Where’s Technology Bringing Us?

We hope you haven’t missed these inspiring new innovations!

From Bill Gates drinking sewage water, to devices that use the tongue as “eyes”, and even cell phones that are saving the rainforest, you’ll be sure to find something amazing in this selection of articles about the innovations that are moving our society forward. (Don’t worry, there’s so much more in our archives!)

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1 Automation and artificial intelligence (Al)

Robot handyman with hand wrench light bulb. Fixing maintenance concept. Creative design mechanic toy character. Orange wall, light floor background. Copy space
A new level of self-training is allowing robots to draw their own conclusions and make deductions that haven’t been hard-coded into them, so that when looking at large volumes of data, they can point things out that humans would probably have missed, leading to brand-new thinking.

“Take CCTV and real-time video, which produces a volume of footage that can be impenetrable to humans,” says Ron Brown, DXC Technology’s chief technologist for the public sector in the UK. “AI can begin to make sense of it by looking for specific things that we know we want to watch for, but also by discovering things that we hadn’t even thought of.”


2 Human interfacing
Powered by the rise of smartphones, more than 80% of computer use is now through mobile devices, yet, frustratingly, a high percentage of business apps can’t be used without a keyboard, says Brown.

Face recognition will diversify the ways we can verify ourselves for services and apps. Photograph: wonry/Getty Images

The key to changing this is the human interface, with people using mobile devices to access systems through technology such as speech and face recognition. In essence, your identity is contained within your mobile device.


3 Internet of things (IoT)

People working in modern office
We are now moving into the second generation of IoT, with sensors that can enable devices to make their own autonomous decisions and carry out processes that go beyond simple data gathering.

It’s a technology that is already maturing in the domestic market, with applications such as webcams and remote lighting controls. With reliable networks and improved security, there will also be huge potential civic uses, too.


4 Smart cities

A programer shows a sample of decrypting source code in Taipei, Taiwan, 13 May, 2017. According to news reports, a ‘WannaCry’ ransomware cyber attack hits thousands of computers in 99 countries encrypting files from affected computer units and demanding 300 US dollars through bitcoin to decrypt the files.
Smart cities deploy communication and information technologies to improve services and the way the city is run, such as supporting public transport that can respond to varying demands and lighting systems that can be optimised to reduce energy bills.

Mesh networks are set to take smart cities to the next level. They involve a collection of access points that talk to each other, making them more reliable, cheaper and able to take advantage of 5G, with download speeds and bandwidths hundreds of times greater than current ones.

“These good connections, which are stable and can take massive data volumes, change the game completely,” says Brown. “All of a sudden, autonomous vehicles and drones become a reality.”


 

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