Our computers are getting smaller.
The demands we make of them are getting bigger.
Portability. Mobility. Versatility.
These are the characteristics of emerging technologies that enable individuals to command a startling array of complex functions from the palm of their hands.
It’s part of an enormously powerful trend that will transform how we live, how we work, how we entertain ourselves and how we think…
And even, perhaps, how we avoid thinking altogether and allow our technology to do the thinking for us.
With increasing frequency, our technology will adapt, expand and evolve by learning on its own through trial and error…
We won’t need to program our technology; our computers and robots are teaching themselves how to increase their usefulness and effectiveness.
And this highly sophisticated technology, which is becoming easier to manage and afford, is transforming our lives at rapid pace. It is continuing a light-speed evolution to smaller and faster devices, where soon virtual reality, artificial intelligence and augmented reality will be accessible at our fingertips…
As a trend forecaster, I have, for nearly four decades, been tracking and analyzing the life cycles of dynamic, critical trends…
The Breeding Robots trend I identified a year ago, underscoring how new technologies will play dominant roles in just about every aspect of human existence, is only in its infancy.
Because machine learning will increasingly diminish the need for human intervention in determining the growth capabilities of technology, the range of possibilities is endless.
We’re just getting started.
Augmented and virtual reality, for example, will be an on-the-job necessity…It will be a form of entertainment that could elbow television aside…It will recognize a security threat to your data even though the danger has never appeared before.
But so far, as much as recent progress in the Breeding Robots trend has allowed us to achieve on a macro-level, our portable devices still can’t hold a universe of data needed to enter the world of virtual reality.
We need new kinds of computer chips for the job — or at least a new way to program them.
Say you wanted to train your smartphone or tablet to tell the difference between a human and a store mannequin. You’d need to expose the existing software in your phone to thousands of pictures of humans and thousands of pictures of mannequins to train it.
You don’t have room for all those photos on your mobile device. But the internet has all the pictures you need.
So new software would be trained by accessing these thousands of pictures in the cloud. All you’d have to do is download a simple app or program that takes up relatively little computer memory but knows how to do a very complex task.
In that approach, your mobile device can handle artificial intelligence with very little change to the components already inside it.
But it will take a different kind of chip to sort through those pictures and train a program to abstract the pattern that defines a human — and doesn’t confuse it with the pattern that defines a mannequin.
Similarly, it will take new kinds of chips in your tablet or smartphone to immerse you in a 360-degree virtual reality with sound as well as sight.
Today’s chips can’t do it.
But, as chip technology advances, the smartphone will support apps that provide endless possibilities of information and entertainment…
These apps will give medical examinations, VR experiences of specific treatments or AR tours of what specific diseases or ailments look like from inside your body. No doctors or other healthcare professionals — just you and your phone.
The applications in entertainment are also vast. Immersive video games and movies in 360-degree vision are only a few — all experienced on a small device.
Emerging chip and other technologies are the pathway to bringing artificial intelligence to anyone, anywhere with a cellphone. As such, smaller, faster and mobile will continue to drive priorities of many leading-edge technology companies.
As I forecast in my Top Trends for 2016 last December:
Investment in artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality technology is going to create an investment cycle that will surpass, both in investment and market gains, the dot-com boom… This revolution in the expanding capability and affordability of intelligent automation will grow exponentially.
And while the big, established names in technology will drive product development, firms and research teams of all sizes, from the biggest countries to the smallest across the globe, are in the game.
And the game is make it smaller, faster and mobile.
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This story originally appeared in the Daily Reckoning