Every year MIT releases what they consider the top 10 breakthrough technologies. These technologies can be disruptive and entirely new, or they can be just now reaching the point of consumer adoption.
While most these technologies have little application for business initially, there are some technologies listed this year that will change business.
We have read the MIT report and below are the technologies that will have the most impact on business itself.
While it is true 3-D printing has been around for a while, it was a play thing for hobbyists and researchers. Plus, 3-D printing was limited to plastics. Printing in any other medium was costly and time consuming.
However, 3-D printing has taken a huge step forward. Namely, companies can now print in 3 dimensions in metal.
This could change manufacturing as we know it. Rather than having to mass produce products, replacement parts will become made to order. Smaller specialty shops will have room to make profit against large manufacturing. Heavy inventory loads will be a thing of the past.
There is gain in more than just changing how manufacturing lines function. 3-D metal printing can produce more complex shapes in lighter, stronger parts. There is more precise control than in traditional metal fabrication. This disruption will not only change manufacturing of parts, but it could lead to change in how we build and create with metal also.
Metal products might change forever, as well as how we think of manufacturing, inventory, and product control.
AI for everyone
Until recently, the most advanced AI was limited to large companies with R&D funds. Namely, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have cornered the market on machine learning. This has limited AI and machine learning to the tech sector, where products and services have gained new efficiencies.
All three mentioned above offer cloud-based services, for a cost, to other businesses. Yet AI is about to turn a corner in the cloud.
Microsoft and Amazon are partnering to offer Gluon. Gluon is an open-source deep learning library, which is supposed to make building the key technology in AI as easy as building a smart phone app. Google is not far behind with their TensorFlow, an open-source AI library that can be used to build other machine learning software.
While cloud-based AI is nothing new, having open-source deep learning libraries allows businesses more access and freedom to machine learning tools. As machine learning increases its capacity and abilities, efficiencies and profit can be found in all businesses.
MobileWare discussed Google’s headphones, available for their Pixel phone, when it was first released. Since that time, Pixel’s earbuds have proven themselves valuable and worthy of Google’s marketing.
While the software is not new, and is available for Android and iOS operating systems, the earbuds create a more human environment for translation. The current software resides on the phone, requiring the users to pass the phone back and forth. The phone becomes the focus rather than the conversation. Also, background noise complicates the translation.
Since the earbuds reside in the ear, background noise is minimalized, and control is given to the wearer. Both individuals maintain eye contact during the conversation, emphasizing natural human interaction rather than emphasizing a device.
While there are still flaws in the design, and the buds have been criticized for hardware awkwardness, physical attributes can be changed. However, Pixel’s buds are proving to be the next step in language interactions.
Pixel’s earbuds can revolutionize global business.
As we’ve discussed before, cryptocurrencies and blockchain are proving themselves disruptive to business. Namely, blockchain can potentially disrupt how humans exchange and interact on a fundamental level.
Yet one weakness of cryptocurrencies is the fundamental transparency. Everyone verifying the transaction can see the transaction. While the data is encrypted and should for all purposes be anonymous, an individual transaction can be researched and tracked down to the individual.
Computer scientists are currently perfecting a new tool that can prove something without revealing personal information. They call this zero-knowledge proof. Zcash is a cryptocurrency that uses this zero-knowledge method, giving users true anonymity in transactions.
The technology is slow and computation heavy. Also, it does require what is called a “trusted setup” which creates a key that could compromise everything in the wrong hands.
However, this could revolutionize how banks are able to access and use blockchain technology. Banks can build payment systems without sacrificing a client’s personal information. With enough adoption, it could change internet interactions for everyone.
We have discussed four of the ten MIT mentions, as they are the only ones that appear to have direct business application currently. The other technologies are fundamentally changing how we function, but it will be awhile before business can capitalize.
To read MIT’s full report, click here.