From the most basic tools invented such as the lever and pulley to the information superhighway known as the internet we use on a daily basis today, innovations have always had the power to transform the way live.
But now, we are privileged to be alive in an era where technological innovations come at a rapid pace. We now live in the golden era of technology where newer innovations are introduced faster than our attention span can catch up.
As much as we have improved as a society, there are still many ways in which our lives can be improved. And as early as now, many new technologies are poised to make an impact.
Here is our list of technologies that look to change the world within the next few years.
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LiFi, which stands for Light Fidelity, is a revolutionary new technology that promises to deliver data at transmission speeds 100 times greater than WiFi. It uses visible light as a transfer medium in the transmission of data, as opposed to WiFi’s radio waves.
And because the visible light spectrum is 100,000 times larger than the radio spectrum, LiFi provides a lot more bandwidth over WiFi and can provide spectrum relief, avoiding the looming spectrum crunch.
LiFi has several advantages over WiFi, which include safety, security, level of interference allowed, and privacy.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT has gradually been expanding its usage and applications over the years, which has gained quite a following. As it stands, many of our electronics already have the ability to connect with the internet and the cloud for wider control over their functionalities as evidenced by smart homes and the amount of control they provide using only smartphones.
But with its convergence with machine learning, sensors, embedded systems, and real-time analytics, IoT can be in the position to change the world by eliminating human intervention in a push for greater automation.
Immersive Virtual Reality
Immersiveness is a fundamental aspect of virtual reality (VR) that allows the user to suspend disbelief while exploring a world that has been created digitally. A truly immersive experience would mean encompassing all of the senses, including the sense of smell and touch, as stimuli interact directly with the brain. However, that could still be a ways away.
Nevertheless, great strides are still being made to create an immersive VR experience today.
Augmented Reality (AR)
With AR’s ability to overlay computer-generated imagery and information over real-world settings and in real-time, it can make an impact in the next few years. While the technology has been around for quite some time, its most popular use case has been only been with mobile gaming (Pokemon Go!) and facial augmentation app (SnapChat and FaceApp filters).
But many new companies have emerged and are already experimenting on other use cases for AR, including optimizing workplace operations such as in visual presentations and the creation of scale models for product development.
The concept for 3D printing has been around since the 1970s but it has only gained much momentum near the second half of the 2010s. Using 3D printing, various objects can be manufactured from a digital file containing the specifications of the object and with plastic as the main material.
But other applications and materials are also being explored. No longer are 3D printed materials made only using plastic. 3D printing with metal is now being explored, which could affect the way we approach equipment manufacturing. 3D printing with organic materials is also being explored, with different companies doing experiments to print food and human organ replacement parts.
While many countries are only starting to scratch the surface of what 4G technology can do, we are already on the cusp of utilizing 5G, which promises even faster data transfer speeds wherever you may be.
5G promises a wealth of possibilities as it offers faster connections with less crowding, with IoT devices leading the charge as the primary use case. With 5G connectivity, various sectors will look to benefit from the increased capacity for data transfer, which includes telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation, and IT, among others.
LiFi is reportedly being tapped as a transfer medium so the future is looking bright for data connectivity.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Voice assistants by the top companies in tech, namely Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), and the Google Assistant (Google), are all prime examples of the capabilities of AI technology. It gives machines the ability to process information from various data sources and provide the appropriate output.
Machine learning, on the other hand, gives machines the ability to improve upon its current capabilities through the processing of various stimuli. It brings AI technology to its true form, far beyond the simple “if-then” logic statements currently being used in other applications.
As more progress is made in machine learning and AI, we are on the cusp of achieving true smart technology that can elevate our efficiency even further.
The concept of gesture-based interactions has been around for a while, starting in Minority Report and made even more popular by Tony Stark in Marvel’s Iron Man movies. And since the introduction of smartphones, this technology has been in use on a day-to-day basis for such actions as taking a screenshot, enlarging or minimizing a window, or even closing an app.
And as technology continues to advance, we could see a greater reliance on gestures for everyday functions.
While the technology is still far from what we see time and time again on science fiction films, great strides are still being made in the creation of these domed settlements. Such as the case in Dubai where a megastructure is currently being built, covering over 8-million square feet of land.
Within this planned settlement, the climate can be controlled, which could be used to support life on other planets, or on this one when it eventually gives out due to too much damage.
Many alternatives to the current technologies we currently have are being explored to create greener initiatives that produce fewer emissions.
Major sectors where green technologies are being developed include food production, power generation, and transport. And as we seek to mitigate and reverse the damage being done of the Earth, we can expect green technologies to be a staple in our everyday life.
Quantum computers utilize various near-mystical quantum-mechanical phenomena such as entanglement, superposition, or decoherence to generate extreme processing power, which gives rise to supercomputers.
With this greater computing power, it can be leveraged to improve society, such as the invention of new drugs that can kill even resistant strains of bacteria, or to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels by improving outputs on electric vehicles.
Necessity is truly the mother of invention. Many of the technologies listed above were borne out of dire necessity. But each of them promises to take over our lives very soon, with some coming sooner than you might think. Which one are you most excited about?