Gartner says five tech trends will blur lines between humans and machines

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 21 August 2018
Gartner says five tech trends will blur lines between humans and machines

Five emerging technology trends are set to blur the lines between humans and machines over the next five to 10 years, according to a new report from Gartner.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2018 focuses on the technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), that are most likely to help businesses to become ubiquitous, always available and top of their field over the next five to 10 years.

“Business and technology leaders will continue to face rapidly accelerating technology innovation that will profoundly impact the way they engage with their workforce, collaborate with their partners, and create products and services for their customers,” said Mike Walker, research vice president at Gartner. “CIOs and technology leaders should always be scanning the market along with assessing and piloting emerging technologies to identify new business opportunities with high impact potential and strategic relevance for their business.”

Gartner’s Hype Cycle predicts the following trends will help businesses to strike a better human-machine balance over the next decade:

Trend 1: Democratised AI
Cloud computing, the open source movement, and the rise of the ‘maker community’ will make AI technologies available to the masses over the next decade. The move towards democratised AI will be enabled by several technologies, including: AI platform-as-a-service, Artificial General Intelligence, autonomous driving, autonomous mobile robots, conversational AI platforms, deep neural nets, smart robots, virtual assistances and flying autonomous vehicles.

“Technologies representing democratised AI populate three out of five sections on the Hype Cycle, and some of them, such as deep neural nets and virtual assistants, will reach mainstream adoption in the next two to five years,” said Walker.

Trend 2: Digitalised ecosystems
The shift from compartmentalised technical infrastructures to ecosystem-enabling platforms is laying the foundations for entirely new business models that bridging the current gap between humans and technology. Blockchain, blockchain for data security, digital twins, internet of things platforms and knowledge graphs are leading the way for this trend.

“Digitalised ecosystem technologies are making their way to the Hype Cycle fast,” said Walker. “Blockchain and IoT platforms have crossed the peak by now, and we believe that they will reach maturity in the next five to 10 years, with digital twins and knowledge graphs on their heels.”

Trend 3: Do-it-yourself biohacking
The world will enter the ‘transhuman’ era over the next decade, where sophisticated technologies will be developed specifically to significantly improve human intellect and physiology. This trend will be enabled by biochips, biotech tissue, brain-computer interfaces, augmented reality, mixed reality and smart fabrics and will lead to four types of biohacking: technology augmentation, nutrigenomics, experimental biology and grinder biohacking.

“Emerging technologies in do-it-yourself biohacking are moving rapidly through the Hype Cycle,” said Gartner in a press release. “Mixed reality is making its way to the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’, and augmented reality almost reached the bottom. Those pioneers will be followed by biochips, which have just reached the peak and will have moved on to the plateau in five to 10 years.”

Trend 4: Transparently immersive experiences
Technology will continue to become more human-centric and will eventually introduce transparency between people, businesses and ‘things’. This trend is enabled by the following technologies: 4D printing, connected home devices, edge AI, self-healing system technology, silicon anode batteries, smart dust, smart workspace solutions and volumetric displays.

“Emerging technologies representing transparently immersive experiences are mostly on their way to the peak or – in the case of silicon anode batteries – just crossed it,” said Walker. “The smart workspace has moved along quite a bit and is about to peak in the near future.”

Trend 5: Ubiquitous infrastructure
Cloud computing and its multiple variations have created an always-on, available and limitless infrastructure computing environment. Technologies supporting ubiquitous infrastructures are leading the way, including 5G networks, deep neural network application-specific integrated circuits, quantum computing, neuromorphic hardware and carbon nanotubes.

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