How Computer Information Technology is Shaping our Future
A recent report on the future of CIT suggests that over the next ten years we will come into a phase where intelligence becomes seamless and ubiquitous to anybody who can afford to use state-of-the-art technology. At the heart of this “seamless intelligence” revolution lies seamless networking; the ability to transition from one network device to another in a transparent manner and without interruption.
In order to achieve this we first we need to see a completely virtualized end-to-end connectivity in order to facilitate integration of all ecosystem devices that help cater to our daily needs. We are already living in a profoundly sophisticated world of technology where intelligent coordination of smart devices (phones, watches, drones, etc.), software, voice, image, and motion recognition transforms human-computer interfaces into a seamless interaction between the user and his/her devices.
Where is Computer Information Technology Headed?
Technology is the greatest agent of change in our world, and although it comes with risks, tech breakthroughs provide solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time. Whether its fuel-cell vehicles, thermoset plastics, genetic engineering, manufacturing, etc., all these technologies come out of a broader development in CIT, and with that comes a tremendous opportunity for change.
So what are some of the major developments worth noting and how do they contribute to the growth of CIT?
The Internet of Things
As we continue to see more items become computable, two complementary technologies are driving this trend; Near Field Communication (NFC), technology that facilitates two-way data communication with nearby devices, and ultra-low power chips that are able to harvest energy from the environment. This will encourage creation of more computable entities, further pushing the dynamic between man and computer.
Computing will cease to be something we do seated at a desk and become a natural, normal way of interacting with our environment, and one can only imagine how this will impact simple transactions and new technologies.
Major advances in robotics technology are taking the human-machine collaboration to a whole new level. A lot of people envision a future where robots take all manner of jobs and cut down labor- but that might take a long time. For the most part robots remain a component of assembly lines such as in the automotive industry.
New sensors are much cheaper and sensitive, which makes the new robot more able to “understand” commands, the user, and its environment. Robot bodies are also more adaptive and flexible, with developers taking inspiration from natural, yet complex biological structures such as the human hand.
Also, thanks to cloud-computing robots are more connected now and can access information and instructions remotely instead of having to be programmed as a fully autonomous unit. Robots are perfect for repetitive or dangerous tasks but they are expected to collaborate with humans rather than replace them.
Fears of robots turning against humans may become more salient as next-generation robots are linked to the web; but regardless, we can expect that robots will become more familiar as people employ them to do common household chores.
Multiplayer online games keep getting bigger and bigger (think World of Warcraft). Instead of playing against the computer, users can connect with each other across a larger platform, bringing gamers closer to each other- although it can be rather unsettling when you realize that the vicious monster you’ve been marauding for hours is in fact a 12 year-old girl.
But it’s not just gaming platforms that are getting bigger online; schools too are getting in on it. Khan Academy offers students thousands of modules, and Code Academy teaches a variety of programming languages to school age kids and just about everybody else- and the recent addition of MOOCs (Massively Online Open Courses) are offering university-level instruction.
This trend is pervasive, and has even gotten into politics, with the president getting on Reddit and Google Hangouts to connect with people and answer questions.
Everybody knows the frustration of calling through a customer service line and having to deal with an automated interface. While they do serve a purpose, the average user gets easily annoyed by having to repeat the same thing over and over, and at such times one wishes they had a way to punch the answers in or talk to an actual person- even one of those offshore help-center people with a heavy accent.
This is where the challenge lies for computing. Granted, we have seen a tremendous improvement from back when we used desktop computers to process commands and then lingered for what seemed like hours for heavy web pages to load. What we have now are natural language interfaces that just don’t seem to work the way we want.
Large companies are racing to combine natural language processing with established big-data systems in the cloud so that consumers have an easier time accessing help platforms. What makes these systems an essential component of technology is that they will know us better than anyone, but more importantly they will be connected to the entire Web of Things, plus the entire collection of all human knowledge.
A good example is IBM’s Watson, which cost about $3 million to build but that cost is expected to drop significantly (by over 90%) over the next few years, making it well within reach even for SMEs.
Artificial intelligence, in contrast to regular hardware and software, enables a machine to learn on the job, perceiving and responding to changes in its environment. AI has seen major advancements in the last few years with the introduction of self-driving cars, automated flying drones, next-level voice analysis, etc. Thanks to significant investments in computer information technology, next-generation AI takes this a step further by using machines that assimilate huge volumes of information, crawling through millions of web pages to improve its understanding and competence in order to perform better in the future.
Evolution is what gives us effective technology. Even the basic pattern recognition on your phone came out of small advancements which took generations; and thanks to heavy investment in technology, the next few decades provide lots of opportunity to see life-changing computer platforms that characterize the coming generation of developers and visionaries. As we learn more about trends and computer information technology, we can conclude that any major shift in consumer habits will translate into new adjustments in different computer platforms; owing to the gradually increasing responsiveness of the entire technology industry.
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