It’s a brand new year, which also means it’s time for predictions!
Alibaba’s DAMO Academy – the group’s global research initiative – has compiled a list of the top 10 trends that they think will shape the landscape of the world’s tech industry in 2021.
Despite the world battling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout most of 2020, Alibaba says that it has much optimism for the advancement of technology as a shaper of societies and industries well into the future.
“Technology has played a critical role in fighting against the pandemic since early last year, and it will continue to reshape our society and industries through innovative production models and intelligent services,” said Jeff Zhang, the Head of Alibaba’s DAMO Academy and President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
“We hope to work with the academia and industry players to accelerate the exploration of frontier research, in the hope that we can make technologies more accessible by various businesses, and together we can rise up to the challenges imposed by the pandemic and accelerate the pace of a digital economy.”
Here are the top 10 tech industry trends for 2021 according to Alibaba:
1. Third-gen semiconductor materials will become hugely relevant.
The third-generation semiconductor materials gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) have been known to possess attractive physical qualities for years, including high temperature and radiation resistance, high breakdown voltage, high power, and high frequency.
But the complex processing methods have for a long time prevented them from being used in a wide range of applications.
Recent advancements, however, have allowed third-gen semiconductors to be used in much more real-world applications such as 5G base stations, data centers, and ultra-high-voltage power grids.
What this means: Expect your internet speeds, new vehicles, the services that you use daily, and much more, to become more quick, reliable, and efficient over time.
2. You’ll hear about quantum computing way more often.
If you don’t know what quantum computing is, read this.
After having supposedly reached quantum supremacy (the event where a quantum computer successfully performs a calculation that a normal computer would find impossible) twice – first achieved by Google in 2019, and then by Chinese scientists in 2020, the world looks set to focus heavily on quantum computing in the near future.
Already, investors are moving in large numbers towards the field of quantum computing, and there are hopes that further advancements will come from experts from around the world working together to “pave the way for quantum error correction and practical utility”, essentially making quantum computing more efficient and feasible for future mainstream use cases.
What this means: 2021 will see increased interest in making quantum computers more error-free, efficient, and practical. The eventual goal is to have quantum computing become a mainstream tech that can help solve humanity’s problems at incredible speeds.
For example, quantum computers could potentially help scientists discover new ways to treat previously incurable diseases, or help vehicle manufacturers develop electric batteries that run for weeks or months on end.
3. Flexible electronics will become a thing.
In the past, electronics were never things that you could bend, fold, or stretch. But thanks to breakthroughs in the development of carbon-based materials, we’re getting to a point where circuits can be repeatedly manipulated into various shapes and sizes without sustaining damage.
Recent groundbreaking developments have introduced things like carbon nanotubes and graphene – flexible and sturdy components that can be used to create integrated circuits for a multitude of electronic devices and machines.
Better yet, they can now be produced on a massive scale, and they’re even claimed to have better performance than the silicon-based circuits of yesteryear.
What this means: We already have the most obvious example of flexible electronics on sale – phones with folding screens. But with carbon-based materials becoming more widely available, expect to see even more flexible tech reach the market (electronic clothes, super durable smartphones, etc).
4. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) will speed up healthcare research and development.
We’re already using A.I. to improve processes in the healthcare sector. Around the world, A.I. is now at work interpreting medical images, managing medical records, and to an extent, even helping with vaccine development.
But with new A.I. algorithms emerging and computing power hitting new highs, things are about to get even quicker and more efficient.
Healthcare R&D for medicines and surgical procedures will be sped up tremendously. Processes like compound screening, disease model generation, and drug optimization will be just some of the areas where A.I. can lend a helping hand.
What this means: If the standard of healthcare improves thanks to A.I., everyone will stand to benefit from better medical care and pharmaceuticals, and hopefully soon.
5. Brain-computer interfacing will surpass the limits of the human body.
Linking up the human brain with computers isn’t exactly a new idea, but in 2021, the tech that facilitates this link-up will become more prominent than ever.
This technology is the pillar and backbone of neural engineering (the science of using engineering techniques to understand, repair, replace, or enhance neural systems), and development of tech that allows direct communication between the brain and any external device will be heavily looked into this year.
What this means: Brain-computer interfacing will bridge the gap between our brains and the machines we use, eventually enabling us to go beyond our physical limits and possibly use machines as extension of ourselves.
Think robot arms or translator devices that help unconscious or comatose patients communicate with those around them.
