So, it’s now twenties. We still haven’t gotten the hover boards, dehydrated pizzas and flying cars that we were promised by Doc and Marty in Back to The Future 2, but at least we’ve gotten artificial intelligence in different forms, virtual reality and soon, hopefully, 5G.
We assume that you’ve probably already read a dozen top trends digests (or just scrolled through, let’s be honest), so we decided to do it differently.
Here is a board game that will playfully introduce you to the trends and show you the interconnections among them. Below you can find a short description of each trend.
The rules are simple. All you need to do is roll the dice and move the pieces around. You may occasionally read the descriptions or ask the player to comment on them.
We suggest enjoying this as a fun activity for a (nerdy) gathering, or you can just “cheat” and read the overview like a normal article. Have fun, either way.
1. Ethical AI
The political, business and intelligence arenas of Europe are more than preoccupied with the rise of AI technology, and the answer is the ethical AI movement.
Tech companies are about to experience substantial pressure from the government, investors and society obliging them to work on AI software that will help to prevent harm, improve humanity, protect the environment, treat societal issues and avoid breaching human rights at all costs.
In 2020 there will be increasingly specific policies and attempts to combine AI with ethics in order to create value. Ethical codes, staff training, software ethics-by-design principles—these will all become ordinary in 2020.
Ethical AI will, maybe, become the most vivid demonstration of transparency and traceability trends.
Initially, a very notorious technology of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) enabled the creation of “deepfakes,” which are now popular in entertainment and social media and are becoming more sophisticated than before.
In 2020 there won’t be just AI-powered filters; it will go further. Content generated by AI will create brand new, essential applications. Smartphone photography will also not go untouched. A possible use case to consider is the application of AI to merge several pictures together to achieve results never before possible in computational photography.
Deepfake can be called a particular case of a popular multiexperience trend.
3. “Green” Tech
2020 will get real with green innovation. Empty words, often called “green washing,” won’t be enough; thus, we will witness innovations that are not just hype. Through the mutual efforts of IoT, AI and Big Data, consumerism will be attacked in new, more effective ways.
Newly emerging services will aim to reduce our carbon footprints by reducing costs and finding new income streams.
The difference between automation and hyperautomation that we are going to encounter in 2020 is that it deals with processes rather than with tasks.
Already familiar abbreviations, AI and ML will begin to be used in much more advanced ways that will result in stronger impacts. Hyperautomation is the combination of machine learning with packaged software and automation tools. Each part should complement the other in order to support the replication of processes in a given task.
This started with robotic process automation (RPA), but it will be expanded with the combination of process intelligence, content intelligence, AI, OCR and other innovative technology.
Till now, hyperautomation was more common in industrial field. In 2020 though it will enter our households. The technology becomes democratized and this results in the rise of so-called DIY AI.
5. Practical Blockchain
We’ve been hearing extensively about blockchain for several years, but its commercial application is still not as widespread as the talk. However, it seems to enable mutual trust and transactions between business ecosystems by offering extra transparency, lower costs and better transaction settlement times. As a result, the movement of materials and cash flow will get better.
What’s more, as AI and IoT start to contribute to the value delivered by blockchain, its power for growth will increase.
6. Transparency and Traceability
Users have finally started to acknowledge that their personal data has a special value and want to maintain control over it, which is now at greater risk than ever before. Governments, however, are trying to minimize these risks by introducing strict regulations to make sure that personal information stays secure and manageable. Thus, transparency and traceability are essential in order to fulfill the promises of digital ethics and satisfy citizens’ desire for privacy.
GDPR is a type of this kind of legislation, more of which is likely to be introduced in the coming years. Moreover, as AI and ML implementation grows, decisions will increasingly be made by machines instead of humans. This is another reason for concern that supports the development of careful legal regulations.
Integrity, competence, accountability, openness, and consistency are the key requirements of this trend.
The aspiration to minimize the risks caused by this trend while attaining all the positive features will lead to the rise of Ethical AI
7. 5G Network
The “black horse” of upcoming technology is definitely 5G. According to Huawei, 5G could “support 1,000-fold gains in capacity, connections for at least 100 billion devices and a 10 Gb/s individual user experience of extremely low latency and response times.”
However, for it to be adopted by businesses and brought to users, the carriers will have to work substantially on bandwidth, as well as their network maintenance costs.
8. Distributed Cloud
While the location of the “cloud” was pretty irrelevant before, it plays a more important role in distributed cloud technology.
Becoming distributed for the cloud means that the public cloud services are now spread to different locations, while the provider remains responsible for running the services, controlling them and keeping them updated.
