5 Technologies Changing the World

March 23, 2018 at 10:00 AM

 

In this age of technological advancement, the world is changing faster than ever. In fact, it’s hard to find an industry or area of our lives that hasn’t been touched by some type of technology. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest technological advancements that are changing the world around us.

 

Clean Energy

 

As more data is showing that the Earth is getting warmer, there is more attention being paid to clean energy as a real solution. In the past, attempts to combat climate change by implementing clean energy has been a hard sell. But scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs have been hard at work creating new options that make clean energy convenient and cost-effective. Since 1977, the price of solar cells has dropped 99.5% as a result of technological and manufacturing advances in clean energy. At this rate, it’s possible that solar will soon cost less than fossil fuels. The cost of wind energy has also dropped dramatically and represents one-third of newly installed US energy capacity in the last decade. Wired and wireless networks are being built to support the energy industry as more countries and organizations are taking advantage these cost savings and moving towards clean energy, a trend that could have a big impact on the world.

 

Computerized Medicine


The role of wired and wireless technology and computers in medicine is expanding from record keeping to applied technologies that are leading to medical breakthroughs. Data analysis software is analyzing genetic sequencing to detect things like cancer and help determine the best course of treatment. Technology is aiding in huge advancements in prosthetic limbs and brain-to-machine interfaces will soon allow prosthetics to be controlled by our thoughts. Computers are also becoming more proficient at diagnosing diseases. Recently, an artificial intelligence system used patterns in 20 million cancer records to make a diagnosis that doctors weren’t able to make. Furthermore, it is expected that in 10-15 years we will be able to reverse paralysis with brain implants that will restore movement taken away by spinal cord injuries.  

 

3D Printing

 

There is a lot to like about 3D printers, they open up a new world of possibilities. 3D printers allow designers, engineers or consumers to take a design directly from their computer and make it into a physical object. From creating product parts without the cost of tooling, to prosthetic limbs, toys and even food, the possibilities of a 3D printer span as far as the imagination can dream. And with the price of 3D printers dropping dramatically, those possibilities will be open to more and more people, creating an expanded realm of innovation like we’ve never seen before.

 

Self-Driving Vehicles

 

Over the next 2-4 years, self-driving cars are expected to become a mainstream mode of transportation and reshape the world. There are already self-driving cars on the road that are safer than human-driven cars in most conditions. With cars being the leading cause of death for people ages 15-29 years old, a safer car could save a lot of lives.  Most self-driving cars will be used continuously through a ride-hailing app, Lyft is using them already in Boston. This would drastically reduce the need for parking spaces which take up 20-30% of usable space in most cities. Furthermore, the idea of cars communicating with one another to avoid accidents and alleviate traffic jams, all while allowing human riders to spend commuting time interacting with one another, working or studying, will truly be revolutionary.

 

Artificial Intelligence and Automation


Most people have had an experience with an automation in the form of an automated customer service system when calling a company or office. Those types of systems, which can be very frustrating at times, are going to become more prevalent. Fortunately, they’re also going to get much better. Smart devices will also be able to make better, more accurate suggestions and recommendations by learning humans’ patterns and preferences with increased automation. We are likely to see more automation and artificial intelligence (AI) infiltrating more and more industries. From manufacturing to fast food to journalism, more jobs will become fully or partially automated. We could see self-serve food kiosks in the near future and automated drones are already being tested to make deliveries. With all of these technological advancements comes a fear of lack of interpersonal communication, but hopefully with more services being automated, humans will take advantage of having more time to interact with one another.

 

The Downside of Big Data

February 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Big Data is all the rage right now and is the driving force behind a lot of new technologies breaking barriers today, including data science, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). Even though big data may help us to achieve medical breakthroughs, explore far away galaxies, plan and prepare for natural disasters and even feed the hungry, there are still some downfalls. Along with the insights and opportunities that come with all this data being collected, there are some significant issues that need to be recognized.

 

The first issue is privacy. The big data being collected contains a good deal of personal, private information about our lives and we are entitled to keep that information private. With so many apps and services being offered that use big data, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine who should be able to access to our data and how much we should divulge. Finding a balance between accessing the benefits of big data while still maintaining some type of anonymity is an issue worth discussing.

 

Secondly, data security concerns are growing as fast as the big data industry. The high-profile data breaches last year brought to light how important it is to secure our data. Can we truly trust anyone to keep our data safe? If a trusted source is breached, sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands can deeply impact our lives for years to come. Plus, is the legal system equipped to regulate data use at this large scale and if our data is compromised, can appropriate legal action be taken?

 

 

One more area of concern is data discrimination. With all this data available, how will it be used, and will people be discriminated against based on the data collected? For example, credit scores are used to determine who can get a loan and we’ve seen that those can be compromised, which can have devastating effects on people’s lives. The insurance industry also relies heavily on data to determine coverage and rates, meaning people could be charged more or denied coverage based on these reports. Increased detail in the data collected will also increase scrutiny from companies. Steps might need to be taken to ensure that resources or opportunities aren’t taken away from those who have fewer options and less access to information.

 

Overall, big data is making a lot of big advances in the technology industry. Care might need to be taken that this data is used in the proper way, that private matters are kept private, that people’s data is secure and that regulations are in place.

 

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