Technology is always advancing at a steady pace, but sometimes it takes a great leap forward. Now, looking around at some of the technology we have today, it feels like quite a few of these great leaps have occurred very recently.
We have artificial intelligence doing things even science fiction writers hadn’t imagined, while both virtual and augmented reality have grown so far beyond mere entertainment. Meanwhile, blockchain technology is disrupting so many established institutions that the way the world works is quite literally changing before our very eyes.
There are some legitimate concerns about where all this new technology is heading, but there is also a lot of hope for the future and the benefits these new technologies will provide for us.
For a little insight, here is a quick look at the growing trends in these developing technologies.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making a lot of headlines in recent months as ever more AI-driven tools followed ChatGPT and Google’s Bard into the mainstream. Thanks to open source technology, AI has experienced something of a boom and the competition is hotting up.
Both AI and machine learning are already beginning to transform many different industries including healthcare and finance, as well as retail and manufacturing. It is easy to see why, as these AI tools can massively increase efficiency and productivity while reducing costs at the same time.
Across all industries and sectors, AI has greatly improved the customer experience and will continue to do so as the technology is adopted by more and more businesses and organisations.
Virtual reality (VR) has become so much more immersive now that it is almost unrecognisable from its original form. VR technology is generating both realistic and fantastical interactive environments for a variety of purposes, such as gaming, virtual tours, and even work meetings.
While such applications of VR are thoroughly enjoyable, the really incredible advances in VR technology go beyond the aesthetic improvements. For example, the technology is already being used to treat mental health issues, and is thought to be especially useful in the treatment of PTSD and anxiety.
Other healthcare applications include the treatment of pain reduction in adults using cognitive behavioural therapy along with other behavioural principles. These include using VR to induce deep relaxation as well as cause attention-shifting and interoceptive awareness.
Augmented reality (AR) differs significantly from VR as it is a digital layer added on top of reality, while VR is the construction of an isolated space separate from reality. However, they are both similar in that they have a growing range of applications where they are being used for good.
Obviously, gaming is a huge beneficiary of AR. Games like Pokémon Go have been popular for years, and there are plenty of other hugely popular titles like Jurassic World Alive, Zombies, Run! and Angry Birds AR, which blend the virtual world with the real world. Photo filters on social media platforms are also putting AR to good use, while AR automotive controls see important information projected onto the windscreen of a vehicle.
The healthcare applications are also expanding, with specialists using AR technology to better explain to patients their ailment and the necessary procedures through visualised 3D images. Amazingly, there are also AR spectacles for surgeons which can display x-rays and other vital information that the surgeon needs during an operation.
Blockchain technology is the foundation upon which cryptocurrency and much of the metaverse is built, and it continues driving innovation. This technology already enables the likes of digital ownership verification and interoperability between systems and devices made by different manufacturers, but it still has so much untapped potential.
It is currently used in finance but its applications in this sector are set to keep expanding. Perhaps most excitingly, blockchain technology is decentralising finance with the likes of secure digital wallets with smart contracts, eliminating the need to use a bank’s fee-incurring services. Blockchain technology also has the potential to lower transaction costs while improving security, so its use in financial sectors is going to increase to the extent that blockchain could very well be the future of all finance. The use of blockchain tech for applications such as fraud prevention and decentralising digital identities is also growing.
As for business beyond finance, blockchain is a growing influence throughout supply chain management. Its main purpose is to provide real-time visibility and tracking of goods and products throughout the entire supply chain, starting at production through distribution and on to the end consumers.
The prevalence of all these technologies like blockchain along with AI, VR and AR, is only going to increase in the future. In fact, you might say the future is already here.