Tech Trends of 2018 – How Will They Affect Your Career?
Every day we read about how technology is going to change our daily lives forever. When you are engrossed in this world such as I am it becomes apparent that a whole generation of innovators are going to change how my future children will view and live in this world.
But how will this affect current and future careers? The jobs market is something which will surely change the most with the wealth of new technology available, with this in mind I wanted to explore 4 trends which could shape the job market in 2018.
There is more data than ever before!
We are creating an unprecedented amount of data as we live our lives. Every second, 900,000 people hit Facebook, 452,000 of us post to Twitter, and 3.5 million of us search for something on Google. This is happening so rapidly that the amount of data which exists is doubling every two years, and this growth (and the opportunities it provides) is what we call Big Data.
The sheer value of this data means an industry as well as an enthusiastic, non-commercially driven community has grown around Big Data. Whereas just a few years ago only giant corporations would have the resources and expertise to make use of data at this scale, a movement towards ‘as-a-service’ platforms has reduced the need for big spending on infrastructure. This explosion in data is what has made many of today’s other trends possible, and learning to tap into the insights will increase anyone’s prospects in just about any field.
Smart devices and IoT
In what now seems like centuries ago, only computers could connect to the internet. Maybe, if they were very advanced, some phones could too. Today you can buy lightbulbs, refrigerators, cars, watches, kettles, thermostats and many other “smart”, and therefore connected, objects. In industry, machines are increasingly being built to communicate with each other with less need for human input, in order to more efficiently carry out tasks. Collectively this trend is known as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) because it isn’t just an internet of computers and phones anymore! There are huge opportunities out there for those who are able to develop products and services based on this data, and potential here is really only limited by imagination.
The field of cognitive computing revolves around machines which are capable of ‘thinking’ in a similar way humans do – particularly when it comes to learning. Of course, being computers they have certain advantages – in other words, teach them to learn, and they will do so at an incredibly fast rate, with a greater degree of accuracy than any human would be capable of. The result is that they will inevitably become more knowledgeable, capable and able to match solutions (data) to problems.
Today’s artificial intelligence systems are either specialized (designed for one task) or generalized (designed to adapt to any task) – though truly generalised AI is still a distant goal. They use methods such as computer vision to enable machines to ‘see’ – recognising objects visually and classifying them accordingly, or natural language processing to communicate with us in a human-like way.
AI can seem a daunting prospect. Have no fear, though – again, thanks to the explosion of open source and ‘as-a-service’ options, today it is a viable prospect for organisations of all sizes. Skills and expertise in this area are sure to be in high demand in 2018.
Talking to machines is becoming second nature
The way we interact with machines has evolved from operating levers and valves, to control panels, keyboards and touchscreen interfaces. Thanks (again) to the amount of data we have, we are now at a point where voice controlling machines feels natural and is often the most intuitive option we have.
It’s been predicted that by 2020 half of online searches will be carried out by voice – and 30% of them will be made using devices which have no screen at all. This year, BMW will roll out new cars with Alexa pre-installed, just as Ford has done.
In business, we will become increasingly used to using AI assistants to manage day-to-day schedules and put information in front of us when we need it. Going beyond that, there are opportunities to drive sales well as move to a more data-driven customer experience model, through the use of chatbots and natural language-capable marketing tools.
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