Words by Sebastian Rumore
It’s a new year and a new decade. As technology continues to shape the way we live, Her Economy decided to take a look at the emerging technologies that will have the biggest impact in 2020 and the rest of the 20s that follow.
Networks allow for networks with more devices with faster internet speeds than the 4G network your phone currently runs on.
China and the US are racing to build 5G networks as both superpowers try to foster innovation in data intense technologies, such as AI and self-driving cars.
In Australia, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone are already offering 5G plans. These plans are still expensive, and coverage is too patchy to offer consistent and reliable, highspeed internet. Still, you can bet that these Telcos will be talking about 5G a lot in 2020.
Wi-Fi 6 is the new standard of Wi-Fi technology that aims to help households meet the demands of increased internet usage in 2020. Wi-Fi 6 will allow more devices in the home to connect and will deliver fast connections for uninterrupted streaming or gaming.
Although devices like iPhone 11 are ready to connect with Wi-Fi 6, it might not be worth upgrading just yet. Poor performance of NBN service (under 50MBps) means most properties in Australia won’t be fast enough to support speeds needed for Wi-Fi 6.
Countries from all over the world are investing heavily in AI. The US is
currently leading, but China is quickly gaining ground on AI tech and may surpass the US within five years.
However, some experts think the limitations of computer power and AI training methods (known as ‘deep learning’) will slow down progress of AI coming years.
According to Facebook’s Head of AI, “the rate of progress is not sustainable … each year the cost is going up 10-fold.”
The level of global interest and investment in AI today means that there are many people working on overcoming these challenges. Definitely exciting tech to follow in the 2020s.
Using AI, skilled programmers can doctor a video to make it appear like people are saying or doing things that they never did. Think hyper-realistic Photoshop face swap, except with video.
In 2020, this technology will be democratised so that people without specialised AI skills can create these videos from a home PC.
Understandably, a lot of people are worried about the implications for fake news and democracy, but at the moment the real harm is related to bullying and harassment.
Microsoft and Facebook are using AI to fight back and detect deepfakes quicker to limit the harm they cause.
Computer chips are now being designed on the molecular level. There’s not much smaller you can
go than that, which is a roadblock for companies trying to invent smaller and more powerful chips.
That’s why companies such as Google and Intel are investing millions into quantum computing. Quantum computers will use the special properties of subatomic particles to create computers that can solve problems too tough for even the world’s most powerful supercomputers.
Last year, Google claimed a major breakthrough in quantum computing. Competitor Intel called bull in a blog post, and said that we might still be a way off useful quantum computers.
Either way, expect to hear a lot more about quantum computers in the 2020s.
At the annual CES conference in Las Vegas, Toyota announced its plan to build the Woven City smart city at the base of Mount Fuji. This new city will be a testing ground for Toyota automated vehicles and robotics.
Existing cities are looking to go smart as well, so expect to hear leaders in politics and business talk a lot more about smart cities in 2020.
Melbourne’s has committed to a slightly less sci-fi approach than Toyota.
“We’re not in the business of rolling out technology’s latest bells and whistles for the sake of it,” says City of Melbourne website.
Instead, Melbourne wants to focus on creating a smart city that is greener, more sustainable, safer and accessible.