5 trends blurring lines between humans and machines

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Gartner says the 35 must-watch technologies represented on its latest Hype Cycle for emerging technologies has revealed five distinct emerging technology trends that will blur the lines between humans and machines.

Democratized AI

AI technologies will be virtually everywhere over the next ten years. While these technologies enable early adopters to adapt to new situations and solve problems that have not been encountered previously, these technologies will become available to the masses – democratized. Movements and trends like cloud computing, the “maker” community and open source will eventually propel AI into everyone’s hands.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: AI Platform as a Service (PaaS), artificial general intelligence, autonomous driving (levels 4 and 5), autonomous mobile robots, conversational AI platform, deep neural nets, flying autonomous vehicles, smart robots, and virtual assistants.

“Technologies representing democratized AI populate three out of five sections on the Hype Cycle, and some of them, such as deep neural nets and virtual assistants, will reach mainstream adoption in the next two to five years,” said Mike J. Walker, research vice president at Gartner. “Other emerging technologies of that category, such as smart robots or AI PaaS, are also moving rapidly through the Hype Cycle approaching the peak and will soon have crossed it.”

Digitalized ecosystems

Emerging technologies require revolutionizing the enabling foundations that provide the volume of data needed, advanced compute power and ubiquity-enabling ecosystems. The shift from compartmentalized technical infrastructure to ecosystem-enabling platforms is laying the foundations for entirely new business models that are forming the bridge between humans and technology.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: blockchain, blockchain for data security, digital twin, IoT platform and knowledge graphs.

“Digitalized ecosystem technologies are making their way to the Hype Cycle fast,” said Walker. “Blockchain and IoT platforms have crossed the peak by now, and we believe that they will reach maturity in the next five to ten years, with digital twins and knowledge graphs on their heels.”

Do-it-yourself biohacking

Over the next decade, humanity will begin its “transhuman” era: Biology can then be hacked, depending on lifestyle, interests and health needs. Biohacking falls into four categories: technology augmentation, nutrigenomics, experimental biology and grinder biohacking. However, questions remain about how far society is prepared to accept these kinds of applications and what ethical issues they create.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: biochips, biotech — cultured or artificial tissue, brain-computer interface, augmented reality, mixed reality and smart fabrics.

Emerging technologies in do-it-yourself biohacking are moving rapidly through the Hype Cycle. Mixed reality is making its way to the Trough of Disillusionment, and augmented reality almost reached the bottom. Those pioneers will be followed by biochips, which have just reached the peak and will have moved on to the plateau in five to ten years.

Transparently immersive experiences

Technology will continue to become more human-centric to the point where it will introduce transparency between people, businesses and things. These technologies extend and enable smarter living, work, and other spaces we encounter.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: 4D printing, connected home, edge AI, self-healing system technology, silicon anode batteries, smart dust, smart workspace and volumetric displays.

“Emerging technologies representing transparently immersive experiences are mostly on their way to the peak or — in the case of silicon anode batteries — just crossed it,” said Walker. “The smart workspace has moved along quite a bit and is about to peak in the near future.” 

Ubiquitous infrastructure

Infrastructure is no longer in the way of obtaining an organization’s goals. The advent and mass popularity of cloud computing and its many variations have enabled an always-on, available and limitless infrastructure compute environment.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: 5G, carbon nanotube, deep neural network ASICs, neuromorphic hardware and quantum computing.

Technologies supporting ubiquitous infrastructure are on track to reach the peak and move fast along the Hype Cycle. 5G and deep neural network ASICs, in particular, are expected to reach the plateau in the next two to five years.

Gartner clients can read more in the report “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2018”, which specifically focuses on the set of technologies that is showing promise in delivering a high degree of competitive advantage over the next five to ten years.

Five tech trends blurring the lines between human and machine
Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2018
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