Predictions on what you can expect from technology in the near future.

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Some of the technological developments that is predicted for the near future seem to come squarely from Sci-Fi fantasising. Many exciting innovations around technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Learning take centre-stage. We reflect on and explore some of the trends and innovations that may become more powerful technologies in 2020 and beyond.

  1.     Neurohacking

The evolving nature of technology sometimes seems like science fiction emerging in the real world and several researchers acknowledge that science fiction has played a role in triggering inspiring breakthroughs. In fact, the MIT Technology Review reports that research in human-computer interaction is mentioning science fiction more than ever. Neuroscientists are attempting to read people’s minds with machines, and although this has been worked on for decades, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are making progress. Dementia sufferers who have complications with neurotransmitters relaying thoughts into comprehensible speech may soon benefit from translating electrical activity from the brain by means of machines decoding brainwaves.

It is daunting to contemplate that science and machines could access our deepest thoughts and use it for neuromarketing to manipulate our wants and desires. Secret and hidden thoughts and ideas could be appropriated by a form of media to manipulate actions and behaviour. However, positive outcomes in domains like Biohacking, Consciousness Hacking, Flow Hacking and Life Hacking relate to the intersection of neurology and consciousness and involve applying science and technology to influence the brain and body in order to optimise subjective human experience.

  1.     Mass Data

With unparalleled amounts of images and data available online, the media, government regulatory bodies and marketers consistently mine user preferences, habits and relationships. The question of how we can keep our activities in the virtual space from shaping the real space of our world is a pertinent one. Intuitive Web designs direct people’s attention to tasks that a computer deems important, often without the choice of the user. Data and the machines and algorithms used to manage and make sense of it could largely replace independent decision and it is happening at such a speed that it’s sometimes difficult to determine who is in control of the data.

  1.     Youth Tech Movements

The increased connectedness and technological abilities of the youth are in stark contrast with a global recession, lack of opportunity and lack of hope and may breed organised anarchy or rebellion in the form of technological or infrastructure sabotage, either physically or in cyberspace. The World Economic Forum indicate that new movements initiated by the youth reflect our current digital age, in which young people can increasingly connect with one another in their own countries and across borders. In doing so, they are exposing the gap between the promise of opportunity and the grim reality of unequal chances.

  1.     Nanotechology, Nanomed

Nanotechnology allows for incredible precision and the replication of aspects of nature at its most basic functioning. In almost every field, nanotechnology is being used for innovations in engineering, medical devices, imaging, computing and many more. Specifically, nanomedicine is growing rapidly and dramatically. Nanotechnology can treat a disease at the cellular level. Consequently, it can be both preventative and curative because treatment reaches the narrowest and most minuscule centres of control. Neurosurgery and gene therapy are just two areas within nanomed that are particularly well-suited for nanotools and technology.

  1.     Universal Translators

Although it may not quite look like the Universal Translator that Star Trek promised, the creators of universal translators are aiming to develop technology where two people speaking different languages can communicate with one another in languages they don’t know or understand. For example, Google’s Pixel Buds, include an instant translation feature and words will be translated in real-time.

  1.     Avatars, Surrogates, Robotics

Avatars and surrogates were once only used in games, virtual reality and computer interfacing, but they are playing more active roles as human replacements and enhancements. Fully-realised robotic machines are increasingly used in medical technology and scientific development in laboratories and hospitals to, for example, enable those with paralysis to move limbs.

  1.     Artificial Intelligence

Machines will take over many human tasks through artificial intelligence, and computers will have human capabilities allowing them to act in the same way as humans do. Tasks such as facial recognition, speech commands, affective computing, among others, currently require human intervention. However, with the level of advancement in AI, the help of humans will no longer be a requirement for them to work. Companies are starting to use artificial intelligence to simplify processes for their customers. Cyber-security and information technology firms use Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor and prevent attacks on Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).

  1. Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of things (IoT) entail enthralling emerging technologies and has been contributory in Smart Home technology making it possible for systems like Alexa and Google home to function. The Internet of things will allow greater integration of different aspects of the Smart Home and its use will expand immensely, soon everything around us will be smart. With over 8.4 billion devices already taking advantage of IoT, it would not be unreasonable to expect the device numbers to reach 30 billion by 2020.

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