Businesses that remain stagnant can’t hope to succeed long, and the world of technology is one of the most cutthroat segments out there.
Getting people’s attention requires pushing the envelope, and every now and again, a new technology arrives that changes the game. It uproots the dominant paradigm and reshapes the market, bringing new functionalities and expanding what is possible.
Disruption can be uncomfortable, particularly for those who have heavily invested in the existing standard. But it’s also a necessary way forward, and 2019 has shown the world several examples of new technologies poised to capture the market’s attention.
Here are a few that might become prominent sooner than many people might expect.
1. Blockchain Technology
It’s time to set the record straight: Blockchain and Bitcoin are not the same. No matter what people think about the controversial cryptocurrency movement, the blockchain cataloging technology that backs it will be disruptive far beyond the world of banking.
Virtually anything that needs to get recorded in a secure ledger format can take advantage of blockchain, and some things already are.
Blockchain works by creating an unchangeable record replicated across thousands of computers. The recorded information remains stored permanently, and is safe because of its distributed nature.
People are already using blockchain to track transactions of electrical energy in small solar power networks, in addition to a range of financial applications. It’s probable blockchain will begin popping up in a multitude of everyday apps and fiscal management technologies soon.
2. Machine Learning
Though it isn’t synonymous with artificial intelligence — although there are parallels between the two — machine learning is allowing technology to better adapt to dynamic situations and constantly expand the body of information that informs how that technology can respond.
When digital assistants like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa first became available, everyone was impressed, but now their bag of tricks has become commonplace.
Machine learning will take these types of interactions to the next level by expanding on the body of knowledge these assistants can access. In short, it will enable Siri and Alexa to do more.
3. The Internet of Things
The IoT has been making headlines for quite some time, but many people haven’t seen it in action yet.
Already, some households are more connected through the use of integrated smart electrical outlets, lighting, locks and security systems. These things will continue to become much more common, as well as exciting new examples of IoT for both individuals and businesses.
The business usage of IoT, or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), raises a variety of security concerns, and will, therefore, need a longer time to come to maturity.
However, one excellent example of how the IoT is expanding its reach into daily life is in futuristic clothing, like yoga pants that help nudge practitioners into a pose, or shirts and jackets that can change colors using network technology.
Depending on people’s school of thought, CRISPR is either a medical breakthrough or the product of sci-fi quality evil genius.
Gene therapy has become a reality for humankind, but rather than using it to produce designer babies, scientists are talking about doing something a little bit more practical with the idea.
For example, Italian scientists are considering releasing a strain of genetically engineered mosquitoes into Africa to end the spread of the malaria virus. The tweaked bugs keep malaria carriers from procreating, but it’s still too early to accurately predict the long-term effects on the world’s ecosystem. It’s possible one of these Lovecraftian ideas will become a reality soon.
An Exciting Time to Be Alive
2019 and the years to follow will undoubtedly deliver so many life-changing technologies.
Self-driving cars have been a focal point, and artificial intelligence makes for a good conversation starter, but the tech innovations highlighted here are all things that will be making headlines in the next 12 months.
Even with the massive implications they have, sometimes it takes a little digging to realize how much impact these technologies are having in the background.