Technology predictions are for losers. Everyone does it, but does someone pay attention to it? Guilty admission of pleasure: I do, and I suspect many of you do too. As technology observers, we see forecasts as our trend guides. So I decided to keep the long term in mind. Here are my predictions for the roaring 2020s, alluding to the 1920s, the original roaring 20s.
The 1920s were called "roars" because of the exuberance of the decade. It was a time of economic prosperity in Western culture that spawned consumer society and new styles of music, dance and fashion. The decade was also a time of technological innovation. The way tasks were done changed dramatically with a number of labor-saving inventions like the vacuum cleaner and a host of innovations for the factory. All of this has been made possible through new access to electricity.
At the end of the decade, power operated about 70% of American factory machinery, compared to 30% 15 years ago. Instead of using belts for the drive, machine tools suddenly used motor drives, and another new technology, hydraulic transmission, quickly emerged.
The 2020s will again be a time when technology has a dramatic impact on human condition. And even if we debate whether there are positive or negative effects, change will surely be the order of the decade.
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From observation to observation
Television was invented in the 1920s, and Philo Taylor Farnsworth created the world's first electronic television. From high school, Farnsworth began to think of a system that could capture moving images and transfer them to different devices. By 2019, more than 300 million people watched television in over 120 million U.S. households, according to the latest Nielsen study.
Now our electronic devices are watching us. Gartner predicts that the Internet of Things (IoT) will now be extended to people, the so-called Internet of Behavior (IoB). With face recognition, location tracking and big data, companies monitor individual behavior and link this behavior with other digital actions such as buying a ticket. It appears that the science fiction technology of the Minority Report has become a reality.
Just as the technological advances of the 1920s that improved economic well-being, questioned social norms and raised concerns, technological advances in the 2020s will increase security and confidence challenges.
Adam Piores Newsweek article “We are surrounded by billions of devices connected to the Internet. Can we trust them Revealed that lab students at the University of Texas at Dallas had cracked a variety of IoT devices. Among other things, they hacked into a popular little talking dinosaur toy connected to the Internet and “demonstrated that they could take the toy and use it to offend the child, encourage inappropriate conversations (with the toy's trusted voice), or that to tell kid what to do. "
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From health aid to augmentation
From the brilliant simplicity of the invention of the patch to the life-changing discovery of insulin, the 1920s saw significant advances in medicine that have resonated to this day.
In 1920 Dr. Frederick Banting from the University of Toronto and his colleague Charles Best successfully made a pancreatic extract and soon teams of researchers began working on the manufacture and purification of insulin for diabetics. The first tests were carried out on 14-year-old Leonard Thompson in early January 1922. After the success of these tests became known, there was a great need for insulin worldwide.
In the 2020s, innovative approaches and augmentation devices with AI will aim to transform diabetes care.
According to the article published in Population Health Management, “Transforming Diabetes Care through Artificial Intelligence: The Future Is Here”, AI will drive improved automated retina screening, clinical decision support, and patient self-management tools. Four years ago, I wrote about advances in insulin-dependent diabetics in Europe with the FreeStyle Libre, a 14-day patch with sensors that measure the glucose in the interstitial fluid through a small filament that is inserted directly under the skin. A scanner is scanned across the system to obtain a reading that is very opposite to the constant grooving required by conventional monitoring. Now there are many continuous glucose monitors like glucose sensors and insulin pumps, smartphone applications and other decision support tools on the market and more are on the way.
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From automation to intelligent process automation
Henry Ford facilitated and accelerated transportation in the early 1900s with his inventions of the Model T for automobiles and assembly lines. When the ten millionth Model T rolled off the assembly line in Highland Park on June 4, 1924, Ford had created the conditions for increased productivity in all industries by reducing the number of workers needed to complete a task.
Fast forward and today we see that automation helps people even after they have finished their work.
Especially in the industry in which we “automated” and benefited from the electrification of the factory, the effects will have a far-reaching impact in the future. According to a Bloomberg analysis, automakers around the world are on track to cut more than 80,000 jobs in the coming years, while manufacturers are rethinking their needs in the light of electrification, self-driving technology, and carpooling. In return, their suppliers will cut staff in the face of dwindling demand, and switching to electric vehicles will force suppliers to find new markets, develop new businesses and undertake major restructuring.
In the 2020s, job loss will continue to be one of the biggest problems related to the impact of process automation. Robotics and artificial intelligence will of course replace some activities, but they will also complement the way the work is done. Due to automation, the cross-sector job description is set for a decade of change. According to Chris Gardner, principal analyst at Forrester Research, repetitive tasks such as posting account books and calculating HR benefits should be increasingly replaced by process automation. However, human touch jobs will increase. Work that requires intuition, empathy and agility, such as cross-domain knowledge workers, teachers and explainers, will bring 300,000 jobs to the economy. However, these roles will also change as AI is increasingly involved to improve workflows.
Related articles: Why process automation is not always a process improvement
Technology and the future man
Renowned analyst firms often make mild technological assumptions about the weak state of the future and sometimes even attach probability percentages to predictions. Here is Daryl Plummer, respected Vice President and Gartner Fellow, who is brave with his prediction:
"Technology changes the idea of what it means to be human."
The emerging generation of the 1920s prompted Colleen Moore, famous film actress of the era, to say:
"I don't know if I realized when I saw them that they were the wave of the future, but I know I was drawn to them. I shared her agitation, understood her determination to break free … "
The same quote could describe a dystopian view of robots and humanoids in the next twenties. Still, there are so many wonderful technological advances that can improve our lives. This person is curious to see how it all develops. Happy 2020!
Deb Miller is a senior director for Market Strategy at Appian. She led marketing initiatives at global companies such as GE, Software AG, Global 360 and OpenText.