As 2017 rolls on, time and technology continue to move forward. Recent years have consistently brought us thoughtful and innovative tech solutions to everyday problems, and this year looks to be no exception.
Let’s take a look at a few tech trends that are sure to capture people’s attention in the coming year.
Artificial intelligence is not new; however, it is expected to make some waves in the new year. First, let’s get you up to speed on the state of AI.
AI technology essentially employs computer programs to replicate, or rather imitate, human intelligence. It can be classified into two categories: weak and strong. Weak AI is AI that is created for a specific, finite purpose. An example would be Apple’s Siri, who’s function is to search for and deliver information from a user’s smartphone or from the internet. Strong AI operates similarly, except for the fact that strong AI can learn to perform unfamiliar tasks.
Recent developments in the application of artificial intelligence technology are showing promise of catching on in 2017.
Have you ever been on the phone with a customer service representative and sincerely wondered if the person on the other end of the call was a real person or not? Truthfully, it probably wasn’t.
Many companies are beginning to utilize a development in AI known as chat bots. Chatbots simulate human conversations, particularly in highly predictable scenarios such as a company call center. In this application, the AI is equipped with pre-recorded human responses to common inquiries and statements. Additionally, chatbots can also be employed to respond to IM inquiries on company help pages.
Similar to the AI classifications described above, chatbots can either be stateless or stateful. Stateless chatbots approach each interaction the same way—i.e. they do not learn. Stateful chatbots are embedded with deep learning programming, which improves their ability to anticipate how to respond effectively to inquiries. Essentially, they are able to learn from previous patron interactions.
As AI becomes more sophisticated in 2017, I expect that chatbots will become less detectable and more prevalent.
Drones have become big over the last couple years with videographers. At this point, a lot of people buy them just because they’re fun. Amazon has recently entered the drone market by with the launch of Amazon Prime Air, a feature that delivers packages via drone.
Amazon drones are equipped with AI that can sense and avoid hazards, navigate to correct destinations, and detect appropriate landing spaces. Aside from this just being cool, it allows Amazon to deliver packages in as little as 30 minutes.
In the last couple years especially, we have seen, as a byproduct of the spread of data technology, a mass migration to cloud computing and storage. More companies have begun collecting and accumulating data.
Now, many are realizing that they lack not only adequate storage space to hold the data, but also the computing capabilities necessary to analyze it. As a result, third party Daas (data-as-a-service) companies have begun to emerge. With the rise of cloud computing, companies are able to manage data in greater quantities and varieties, adding momentum data’s takeover of the business world.
Most people think of data analytics as assessing their online interactions—mining data from social media interactions, search histories and the like. Video analytics have added a new dimension to data collection and analysis by employing cameras traditionally used for commercial security systems as intake points for data. Once collected, this visual data is then evaluated by analytics software equipped with face recognition, body language analysis and a host of anti-theft features.
Video analytics is exceptionally useful in retail stores, where it can be used to track and analyze things like the number of customers that enter the store, how long they typically shop for, how they interact with aisle displays and what times of day they are most likely to shop. This data can provide retail companies with invaluable consumer insights.
Rick Delgado is a business and technology consultant and writer based in Utah.