At the latest Google I/O 2018 Developer Conference, we saw Google’s vision for the future with “Tech” having a more personal touch in our daily lives and chores. With the unveiling of the Google Duplex – an upcoming upgrade to the Google Assistant, your phone can now carry a human-like conversion on its own. Duplex has the ability to make phone calls and speak on your behalf – make dinner reservations, book appointments, etc. Thanks to Google, some of you will probably be speaking to robots soon.
Now with this latest release in the tech world, let us take a note of the top technology trends that are driving 2018 and will continue to do so –
I have been writing about the vital presence of artificial intelligence (AI) under multiple domains in my previous articles. Its ubiquitous nature never ceases to amaze me, and I am certainly not alone. Not just Silicon Valley, but companies and startups all over the world are investing in AI in variable proportions.
Google I/O 2018 was all about AI. The service industry relies a lot on customers making phone calls. The improvised Google Assistant can seamlessly make a phone call for you in the background. The demo exhibited on 8th May 2018, showed a completely human-like conversion between a robot and a haircut salon employee. Without AI, we would not have been able to experience such a commendable sight. Of course, not all calls can go quite as expected, but the assistant understands the nuances of conversations and is able to go forward without sounding unreasonable. Google’s multiple investments in AI throughout the past couple of years have resulted in this novel development.
Healthcare is another domain where AI has shown unprecedented advancement. Again, Google’s ARM (Augmented Reality Microscope) falls as an example. AI-powered Virtual Nurse Assistants have potential in helping patients and saving time for human nurses. AI’s global market value is already estimated to increase by 70% from 2017.
You must have heard of Blockchain technology with respect to Bitcoin, in passing. Blockchain is a disruptive decentralized technology which plays a pivotal element for cryptocurrencies. Back in the 90s’, most people did not understand “Internet”. Today, many experts compare that period to the blockchain revolution. Blockchain has the capability in influencing everything from finance to human rights. We are likely to see a surge in blockchain funding in the coming months.
Blockchain has a steep learning curve, so people who are not technologically sound can find it quite intimidating. There is still a mixed opinion in knowing whether blockchain is the future or not. Many developers & tech enthusiasts believe in blockchain’s prominent worth for the future.
At its core, Machine learning (ML) is simply a way of achieving AI. As predicted, major companies have moved from traditional ways of communication via chat boxes, emails and texts. Google has attempted to redesign one of its core products – Gmail with ML algorithms to suggest phrases as we type in an email. The new feature is called ‘Smart Compose’.
ML had already become commonplace in the finance industry way before the advent of chatbots and search engines. With the rise in computing power and tools integrating predictive analytics and fraud-detection algorithms, ML shows promising effectiveness for finance in 2018. Finance-specific chatbots are being developed by companies like Kasisto for customers to ask questions and keep track of their savings and expenditures.
Google News has initiated to help us keep up with the news we actually care about, barring all illicit propaganda actions. It utilizes an ML-focused approach taking the constant flow of information as it hits the web, analyzing it in real-time and organizing them into storylines. Google hopes this will be an unbiased way to approach complex stories and present readers with as much information as possible.
For the first time, a social robot delivered a helpful and enjoyable motivational interview – conducted by the University of Plymouth in 2018. Many participants praised the ‘non-judgemental’ nature of the humanoid NAO robot – with one even saying that they preferred it to a human. Questions have been raised – Whether robots can be Counsellors?
Moving onto drones which are fairly in commercial use now. Even their application in the agricultural field is blooming. Drones are being used for on-field monitoring of the harvest and specialized robots for agricultural tasks. ML models developed for these robots are utilized for crop R&D and seasonal analysis. Blue River Technology is building the next generation smart agricultural equipment. These trends indicate a growth in RaaS (Robot-as-a-Service).
It is definitely an exciting year to be in the Tech industry but an equally stirring time to be on the receiving end of it all!