6. Data processing will become A.I.-driven and self-evolving.
There’s so much data out there in the world. So much in fact, that businesses and organizations are finding it harder and harder to store and manage them using traditional processing techniques.
Moving forward, we’ll see much more data processing being handled by A.I., which will greatly increase the efficiency of the way we process data and eventually lower the costs and manpower necessary to keep up with today’s overwhelming amounts of digital information.
What this means: Around the world, the cost for computing, processing, storing, and handling data will be reduced significantly, allowing business and services (like ride-sharing or social media networks) to offer us products that are quicker and perhaps cheaper.
7. Cloud-native tech will overhaul the IT landscape.
Traditional ways of developing products and services have long been mired in long-product development cycles and sluggish R&D protocols. They are inflexible, immobile, and slow.
But cloud-native methodologies are set to take over in a big way by allowing companies to reduce the need for traditional physical infrastructure components like servers, network components, data storage, and operating systems, and bringing more of their important processes online on the cloud (which has become incredible reliable over the years).
In 2021, we’ll see more businesses and organizations adopt cloud-native technologies that will let them perform most of their tasks in product development without physical constraints, making everything just work faster and smoother.
What this means: Companies will begin moving their work online, which makes it easier for their employees to get things done, and overall reduce the money and time spent to get products out the door. This also means cheaper and better consumer products for you and me.
8. Data intelligence will drive agriculture.
Traditional farming and agriculture methods have been weighed down by many obstacles in the past, such as poor land use, inefficient planning, discrepancies between production and retail, etc.
But technological avenues such as Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, cloud computing, and A.I. have recently been developed to greatly increase efficiency in many industries – agriculture included.
Using data-driven processes, farmers and agriculturalists will be able to easily manage large amounts of data to make things more efficient when it comes to managing their crops and livestock.
They can monitor crops, implement precision breeding, and accurately allocate resources on demand, allowing them to better plan and adapt for any eventualities.
What this means: In 2021, farmers and breeders will probably begin to widely adopt data-centric technologies that will help them become better farmers. They’ll be able to maximize their land, plan out resource allocation, and time their harvests better, all while minimizing potential losses.
9. Implementing industrial intelligence will happen in a much bigger way.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many industries into adapting new technology and infrastructure to improve their manufacturing and operations practices.
As a result, many companies are now able to adopt industrial data-driven A.I. for their systems on a much wider scale, affecting multiple parts of their operational chain at once instead of introducing minute implementations to fix smaller problems at a time.
This is even truer for industries with more mature IT systems, like the automobile, consumer electronics, construction, and chemical industries.
What this means: In 2021, manufacturing industries (especially the larger ones) will begin adopting industrial intelligence everywhere as companies do their best to keep up with their competitors.
And because many of them have made moves to update their infrastructure during the pandemic, they’ll be able to adopt industrial intelligence upgrades to their processes much faster and on a wider scale.
Simply put, manufacturing companies will be able to upgrade and stay technologically relevant much more easily, making the cost and time needed to create goods lower – good news for us consumers.
10. Intelligent operation centers will start becoming a priority for cities.
There’s been a lot of talk about smart cities, but the concept could be closer to mainstream reality than you think.
When the 2020 pandemic hit, the world’s cities struggled massively to cope with the outbreaks, and many of them failed in trying to allocate resources and manpower efficiently to contain the many problems faced.
In the near future, many of the world’s cities will begin looking to the concept of intelligent operation centers – central hubs powered by A.I., 5G, Big Data, and IoT that can efficiently manage and allocate a city’s resources much better than humans ever can.
Due to the availability of A.I., these centers will be able to continue learning and adapting to the city’s ever-evolving nature, and as technological advancements for public services come into play, the need for a hub that can manage everything smoothly will be greater than ever.
What this means: Many advanced cities around the world will look to manage all their public services such as transport, healthcare, amenities, and security using computers with highly advanced capabilities. If implemented properly, we might see things like traffic jams, power outages, and even crime rates drop quite significantly.
And that wraps up the list!
Which of these predictions are you most excited about?
While it remains to be seen whether or not the world’s tech leaders will make moves to mainstream some of these innovations, we can at least get excited about the fact that the groundwork is already laid out for many of them to manifest.
After all, who wouldn’t like to see people start using robot arms or finally witness a breakthrough in cancer research?
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ที่มา : Mashable