In the ever-accelerating world of technology, 2018 is off to an exciting start.
From Apple’s big education product announcement, to Samsung’s “The Wall” MicroLED TV, to the seemingly infinite number of blockchain platforms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning initiatives, this year is already poised to be a big one for the tech world.
It was long ago that people assumed the concept of a Smart Home was still decades away. But after Amazon acquired smart doorbell company, Ring, in February, it seems as though such an immersive future is closer than we may think.
Especially following Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance at Capitol Hill to testify regarding Facebook’s data practices, 2018 is absolutely the year the world starts thinking hard about all facets of technological progress forward—including the impact innovations will have on humanity.
What exciting technologies should you keep an eye out this year? Keep tabs on these five:
1. All things blockchain.
No technological advancement in the past decade has been as disruptive as the blockchain has been in the past 16 months. Many compare today’s “blockchain boom” to the wave of innovation that happened in the 90s during the dot-com era.
Between platforms like ShipChain raising $30 million to bring the trillion-dollar freight and logistics industry to the blockchain, to Mark Cuban allowing Dallas Mavericks fans to purchase season tickets with cryptocurrencies, to networks like Akash creating cloud marketplaces to compete with titans AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, it’s safe to say blockchain is here to stay. It is the driving force behind some of today’s biggest ideas, and 2018 will be the year some of its earliest use cases begin to cement themselves into the world.
2. Next Generation Security.
We have finally entered the era where security, both over data and personal activity, is being valued by the everyday consumer.
With countless breaches and hacks, it only makes sense that consumers are now looking at applications and technology that offer a robust layer of secure communications and transactions. For Ravn, this is the backbone of their revolutionary messenger application. Built with military grade security and AI, Ravn will offer the world’s first invisible and anonymous fully encrypted messenger app with Korrax-Stellar smart contract functionality.
Ravn will not collect data and offer complete stealth anonymity. For the daily consumer, Ravn's ecosystem will offer all of the normal features found on today's applications: video and file transfer, document storage, and more. The difference is that Ravn will utilize blockchain technology and offer a host of other features not currently found in popular messenger applications.
3. Digital health.
According to a report by Rock Health, over $6 billion was invested into digital health startups in 2017—with the most $100M+ deals to date. And according to TechCrunch, and a study done by UCSF, it was found that “Apple’s built-in heart monitor could detect an abnormal heart rate with 97 percent accuracy when an AI-based algorithm called DeepHeart was used in conjunction with the device—as well as detect sleep apnea with 90 percent accuracy, and hypertension with 82 percent accuracy.”
Combine this with the fact that 2018 is the year Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway have teamed up to disrupt the healthcare industry, and you can bet it’s going to be technological innovations that continue to push the space forward.
4. Augmented reality.
Remember when Pokemon Go broke the Internet?
Since then, teams all over the world have been working hard to bring augmented reality to the mainstream—and it appears that time has come.
This year, we are starting to see augmented reality make its way into a wide range of experiences. From fashion and retail, to concerts and festivals, augmented reality is a way for consumers to interact offline and online, simultaneously.
According to Forbes, companies known for shaping culture, Google and Apple, are both hard at work on the AR side of things. And according to a report by Digital Bridge, “69% of consumers now expect retailers to launch AR apps within the next six months.”
Customer service will never be the same again.
Again, it wasn’t long ago that we thought the day of “bots,” specifically ones we could interact with and talk to, were still years away. But the rise of chatbots is upon us. According to SalesForce, “7% of all U.S. jobs will be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence by 2025.”
Between Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and dozens of other chat-based programs, the need to speak to a human being for simple customer service requests is starting to dwindle. We are beginning to imagine a world where some of the most basic questions and interactions can be reduced down to an algorithm. And as eerie as that might sound, the truth is, it’s already happening.