Tech Trends: 2022 Report

Tech Trends: What Will Be The Biggest Innovations by 2022

Predicting the future is hard and risky. Predicting the future in the computing industry is even harder and riskier due to dramatic changes in technology and limitless challenges to innovation. Only a small fraction of innovations truly disrupt the state of the art. Some are not practical or cost-effective, some are ahead of their time, and some simply do not have a market. There are numerous examples of superior technologies that were never adopted because others arrived on time or fared better in the market. Therefore this document is only an attempt to better understand where technologies are going. The book The Innovator’s Dilemma and its sequels best describe the process of innovation and disruption.

In 2014, a team of technical leaders from the IEEE Computer Society joined forces to write a technical report, entitled IEEE CS 2022, surveying 23 technologies that could potentially change the landscape of computer science and industry by the year 2022. In particular, this report focused on 3D printing, big data and analytics, the open intellectual property movement, massively online open courses, security cross-cutting issues, universal memory, 3D integrated circuits, photonics, cloud computing, computational biology and bioinformatics, device and nanotechnology, sustainability, high-performance computing, the Internet of Things, life sciences, machine learning and intelligent systems, natural user interfaces,networking and inter-connectivity, quantum computing, software-defined networks, multicore, and robotics for medical care. What Is the Future of Tech: 23 Technologies by 2022Security Cross-Cutting IssuesThe growth of large data repositories and emergence of data analytics have combined with intrusions by bad actors, governments, and corporations to open a Pandora’s box of issues. How can we balance security and privacy in this environment? Open Intellectual Property MovementFrom open source software and standards to open-access publishing, the open IP movement is upon us. What are the implications? SustainabilityCan electronic cars, LED lighting, new types of batteries and chips, and increasing use of renewables combat rising energy use and an explosion in the uptake of computing? Massively Online Open CoursesMOOCs have the potential to transform the higher-education landscape, siphoning students from traditional universities and altering faculty and student roles. How significant will their impact be? Quantum ComputingConstrained only by the laws of physics, quantum computing will potential extend Moore’s Law into the next decade. As commercial quantum computing comes within reach, new breakthroughs are occurring at an accelerating pace. Device and NanotechnologyIt is clear that MEMS devices, nanoparticles, and their use in applications are here to stay. Nanotechnology has already been useful in manufacturing sunscreen, tires, and medical devices that can be swallowed. 3D Integrated CircuitsThe transition from printed circuit boards to 3D-ICs is already underway in the mobile arena, and will eventually spread across the entire spectrum of IT products. Universal MemoryUniversal memory replacements for DRAM will cause a tectonic shift in architectures and software. MulticoreBy 2022, multicore will be everywhere, from wearable systems and smartphones to cameras, games, automobiles, cloud servers, and exa-scale supercomputers. PhotonicsSilicon photonics will be a fundamental technology to address the bandwidth, latency, and energy challenges in the fabric of high-end systems. Networking and InterconnectivityDevelopments at all levels of the network stack will continue to drive research and the Internet economy. Software-Defined NetworksOpenFlow and SDN will make networks more secure, transparent, flexible, and functional. High-Performance ComputingWhile some governments are focused on reaching exascale, some researchers are intent on moving HPC to the cloud. Cloud ComputingBy 2022, cloud will be more entrenched and more computing workloads run on the cloud. The Internet of ThingsFrom clothes that monitor our movements to smart homes and cities, the Internet of Things knows no bounds, except for our concerns about ensuring privacy amid such convenience. Natural User InterfacesThe long-held dreams of computers that can interface with us through touch, gesture, and speech are finally coming true, with more radical interfaces on the horizon. 3D Printing3D printing promises a revolution in fabrication, with many opportunities to produce designs that would have been prohibitively expensive. Big Data and AnalyticsThe growing availability of data and demand for its insights holds great potential to improve many data-driven decisions. Machine Learning and Intelligent SystemsMachine learning plays an increasingly important role in our lives, whether it’s ranking search results, recommending products, or building better models of the environment. Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Unlocking information in pictures and videos has had a major impact on consumers and more significant advances are in the pipeline. Life SciencesTechnology has been pivotal in improving human and animal health and addressing threats to the environment. Computational Biology and BioinformaticsVast amounts of data are enabling the improvement of human health and unraveling of the mysteries of life. Medical RoboticsFrom autonomous delivery of hospital supplies to telemedicine and advanced prostheses, medical robotics has led to many life-saving innovations. What Are the Drivers and Disruptors Behind Tech Innovations

The 2022 Report team surveyed several thousand IEEE members about the forces behind the technology changes. Desire for sustainable energy, the availability of wireless/broadband connectivity, and use of technology for medical procedures ranked highest as drivers, while 3D printing, the use of robots for labor, and cloud computing were ranked most highly as major disruptors. DriversIncreases in average life expectancyIncreasing ratio if retirees to workersPublic concern over control over access/amount of personal informationDesire for sustainable energy sourcesReduction in availability of grants and philanthropic resourcesWidening economic inequality worldwideReduced job security in a global market economyClimate changeGlobal terrorismUse of big data and analytics Reduction in cost of data collection and retention (for use in analytics)Quickening pace of knowledge transferLong-term availability of certain energy sourcesAlternative distribution chains (such as manufacturers selling directly to consumers)Use of technology for medical proceduresWireless/broadband connectivityDisruptorsCrowdsourcing/open-sourcing of hardware developmentChanges in educational structure/design (e.g. MOOCs)Virtual/alternative currencies (such as Bitcoin)Smartphone use as a device for paymentCloud computingUse of robots as a source of laborNonvolatile memory influencing big data accessibility and portabilityQuantum/nondeterministic computingUse of 3D printingGreen computingNew user interfaces (e.g. Siri, Kinect, instead of traditional keyboards)

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Computing devices — from wearable devices and chips embedded under the skin, to the comput­ers inside our mobile devices, laptops, desktops, home servers, TV sets, and refrigerators, to the computing cloud that we reach via the Internet—will together form an intelligent mesh, a computing and com­munication ecosystem that augments reality with information and intelligence gathered from our fingertips,eyes, ears, and other senses, and even directly interfaced to our brain waves.

At the heart of this revolution is seamless networking, with transparent and uninterrupted transitions between devices made possible by Near-Field Communi­cation, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, as well as intelligent coordination software, standardized identity technologies, cloud-based APIs.

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