This step changes the centralized model completely; thus, it can bring us to an absolutely new time for cloud computing.
Alongside with distributed cloud usage, rises the trend of edge computing.
9. More Autonomous Things
Self-driving cars, smart fridges, drones and other robots are a part of a class of objects known as autonomous things, as they use AI to do things that humans did before.
They go beyond responding to preprogrammed algorithms by simulating natural behaviors in certain environments and in collaboration with people. As technology develops and people adjust to it, there has also been more legislation to regulate it. This means that autonomous things will soon be implemented in public spaces with little to no human control.
10. Game of Streams
If it seems like it’s been ages since “Friends” was a major network TV show, that’s because it has been. Those times have gone, and now HBO and Netflix feel like a part of our living rooms. Of course, we can still watch “Friends”, but now in HD, and we can choose from any episode we like and watch as many as we wish.
And it’s not just Netflix and HBO. Disney+, Amazon Video, AppleTV+ and many others are not only offering what has been done by the others; they’re also producing their own high-quality content with Hollywood stars and budgets. Moreover, they’ve already bypassed the traditional TV screen to fit different interfaces and devices perfectly.
In 2020 the market owners of streaming will clash in an even tougher battle; thus, they will have to increase their content production efforts.
11. DIY AI
It seems that AI technology is developing faster than experts in the field can be trained.
The platforms that feature automated ML will get more and more attention from “common people”, as they don’t require special expertise and are user-friendly. This will lead to another push for AI distribution and implementation.
Just like many trends before, DIY AI came from industrial sector as a follow-up of hyperautomation.
Multiexperience is undergoing a dramatic change as it moves from a 2D screen and console interface to a significantly more powerful, multi-modular interface domain where users are immersed and obliged to interact with technologies.
Multiexperience is now centered around experiences that use virtual, augmented and mixed realities with multichannel interfaces and sensors. AI-empowered chat services have changed how individuals connect with the computerized world. Beyond that, AR, VR, and MR change how individuals see the digital world.
This shift in interaction and perception will bring about future transmedia and multi-modular experiences. Throughout the following decade, this will turn into what is known as the surrounding experience.
Although it mostly sounds fun, the deepfakes that we have mentioned before, are one of the possible dark manifestations of this trend.
13. The Internet of Bodies
The domain of e-health, medical and wearable communication devices has grown enough to create its own niche called the Internet of Bodies. While IoT refers to sensors on delivered parcels and goods in the storage, manufacturing and agricultural industries and has had a significant impact on those business arenas, IoB refers to products that are having a similar impact on the healthcare industry.
2020 will bring these kinds of technologies closer to people. Instead of just monitors for blood pressure, heart rate and even snoring, such technologies will begin to impact intervention. One example is the use of smart insulin pumps that will read blood sugar levels and deliver insulin when necessary.
All this brings a lot of potential to the domain of e-health and serves as a push for a Medical Upgrade trend.
14. Autonomous Driving
Organizations like Tesla, Alphabet, and Waymo are constantly in the news. What they all share in common is the goal to create perfect, self-sufficient cars. Simply the possibility of a driverless vehicle inspires a lot of noise. Tesla’s leader Elon Musk has already done it successfully and has every chance of doing it again on an even bigger scale.
Features like automatic brakes, path changing and robotization of the other in-vehicle frameworks are on their way, along with analytics and data retrieval.
There is still time for laws to be adjusted for autonomous driving. However, huge changes will also be required in infrastructure and human mentalities before we can welcome autonomous cars.
Being the most discussed application in the field, autonomous driving will also fuel the emergence of other autonomous things.
15. Medical Upgrade
One more awaited tech-trend in 2020 is the advancement of innovations in the therapeutic field.
As research into 3D printing bionic body parts grows, we can expect to see a new industry in cutting-edge prosthetics. Scientists at Princeton University, for example, have 3D printed a bionic ear that can "hear" a much wider range of radio frequencies than the ordinary human ear.
Additionally, telemedicine and virtual finding stimulated by AI and AR will require those medical institutions that wish to remain profitable to revise their business models.
As for us, before making medical upgrades truly mainstream we first need to become comfortable with the Internet of Bodies.
16. Empowered Edge
Edge computing is a topology that sets data processing and content accumulation and delivery nearer to sources, storage and consumers of data.
This helps to decrease latency, and it takes into account some degree of independence on these devices. IoT frameworks require Raise of Edge Computing to be distributed.
This change is going to broaden the domain of devices in smart spaces while also making major applications and services more approachable.
The edge computing technology now marches in lockstep with the development of distributed cloud.