While many people have cast wild predictions on what the future of tech holds, the IEEE Computer Society forecasts a more realistic look at the top tech trends that will likely reach adoption in 2019, according to a Tuesday report.
Certain technologies have outpaced others in terms of adoption, including Kubernetes and Docker, and edge computing, and were left off of this year's list, the experts said. While other technologies such as digital twins, real-time ray tracing, and serverless computing are on the radar, they have not yet reached broad adoption, and may be revisited next year, the experts said in the report.
"The Computer Society's predictions, based on an in-depth analysis by a team of leading technology experts, identify top technologies that have substantial potential to disrupt the market in the year 2019," Hironori Kasahara, IEEE Computer Society president, said in a press release. "The technical community depends on the Computer Society as the source of technology IP, trends, and information. IEEE-CS predictions represent our commitment to keeping our community prepared for the technological landscape of the future."
SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)
Here are the top 10 technology trends that IEEE experts predict will reach wide adoption in 2019.
1. Deep learning accelerators (GPUs, FPGAs, and TPUs)
Companies are increasingly announcing plans to design their own accelerators, which are commonly used in data centers and have the potential to be deployed at the edge. "The development of these technologies will allow machine learning (or smart devices) to be used in many IoT devices and appliances," the report said.
2. Assisted transportation
We are still a few years away from fully autonomous, self-driving cars, but both personal and municipal vehicles are increasingly integrating automated assistance. The wider adoption of these technologies will pave the way for fully driverless cars.
3. The Internet of Bodies (IoB)
Consumers continue to adopt Internet of Things (IoT) and self-monitoring devices that are moving closer to and even inside the human body, including fitness trackers and smart glasses.
"Digital pills are entering mainstream medicine, and body-attached, implantable, and embedded IoB devices are also beginning to interact with sensors in the environment," the report said. "These devices yield richer data that enable more interesting and useful applications, but also raise concerns about security, privacy, physical harm, and abuse."
4. Social credit algorithms
Social credit algorithms use facial recognition and other biometrics to identify people and retrieve data about them from social media and other online profiles, for the purpose of approval of access to products or social services. Some countries like China are reportedly already using these systems to assess loyalty to the state, the report noted.
In our networked world, the combination of biometrics and blended social data streams can turn a brief observation into a judgment of whether a person is a good or bad risk or worthy of public social sanction. Some countries are reportedly already using social credit algorithms to assess loyalty to the state.
SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research)
5. Advanced (smart) materials and devices
Advanced materials and devices such as tunable glass, smart paper, and ingestible transmitters will create new applications in healthcare, packaging, appliances, and other fields. The use of these technologies will have a major impact on the way we perceive IoT devices, and lead to new use cases, the report said.
6. Active security protection
As hackers become more sophisticated, a new generation of security methods uses a more active approach than in the past, tapping machine learning and other methods to identify attacks.
7. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
VR and AR technologies can be useful for employee training, education, engineering, and other fields. However, the high cost of entry has led to a lack of applications, which in turn has kept costs high, the report noted. But as VR headsets become more mainstream, we may reach a tipping point this year. 8. Chatbots
Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbots are frequently used for basic customer service and in operating systems as virtual assistants, and their ease of use and usefulness has grown in recent years, the report said. The technology will continue to spread into other industries for more use cases in 2019.
9. Automated voice spam (robocall) prevention
Spam phone calls are an ongoing problem, particularly as methods of attack such as spoofing the caller ID number of the victim's family or coworkers have increased.
"This is leading people to regularly ignore phone calls, creating risks such as true emergency calls going unanswered," the report said. "However, emerging technology can now block spoofed caller ID and intercept questionable calls so the computer can ask questions of the caller to assess whether he or she is legitimate."
10. Technology for humanity (specifically machine learning)
Technology will soon be able to help resolve societal problems, according to the report.
"We predict that large-scale use of machine learning, robots, and drones will help improve agriculture, ease drought, ensure supply of food, and improve health in remote areas," the report stated. "Some of these activities have already started, but we predict an increase in adoption rate and the reporting of success stories in the next year."
- Blockchain: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Blockchain: An insider's guide (TechRepublic download)
- Artificial intelligence: Trends, obstacles, and potential wins (Tech Pro Research)
- Technology that changed us: The 1970s, from Pong to Apollo (ZDNet)
- These smart plugs are the secret to a seamless smart home (CNET)
- The 10 most important iPhone apps of all time (Download.com)
- Tom Merritt's Top 5 series (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.