First of all, I understand that we’re nearly two months into 2021 but you KNOW WHAT, that means there’s still 10 months left of the year to go and if 2020 is anything to go on, it’s that time is but a concept.
Cue cheesy intro.
2020 was the year that whole remote work forces, after little to no experience of working from home, were into autopilot. News of the disease spread quickly and decisions were made faster than me craving a Mcdonalds on a Friday at 5pm. All jokes aside, it brought change. Mentally, physically and spiritually. No country could ever prepare for it fully and at the rate, it was going, we look back at those beginning stages as a story of adapting in unprecedented times. Whole industries came to a halt. Many of us knew of or lost someone we loved dearly. There was job loss and many people felt lonely and isolated. We’re currently on our way to resurfacing though. Hope is on the horizon and darkness doesn’t get to have the final word. In the tech world, digital transformation was named more times than I can remember. It adapted well last year, well, as well as it could have and I noted down a few trends/predictions that I found whilst doing article research for my job that I thought I’d share with you.
Data centres inhabiting the unknown worlds?
Remember that article last year that revealed Microsoft sent a data centre to the bottom of the ocean to test out whether it actually worked or not? It was labelled as a “reliable, practical and a good use of energy consumption.”
With the majority of the earth’s vast oceans remaining undiscovered and (mostly) undisturbed, this could actually become a thing. Data centres all around the world lie undiscovered by the public eye. They hold important information that keeps websites you and I frequent up and running. They hold valuable, private, top-secret information within their servers and play an important role in how this world is able to store petabytes of data and counting. According to this website 70% of the worlds waters lie undiscovered and apparently we’ve only discovered 5% of that. So if we run out of secret earth compartments, why not explore the 65% of undiscovered sea stuff and put them there instead?
The Edge (of glory) computing
According to The Verge edge computing basically mean “computing that’s done at or near the source of the data, instead of relying on the cloud at one of a dozen data centres to do all the work.” Bringing the “cloud” closer to where you are geographically will ensure benefits such as “reducing latency issues”, cost-effectiveness and efficient use of cloud capabilities. Basically what I take away from this is that it will make everything go faster and will be able to reach more people around the globe, because cloud.
Do you like how I snuck a Lady Gaga reference into this?
The Rise (and refinement) of AI
AI for those who get confused by acronyms as I do, it stands for artificial intelligence. Builtin.com explains it like this: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is a wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence.” So in other words, we input our human data into a machine that takes on the likeness of our humanness and is therefore able to think and do things for us at a more rapid, accurate rate? Yeah, I get iRobot vibes from this one, but who knows, there are a lot of sectors where this kind of thing can really be used for good.
For example the Healthcare sector. A lot of experts predict that it could be an important component the the digital transformation of healthcare IT. On the flip side, I’ve also seen issues in the processes of building AI such as ethics. What people have found is that because it’s based on human intelligence, we’ve placed our own cultural biases into that data. Yeah, we’ve got a lot of work to do, AI and real life in general. If you’ve been keeping up with the news surrounding Google, you’ll know about Timnit Gebru, an artificial intelligence researcher who was fired for speaking up and raising her concerns on the ethical and societal issues surrounding AI. She’s making waves in helping people understand the biases AI can have and I’m all for it.
It’s not yet perfect, but I believe that this year will really be focused on refining AI. Just please let it not be like sci-fi movies. The advancement of tech and digital transformation can be scary sometimes but it can also be used for good! Let’s hope for the latter!
The future is (still) in the cloud?
Cloud(s) are everywhere. Lol at me attempting a joke. Yeah, I’m thinking, where is the joke? too. But for real, people are saying time and time again that the future’s there. Data is growing like my stomach on Christmas day and we’ve got to put it somewhere! According to Statista, 50% of corporate organizations data is stored in the cloud worldwide. Since 2015, there’s been an 20% exponential increase of that and it’ll only get bigger.
According to Forbes, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day at that current rate and that article is 2 years old. For a more accurate picture of what a minute on the internet looks like here’s a beautiful infographic from Domo:
Currently, AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform largely dominate the market. They have been leaders in this sector for a while now but I’ll bet your bottom dollar that others are on the rise trying to break into this market too.
Just the other day I read an article about how a quantum computer solved a “decades-long problem” out about 3 million times faster than a normal computer would. If you’re like me and have only really heard about quantum computing in the Marvel Movies and how it can create a multifaceted universe with multiple alternate realities (thank you Antman)… then I’m just glad I’m not alone in that.
I’m still out here trying to wrap my head around what it is, but I feel like the general vibe I’ve been getting from IT and tech websites are that it has become a frequently talked about facet of the computing world. So, with all of that said, all I can finish this with is this: it’s on the rise, don’t fully ask me how and why but I’ll let you know in a year’s time!
P.S If you’re really interested in what it is IBM have a pretty awesome explanation of it here.
Rise of telehealth
The company I work for is heavily involved with the Healthcare sector and I’ve been keeping tabs on the way digital transformation is changing the game. I see it in the way health organisations are looking to scale their data storage and protect it. I see it in how crucial zero downtime is for the protection of human life. I see it in how drastically it can improve wait time with electronic health records (EHR) and how it can lead to ensuring more patients are seen to than ever before.
Recently I’ve been seeing health IT experts predict how they can utilise patients and consult from the comfort of the patient’s home which not only helps with hospital capacity but also could be in connection with healthcare worker’s burnout and relieving that aspect somewhat.
I think soon, we’ll be able to go to a machine in our home’s where our health records will be readily available, we’ll tell them what we’re having an issue with and with the power of technology they will be able to administer or recommend to us, what we should do. Obviously, there are benefits and also teething issues that would need to be ironed out but this is where I think it will rise, although it won’t be completely perfect (as if anything ever is!) it could just be the future.
Virtual reality as an escape
If you’ve watched Ready Player One a gazillion times like I have, you’ll know that virtual reality seems so disconnected from actual reality that throughout the movie I was constantly being like TAKE YOUR HEADSET OFF AND EMBRACE THE REAL WORLD. Although people were connected people weren’t connected in real life but I understood that the crux of it was a form of escapism and the search for meaning in what some people do. The REAL world our protagonist was in was enough to make anyone want to escape from, so you can’t blame the kid from wanting respite from time to time. Even now, in a world where we’re fuelling our relationships on screen 90% (unrealistic quote, exaggeration used) of the time, we’re looking for ways to interact with people and make it as close to real reality as we can.
We could make 3D face times a thing! Or follow suite with Kanye’s present to Kim on her birthday, a hologram of her late father saying how proud he was of her? There is so much to work to do in this area though, like all things, for example, how do you get rid of motion sickness in VR games? If someone knows the answer to this, let ya girl know! I can’t play Tombraider as much as I used to be able to back in the day. All this aside, Ready Player One might be closer than we think! #nottodayNolanSorrento
And there we have it, 7 tech predictions of 2021. Did it make any sense? I hope so, if you’re reading this – you made it through the article! I had this one sitting in my drafts for 2 months. You deserve pancakes with lots of syrup on.