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2019 Tech Trends II

Chatbot technology is expected to become pervasive in 2019 according to IEEE 2019 tech forecast. Image credit: Technology Advice

Following on yesterday’s post on 2019 top tech trends let’s look at the remaining 5 technologies that are expected to have broad dissemination and high impact in 2019:

  • Active security protection – the person that invented the ship also invented the shipwreck and the castaway. This is a truth that applies in any human endeavour, hence it applies to software and internet, as we have plenty of proof. The fight to protect data and applications from malicious attack is a never ending story. As attacks get more sophisticated so prevention strategies get more sophisticated, and the other way round, unfortunately. Anti-virus software is not sufficient and new techs have emerged and are being deployed based on an active approach, using hooks and machine learning to detect sophisticated attacks. Attacking the attacker is also being considered, although this is sort of illegal in several jurisdictions (interesting question: where is the jurisdiction boundary? The one from where the attack is launched or the one from where it is taking place? Notice that an attack can be launched from many places at once…).
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – both VR and AR have reached mainstream adoption and yet that is just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg given than in the future decade our perception of the world will be changed by these technologies, particularly by AR (AR is expected to get the lion share of market revenues in the next decade). So, although AR and VR are “reality” now (apologies for the pun) the IEEE report has included them because 2019 will likely mark an acceleration in adoption as VR sets have started to be advertised on prime time (at least in the US and South Korea/Japan).
  • Chatbots – these artificial intelligence (AI) programs simulate interactive human conversation using key pre-calculated user phrases and auditory or text-based signals. Chatbots have recently started to use self-created sentences in lieu of pre-calculated user phrases, providing better results. Chatbots are frequently used for basic customer service on social networking hubs and are often included in operating systems as intelligent virtual assistants. We have recently witnessed the use of chatbots as personal assistants capable of machine-to-machine communications as well. In fact, chatbots mimic humans so well that some countries are considering requiring chatbots to disclose that they are not human. Industry is looking to expand chatbot applications to interaction with cognitive-impaired children as a way to provide therapeutic support. The overall market is expanding rapidly.
  • Automated voice spam (robocall) prevention – Chatbots are decreasing the cost of making voice calls through automation and this will result in voice … spamming . Hence the need to create countermeasures and automated voice spam prevention will become more and more important in 2019. These technologies will allow automatic screening of incoming calls blocking the undesired ones. It is unlikely, though, as is the case with security, that this will be the silver bullet to block these robocalls. Advertisers will find ways to circumvent this prevention approach and a new one will be needed. Never ending story.
  • Tech for humanity (Machine learning …) – One of the most important arrow of evolution of technology is the one of of decreasing cost, increasing affordability. This allows the deployment of technology in market segment and geographical areas that were cut off by economics. We expect that this trend will continue and in 2019 there will be further usage of IoT, generating more data that can be processed locally and centrally by software, leveraging on machine learning algorithm… This will provide support to the environment, to remote areas, to agriculture in low income Countries.  All in all, technology will help addressing issues that afflict humanity, particularly the poor. Increasing agricultural yield, making electrical power and purified water available everywhere remains an unfulfilled goal bot we are getting closer and closer. The adoption of IoT along with improved image recognition (form satellite) will increase awareness of problems and that is a first needed step towards finding solutions.

There are a few more technologies mentioned in the report that are expected to impact on 2019 although their maturity and pervasiveness will probably happen in the new decade (and that is pretty soon). I’ll touch on them tomorrow.


About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.