Tech trends 2019: ‘The end of reality as we understand it?’


Pinocchio model with large nose

More than 200 companies contributed to our ask for ideas on what the global tech patterns will remain in 2019. Here’s a synthesis of the main themes inhabiting the minds of the technorati this year. You may be shocked.

This year it’s all about data – a small, rather dull word for something that is exceptionally altering the world we reside in.

New innovations, from voice-controlled speakers to “web of things” (IoT) sensing units, connected automobiles to physical fitness wearables, are greatly increasing the quantity of digital data we produce.

And artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cloud computing are transforming the method we keep, evaluate and apply it.

“In 2019 wise sensing units will begin to be discovered all over, automating data collection to satisfy the voracious cravings of AI,” states Tim Harper, a previous European Space Centre engineer and now creator of G2O Water Technologies.

AI might be an effective force for excellent, enhancing health care and combating climate change. However it likewise provides many risks – to democracy, to monetary markets, to the belief in unbiased truth.

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Data in the incorrect hands, used in the incorrect method, might even threaten world peace, some commentators warn.

Fake news?

“Deepfakes” – controlled digital videos that overlay another individual’s face onto a body or change what people actually stated – present a growing hazard, argues Katja Bego, data scientist at development foundation, Nesta.

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“2019 will be the year that a harmful ‘deepfake’ video sparks a geopolitical incident,” she forecasts.

“Though deepfakes are still a relatively new innovation, they are progressing extremely fast, making it harder and harder for the naked eye – or perhaps digital forensics tools – to recognize them. At the exact same time, they are also ending up being ever easier and cheaper to develop.”

She imagines a problem situation in which a world leader might appear to declare war or spread destructive propaganda, with potentially disastrous outcomes.

As phony news stories – often state-sponsored – continue to flood social networks and China’s Xinhua News Agency releases its first AI-created newsreaders, the lines between the fake and the genuine are ending up being progressively blurred.

If we can not trust what we see or hear any more, is this “completion of reality as we understand it?” asks Ms Bego.

Andrew Tsonchev, director of technology at cyber security business Darktrace Industrial, thinks the internet’s openness and absence of accountability – qualities its creators valued – play into the hands of those with destructive intent.

“Ultimately, controling the public discourse may prove to be a greater cyber-risk than the hacking of our devices,” he states.

“Controlling data might quickly end up being more vital than stealing it.”

Under attack

Cybersecurity business are well-known for terrifying us witless in the drive to offer more of their items. That does not suggest their cautions are worthless.

And AI in the hands of state-sponsored or criminal hackers is certainly worth fretting about.

“2019 will see the first AI-orchestrated attack remove a FTSE 100 company,” predicts Jason Hart, primary technology officer, information security, at security firm Gemalto.

Mount Fuji behind Tokyo skyline

“A brand-new breed of AI-powered malware will contaminate an organisation’s systems, sit undiscovered gathering info, adapt to its environments, and let loose a series of bespoke attacks targeted to remove a business from the inside out.”

AI will be required to battle AI, many believe, especially as the IoT significantly increases the variety of prospective powerlessness in this growing network of connected gadgets.

Greg Day from Palo Alto Networks states: “AI on AI cyber-battles will start. Cybersecurity will be a machine versus device fight with humans together with to adjudicate and help.

“While cybersecurity will try to find new ways to spot adversaries and hazards with AI, adversaries will use AI themselves and progressively look to subvert maker learning and AI.”

This will increase the stakes even further.

“We’ll see the very first example of a scaled-up mass IoT attack impacting crucial infrastructure,” forecasts Darren Thomson, chief technology officer at cybersecurity company Symantec.

Healthier lives

But it’s not all bad news. AI let loose on all our health data might herald a brand-new age of customised medication, lots of believe.

“We forecast that by mid-2020, two in three patients with any condition will be supported by AI and AI-related innovations, either as part of diagnostics, treatment, or administration,” states John Gikopoulos, global head of AI and automation at Infosys Consulting.

AI-powered computers are getting better at analysing images and detecting cancers, and helping to identify molecules that could be turned into life-saving drugs.

Woman jogging and looking at fitness band

Virtual physicians and chatbots are providing us health advice through apps.

“In 2019, for the first time ever, there will be more health data offered outside health systems than inside them,” says Othman Laraki, primary executive of Color, a San Francisco-based hereditary screening business.

“Your Apple Watch can deduce your heart health, your state of mind, your sleep patterns. Your genome can inform you your threat for acquired cancer and heart disease and traits that affect everything from your caffeine level of sensitivity to your capability to metabolise medicine.”

Data-driven health care, with an emphasis on avoidance rather than cure, will have a “tremendous social impact”, he thinks.

Taking back control?

In the wake of last year’s Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, which resulted in an optimum ₤ 500,000 fine for Facebook enforced by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, how huge business utilize and abuse our data has been under much higher scrutiny.

As firms scramble to get their information personal privacy policies as much as scratch now that the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is in force, “2019 will be the year of GDPR fines”, says Harrison Van Riper, a senior analyst at cybersecurity company Digital Shadows.

Some analysts are predicting a consumer fightback.

Facebook web page seen through glasses

“In 2019, I expect that consumers will begin to recover control of their information and monetise it,” says Phil Beckett, managing director of disagreements and examinations at management consultancy Alvarez and Marsal.

Systems are being developed to enable us to manage our health, monetary, social, and entertainment information successfully, argues Paul Winstanley, president of Censis, a centre of excellence for noticing and imaging systems.

“It is then an individual’s option whether they wish to share that data with a third celebration, or not.”

As customer trust has been “seriously dented”, argues Mark Curtis, co-founder at design consultancy Fjord, companies will progressively embrace a “data minimalism” method, only asking for data they truly require.

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“They will have to clearly reveal the repayment for users sharing their data, drawing a straight line from the act of sharing to receiving pertinent services and products in return,” he states.

All this consumer information, evaluated by AI, will a minimum of enable companies to customise their services, argues Nigel Vaz, international primary executive of digital change agency Publicis.Sapient.

But reconstructing trust will be key, and this implies consumers understanding how and why their information is being utilized, thinks Ojas Rege, chief strategy officer at MobileIron, a mobile security company.

“Without openness, there is no trust. Without trust, there is no information. Without data, there is no AI,” he concludes.

The last word…

While information – how it is produced, saved, analysed and applied – is the essential style for 2019, developing technologies, such as voice control, superfast 5G connected and mobile cars and trucks, will gather pace through the year.

But these will only stress additional how susceptible our information is and just how much more difficult we need to work to safeguard, own and worth it.

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