While 2016 may have been a tough year for high-profile celebrity deaths, there was a lot to like in the realm of technological breakthroughs. Virtual reality made a big comeback and should only get better as the technology develops. Smart home tech is becoming more widely adopted and is revolutionizing our relationships to our homes. Which trends are we keeping an eye on in 2017? Here are a few things in the technology world that may be poised to change the world this upcoming year.
1. Internet of Things
The internet of things, or “the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other)”, has been around for a little while now. Some common IoT include programmable, self-learning sensor-driven, Wi-Fi enabled cell phones, coffee makers, thermostats, smoke detectors, security systems, dishwashers, lights, washing machines, etc. The key this year will be solving a major problem – how do we make all of these devices actually communicate with each other and work together? For years, tech experts pointed to a centralized hub to handle interconnectivity, but the wide range of standards have made this solution nearly dead. We expect a major refocus this year on Wi-Fi as the driver that gets the internet of things talking amongst themselves.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Automation is nothing new – we’ve seen how it has changed customer service phone lines (to the chagrin of customers everywhere, it seems!) as well as the huge success of virtual assistants. The near future should see AI tech grow by leaps and bounds as developers learn to implement pattern and contextual recognition. Along with that, the discussion on how automation affects labor markets will only intensify as more and more jobs are lost to robots.
3. 3D Printing Goes Mainstream
While consumer-grade 3D printers have been around for a few years, they were too expensive to be within the reach of the average American. Expect this to change in the coming year. Decent 3D printers can now be purchased for around $200-300, and prices are expected to drop further as new models launch. Don’t be shocked if the must-have hot holiday gift for Christmas in 2017 happens to be a 3D printer!
4. The Rise of Synthetic Food
The 3D printer is easy to conceptualize because it produces something tangible. While the rise of synthetic food is a result of consumption. The world population is growing every year, and our natural resources are becoming more and more strained. The way in which we think about food is starting to change and 2017 should see more momentum in the development of synthetic food. There are several companies working on developing plant-based burgers that taste more and more like the real thing, and others still are all in on genetic modification. This may make some people nervous and wonder what is actually in our food? Make sure you read labels, do research and ask your grocer questions.
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