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Another year is over …

Image credit: Finanza Operativa

… A new one just begun.

I guess there are many people around that are more than eager to close the door to 2020 and move on. Yet, 2020 has been a “momentous” year not just because it will be remembered for a long time, but also because it set in motion a few changes that have been lingering for quite some time plus brought some discoveries that will change our life in the coming years:

  • biotech made a clear statement by succeeding in providing a vaccine developed in the cyberspace and tested, to a good extent, into the cyberspace. Its efficacy will become fully clear in 2021, and even that will be based on a lot of data crunching in the cyberspace. Biotech will take steam from this success, and will be a leading force in the coming years;
  • digital healthcare assistants moved from science fiction (Cell – Robin Cook) to be part of the healthcare landscape in many Countries with a flurry of smartphone’s apps supporting diagnoses and providing advice (in Italy in the XIV century sick people had to have a little bell with them to alert others of possible risk, today we have an app -Immuni- still to be demonstrated that it works better than the bell…). Digital Healthcare is here to stay, it will become more and more important in this decade;
  • the Digital Transformation made a leap forward, with companies moving their processes and activities to the cyberspace. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that in 2020, Microsoft had seen two years of digital transformation in two months. Many companies moved in just a week from on site working to remote working, … and it worked! Many companies will discard the digital crutch they have been forced to use, but a quite a few will keep leveraging on DX and these companies will change our idea of the working place for years to come;
  • The communication infrastructure showed an amazing scalability and reliability, doubling up, in many Countries, the capacity in a matter of days to support the changed use of the web (remote working, video-conferencing). According to the latest data released on Dec. 30th by Openreach (UK) their network transported 50,000 PB in 2020, vs the 22,000 PB of 2019 (the peak day was December 26th with 210 PB carried on their network. All of this went against the basic principle of price vs demand. Demand has skyrocket but price didn’t go up, it went down. We can expect this trend to continue with an ever more performant network at an ever lower price;
  • OpenAi API (also known as GPT-3) has been released placing the power of Artificial Intelligence into our hands (in particular of the one developing software for products). Add to this the discovery by NVIDIA of a way to drastically decrease the number of data to train GAN -Generative Adversarial Network- and you see how this may turn out to be a game changer disseminating AI into the ambient and creating a massively distributed intelligence (the focus topic for 2021 DRI);
  • The famous Ozone Hole over the North Pole that concerned scientists has vanished, a good news, although we do not really understand why it formed in the first place nor why it faded away. There is still so much we don’t know!.

This is a very short list, there were plenty of scientific discoveries and tech advances in 2020, although the pandemic blanketed them all.  Nevertheless they will be available to all of us during 2021 as the pandemic eventually will fade away.

Happy New Year, Buon Anno

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.