Technology trends can rush by in a cloud of buzzwords and hype. But which ones can help your business grow?
Generative AI is catalyzing productivity by automating repetitive tasks and empowering employees to do more. It’s also improving societal outcomes like human rights, sustainability, and customer trust. Technology trends are playing a key role in solving the world’s most pressing problems.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) was once considered to be the stuff of science fiction, but today it’s transforming our world at a breakneck pace. In 2024, AI will reach an inflection point and transform how we live, work, play and learn.
Currently, AI technology is used to play games, run autonomous vehicles and to perform repetitive tasks that free up human resources for more challenging or creative work. For example, Google Maps uses an AI algorithm to provide real-time navigation and traffic updates. Other examples include chatbots and voice assistants like Alexa or Siri. And in healthcare, AI is assisting in diagnostics by identifying small anomalies in scans and helping doctors and nurses diagnose patients.
In the future, generative AI will revolutionize industries by allowing machines to create their own content and experiences with unparalleled efficiency. But the ethical challenges surrounding this new development remain a significant hurdle for business leaders.
2. Quantum Computing
A quantum computer harnesses the principles of quantum mechanics to perform computations. It can process information much faster than conventional computers, allowing for solutions to be found for some of the world’s most complex problems.
These can include everything from preventing coronavirus outbreaks and finding new vaccines to reducing carbon footprints and optimizing logistics routes. For business managers, this tech trend is likely to be a game changer, and it’s important for them to keep an eye on it as it grows.
Few companies will own their own quantum computers in the short term, but they can expect a cloud-computing model similar to today’s. They’ll be able to rent access to a quantum machine from one of the specialist providers and use it to solve their most complex problems.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are rapidly growing in popularity. The techs create immersive experiences that blur the line between the real world and digital content. They’re part of the broader movement toward remote work, connectivity and automation in many sectors of the economy.
VR headsets are getting lighter, more stylish and more affordable. They also improve over time, with systems that track eye movements and facial expressions making clunky joysticks obsolete. Developments in natural hand tracking and haptic feedback are also underway.
In addition to VR gaming, the technology is transforming education, training and healthcare. It can be used to create virtual labs, model complicated molecules or place historical figures in the room with students. Medical professionals can use AR to help them through surgery, with overlays of critical steps and patient data.
Blockchain, which is essentially a database, is used to verify and record digital information in a decentralized and immutable way. It has paved the way for numerous revolutionary applications.
Its popularity has seen brands like Adidas, Balenciaga and Gucci start incorporating it in their products. It is also the backbone of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. It can streamline all kinds of money transactions at a super-fast speed and at very low fees. It also makes them incredibly – some would say impossible to counterfeit.
Another application of Blockchain is the food supply chain and safety system designed by Walmart in collaboration with IBM. It enables companies to track food from production to the stores, thus cutting down the risk of shortages and rising prices for consumers.
5. The Metaverse
The metaverse is a burgeoning virtual world that promises to transform our lives in profound ways. While some fear the metaverse will be a dystopia, many see huge potential for the technology to benefit humanity.
The industry is taking steps to make the metaverse more accessible and safe for everyone, including people with disabilities. The World Economic Forum, for example, has launched a multistakeholder network to develop best practices and governance principles on key societal, ethical and governance issues related to the metaverse.
Meanwhile, augmented reality and VR will expand from consumer applications into the industrial arena to power things like digital twins, spatial simulation, holographic work instructions, and collaborative digital spaces. These technologies could improve teleworker camaraderie, speed training and reduce the need for physical office space.