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Here are just some of the tech trends you should anticipate seeing in the year ahead.
Increasing concern about environmental issues and social responsibilities is putting continued pressure on automobile manufacturers to up their game. Electric vehicles (EVs) are trending towards representing 65% of sales by 2050. This shift by automobile manufacturers to sell fully electric vehicles will help significantly cut harmful emissions and eventually reduce the need for fuel powered vehicles altogether. Automobile manufacturing tech trends will also include the focus on vehicles equipped with advanced connectivity, more intuitive safety features, and self-driving vehicles that make short and long distance travel more enjoyable.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been transforming companies through workflow automation, quickly becoming a workplace transformation tech trend. Companies like IBM, Amazon, Airbnb and Netflix already use AI like chatbots to automate some of their product design, human resources, customer service and education interactions.
Security is top-of-mind for individuals, businesses and governments. Biometric security options, like fingerprint, iris, retina, voice and face recognition, are being ramped up as an additional layer to security protocols to make it more difficult to hack user accounts. Companies like Apple have included integrated biometrics on their mobile devices, while banks, educational institutions, vehicle manufacturers, home security companies and others are also adopting biometrics to bolster security.
Cryptocurrency is a virtual currency that is continuing to pick up speed heading into 2018. Coinmarketcap.com estimates there are at least 1,300 cryptocurrencies world wide, with a total market capitalization of over $587 billion. Bitcoin, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, makes up approximately 50 percent of the total cryptocurrency market with other popular cryptocurrencies being Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Dash, Ripple and Monero. Peter Smith, CEO of Blockchain, believes "the total value of cryptocurrencies in the world will hit $1 trillion in 2018." Cryptocurrency is believed to reduce theft, offer reduce fees on a universal currency with immediate settlement capabilities, and be accessible to everyone.
The advancement of blockchain technology goes hand-in-hand with the rise of cryptocurrency. Blockchain is the digitized public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. It creates an unchangeable record of cryptocurrency transactions that are time-stamped and linked to previous transactions. Within a thread called a block, each transaction is linked to a specific participant. “Blockchain can only be updated by consensus between participants in the system, and when new data is entered, it can never be erased. The blockchain contains a true and verifiable record of each and every transaction ever made in the system,” according to Lucas Mearian of Computerworld.
Other tech trends include the creation of new medical advancements available for doctors to treat different types of life-threatening health issues. Scientists and engineers around the world have worked together to develop almost microscopic medical robots called biohybrid robots that can access hard-to-reach places in the human body. Although these medical miracles are not likely to be widely available in 2018, they may be used by doctors to treat certain cancers, clear arteries clogged with plaque, or heal injuries. This new development may offer a way to drastically reduce the burden on physicians and patients alike.