Thoughts

Emerging Digital Trends - Series 2

Dec 29, 2016
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2.5 min read

In our previous blog on digital trends, we shared some thoughts on those we believe could significantly change how humans live and work - from Chatbots to Blockchain. In this post, the second of the series, we will look at others with immense potential to disrupt the future of the business world.

 

Drone Lanes

 

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Source: Flickr

 

Earlier this year, hundreds of firefighters were deployed at San Gabriel, Southern California, to tackle wildfire spreading rapidly in the mountains above Duarte and Azusa. The effort involved large-scale air operations, which were halted at one point. Why? Because drones were seen in the sky above the blaze. An incident report from the US Forest Service stated: "When drones interfere with firefighting efforts, a wildfire has the potential to grow and cause more damage." Which illustrates the case for legally enforceable airspace restrictions.

 

Several corporates have already come up with ideas. Amazon, which is looking to use drones for its Prime Air Service, for example, has suggested a high-speed sky lane in which automated drones could fly safely, and has asked for access to airspace up to 400ft from the aviation authorities. Currently, the FAA does not permit drones near airports, but we predict that at some point the skies will be divided, with technologists, researchers, drone manufacturers and hobbyists making use of the airspace up to 300ft, and commercial pilots being given exclusive access to everything higher.

 

Quantum Computing

 

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Source: Flickr

 

Today's computers are designed for solving problems that are binary, meaning they can only process information using 1s and 0s. A leap into quantum computing, however, will mean complex tasks can be solved with ease, since, being based on two qubits, the technology can hold four different values at once - 00, 01, 10 and 11. Already, quantum computing is providing error detection and security for online content, and the National Security Agency(NSA) is hopeful its rise and spread will sound the death knell for cryptography.

 

Neural Engineering

 

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Source: Flickr

 

Imagine technology that could restore memory in those in whom the function is either partially or completely lost due to disease or accident. For such individuals, the future looks brighter than it's ever done before, since there is real potential they could regain their cognitive and motor functions through what is known as a 'cognitive neural prosthesis'.

 

Indeed, we are entering the age of neural engineering, focused on the synthesis of brain and machine interfaces, which themselves facilitate brain-like activities like face, object and speech recognition, and the control of complex humanoid robots.

 

The road ahead looks rather rough, given regulatory authorities, and concerns over privacy and security. However, we are confident that, with drivers like adaptability, convenience and the capability to human lives, emerging digital technologies shall certainly disrupt products and services in every sphere. We are even tempted to visualise a fantasy future in which humans can don super robotic suits equipped with superior mental capabilities to undertake superhuman tasks. Currently, the scope and vision seem unlimited.

 

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Gopal Iyer

Author Gopal Iyer

Gopal is responsible for high-quality research content, industry reports and white papers. He is a Doctoral scholar at University of Newcastle and also holds an M.B.A from the Indian Institute of Rural Management. He has almost a decade of experience in consulting tech start-up firms in India. Prior to hedgehog lab, he was associated with AC Nielsen, World Bank, iDiscoveri and Education Initiatives in India

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