By: Elizabeth Carres and Brianna Naderpour
JAN. 27 2017
During the past decade, technology has developed exponentially. In 2017, there will be even more ground-breaking technology on the market. People can look forward to developments in areas such as smart-homes, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and automated cars. As technology continues to become more advanced, consumers are starting to notice that the high-tech society portrayed in movies is quickly becoming a reality.
The concept of smart-homes has been evolving for many years. Improvements have been made in areas such as automated security, lighting, heating, air conditioning, voice-activated speakers, as well as programmable household appliances. In 2016, there were major breakthroughs with home automation, which involved connected speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. It is predicted that in 2017 more products like these will be produced, including voice-controlled home automation. In Bob O’Donnell’s article for recode.net, he challenges us to, “Imagine a device, for example, that is a high-quality connected audio speaker, Wi-Fi extender and smart speaker all in one. Not only will these ease the setup and reduce the physical requirements of multiple smart home products, they should provide the kind of additional capabilities that the smart home category needs to start appealing to a wider audience.”
Virtual reality is an idea that has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until virtual reality headsets hit the 2016 holiday sales market that they became popular. The first commercial products included the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear, Google’s Day Dreamer, and Sony’s PlayStation VR. In 2017, according to Alejandro Alba of theweek.com, ”We may start to see the emergence of mixed reality, which combines augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to completely immerse users into a world where they can summon holograms.” Since the demand for VR products is so high, more diverse versions will be manufactured and produced. Throughout this year, it is predicted that many other major tech companies will invest in developing their own virtual reality devices.
The prospect of artificial intelligence is a topic that has been seriously debated by scientists and academics. According to bbc.com, Professor Stephen Hawking said, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” Others have a more positive outlook on the topic. Rollo Carpenter, creator of the web-application Cleverbot, said, “I believe we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the world’s problems will be realised.” Any form of technology has its advantages and downfalls; so therefore, it will be interesting to see how artificial intelligence develops in 2017.
Self-driving cars have been on the drawing boards for about five years. While the self-driving car hasn’t yet debuted in the mass market, there is speculation that it will within the next four years. In her recent article for spectrum.ieee.org, Susan Hassler cited Ford, Google, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Uber as the major car companies vying to produce the first fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. Tom Rebbeck, a technology analysis research director at Analysys Mason, told www.inc.com that “Autonomous cars won’t use the network to drive–they will rely on on-board systems–but different types of connectivity (V2X) can improve the overall transport systems, for example by improving traffic flow. We expect more developments in 2017 as car companies, network operators, governments and others explore the benefits, the business case and the technology options for connectivity.” Autonomous cars will surely affect urban infrastructures in the near future.
With the new year, comes new inventions. It is human nature to continue to progress and grow as a society, especially in terms of technology. It will be exciting to see what emerging technology 2017 has to offer!