TOP 21st CENTURY TECHNOLOGY TRENDS FOR 2018 AND BEYOND

It is always good that companies are updated with the latest trends in the industry and take business decisions based on these. To make things easy, we have listed some of the latest technology trends which will prevail in 2018 and beyond:-

  1. Artificial Intelligence Will Take a Leap Forward, without Human Data

2017 was the year that AlphaGo Zero taught itself the game of Go and within 40 days became better than any human or artificial player ever existed. It did so without any human data as input and purely played against itself. As a result, it taught itself strategies and moves no human has ever thought of and arguably progressed the evolution of the game of Go exponentially in a very short timeframe. This achievement marks a significant milestone in the development of artificial intelligence.

In 2018, this will only continue and we will see more examples of artificial intelligence that will behave in unexpected ways, as it already did so this year. In 2017, for example, AI developers from Google built algorithms that had to compete for scarce resources, resulting in increasingly advanced strategies to beat the component. Google Brain developed algorithms that created new encryption methods, unlike any seen before, to protect information from other neural networks. Finally, Facebook had to shut down two algorithms that created its own secret language, unsolicited and used advanced strategies to get what it wanted. If one thing becomes clear from these developments, it is that artificial intelligence will be fundamentally different to human intelligence.

2. Blockchain Will Mature and the ICO Hype Will Slow Down due to Regulation

Last year, I predicted that 2017 would see smart contracts taking off. And so they did, although not in the area that I originally expected. Last year, smart contracts were predominantly used for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The hype around ICOs has amazed many and as of the end of November, 228 ICOs raised a total of $3.6 billion. Apart from many successes, there were also many scams and people who tried to game the system and rob people of their money.

Although the number of ICOs will continue to grow in the first months of 2018, we will also see more regulation. Slowly, governments and regulators will wake up and start to understand the impact this new way of funding has on innovation and economic growth. However, they also understand that consumers need to be protected and criminals need to be caught. Hence, there will be increased regulation in the coming year, slowing down the enormous hype of ICOs. We will see better organised ICOs, still raising millions of dollars, and the first example of these new ICOs was the Kik ICO, raising $97 million with an ICO that will pave the way for more mainstream ICOs.

Apart from more mainstream ICOs, 2018 will also see the first true blockchain applications that will be used by consumers and organisations, where those using the services not necessarily know that they use blockchain technology. After all, for Blockchain to become mainstream, it has to become as pervasive as the internet. Consumers do not know how Amazon or Facebook works, but they are more than happy to use it. That is what is required for Blockchain technology, or distributed ledger technology, to have a real impact on organisations and society.

3. CLOUD COMPUTING TAKEN TO THE EDGE

We’ve gotten so used to “the cloud” that this next tech trend sounds counterintuitive. Edge computing stands to shake up how we think about the cloud, and how it will be used in 2018 and beyond.

Edge computing is a return to “distributed computing,” where processing power is spread out over multiple computers. You might think cloud computing is a form of distributed computing too, considering that the cloud can route your request to an available server. It’s actually not: that server itself is still handling all the computing work on a single machine.

Why edge computing? As devices become more powerful, they’ll require ever larger streams of data to operate, making cloud computing simply too slow. Even with superfast 5G connections on the horizon, there will always be some degree of latency in the connection itself. That’s not including the processing time on the remote server.

Think about it this way. A self-driving car makes split-second decisions on when to turn and when to stop or swerve to avoid hazards. Do you really want to take the chance of some type of hiccup as data travels from your car to a central server to make that decision? Of course not. Instead, your car becomes a data center of its own, making computing intensive decisions locally, but sending data home after the fact to improve the operation of other vehicles.

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