Remember the words “disruptive technology?” Every entrepreneur, business and technology firm used these words to help them advance their business and source funding, it was the crux of their elevator pitch. Today, these words are redundant. Technology has disrupted everything from the way we interact with companies, consume, communicate, buy and sell. But rest assured, more technological change is to come—this is only the beginning. The effect it will have on society, the economy and our lives is much more than disruptive it is simply wonderful. So what technology wonders can we expect in 2016 (click to tweet)? Here are my top five:
Internet of Everything (IoE)
Put simply, the Internet of Things is about connecting internet-enabled devices that relay information back to us, to cloud-based applications and to each other (device to device). These smart devices can be anything from mobile phones, fridges, washing machines to wearables, medical equipment or jet engines—pretty much “everything.”
In the simplest terms, deep learning is about making software better. In 2015 alone it has improved computer vision, speech recognition and even cooking. In 2016, thanks in part to significant investments in the field by Google, IBM (*client) and others, deep learning will begin contributing profound insights through technologies like cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The battle of the digital assistants is well and truly on. Apple (Siri), Google (Google Now), Microsoft (Cortana) and Amazon (Alexa) all have their own personalized apps designed to help make your life easier and respond to your every spoken command. Even Facebook has its own personal assistant called M on the way. Expect a lot more of this next year.
The Power Pack
Elon Musk has shaken up the automotive industry, but it is actually the utility industry where he will first disrupt entrenched incumbents. In May of 2015, Musk introduced the PowerPack, a sleek, attractive and affordable new type of battery that allows homeowners and businesses to store energy produced from rooftop solar panels during the day and then draw upon that energy at night. In addition to lowering the strain on the existing grid, the technology will also move existing utility customers one step closer to severing any remaining ties to their local energy provider in 2016.
Hang on! I thought this was technology? It is! Today’s human problems have become ever more complex, therefore mankind needs to draw on new scientific approaches like biomimetics and synthetic biology to imitate the models, systems and elements of nature to engineer new, resource effective solutions. Technology is the driving force behind this, made possible by two major advances: our much increased understanding of biological mechanisms and systems, driven by genomics research, and the exponential growth in computing power driven by the internet and “big data.” These make it possible for us to understand, simulate, predict and manufacture biological-based systems.
As Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, wrote 2500 years ago: Change is the Only Constant. From this perspective, 2016 is going to be more of the same–much, much more.