples.
Everything-as-a-Service and the No-Code Revolution
Marr sees “the ongoing democratization of data and technology” as a powerful driver of technology. In recent years, skills and tools necessary for tech-led innovation have reached the hands of more and more people, including those with little technical expertise.
This is especially helpful as today’s big cloud solutions for networking and processing are expensive.
“Hybrid solutions – for when public cloud services aren’t entirely appropriate, for example when dealing with very private or valuable data – have matured to the point where a ‘best of both worlds’ solution is often viable,” Marr says.
Can’t find or afford an army of skilled programmers? Ready-built AI solutions are already in the workplace for marketing, HR, project management, and more.
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“In 2022 we will continue to see companies deploying AI and IoT (Internet of Things) infrastructure without owning a single server or proprietary piece of cognitive code,” Marr says.
Digitization, Datafication and Virtualization
In 2022, Forbes says, we’ll be more and more familiar with the concept of a “Metaverse” – persistent digital worlds that exist in parallel with the physical world we live in.
Inside these Metaverses, we’ll continue to do what we did before working, playing, and socializing, with ever more immersive, accurate, convincing (and ultimately valuable) simulations of the real world.
Your VR headset may really be convincing, but Marr predicts more: improved devices, with tactile feedback “and even smells.”
He says Ericsson, for starters, is developing what it calls an “internet of senses,” and predicts that by 2030 there will be virtual experiences indistinguishable from reality.
Transparency, Governance and Accountability
OK, but can we trust, find comfort with, and ultimately use this new technology? We already have pushback against technology, particular against the seemingly unaccountable complexity of AI.
So the idea of “transparent and explainable” is growing, to combat that distrust, and regulators want a framework for AI. Marr points to the European Union’s proposed Artificial Intelligence Act, which would restrict some government uses of AI. Tech companies are calling for “balance” to avoid stifling their innovation.
Sustainable Energy Solutions
According to Marr, renewable energy use in the United States increased by 40% during the first 10 weeks of lockdown, and non-renewable energy use dropped worldwide.
The cost of renewable energy is dropping, and more innovations are on their way. One company claims a nuclear fusion reactor — the long-elusive technology to duplicate the processes of the sun — could be online in 2022.
And “green hydrogen” energy is emerging, technologies to use clean energy to separate hydrogen from oxygen in water.
Marr promises more on such future trends, and real-world examples, in his books, “Tech Trends in Practice” and “Business Trends in Practice.”
Read the full article in Forbes.