Have you ever wondered how many household items, common not so long ago, have all converged on to one single platform: the humble smartphone? For a couple of hundred dollars, you get to buy one single, hand held device that performs the role of a telephone, camera, alarm clock, telephone diary, road map, photo album, music player and even video player. We are not even talking about networking or social media apps, that allow you to stay in touch with people across the world. Why, that hand held device can actually contain your entire book library.
We take smartphones so much for granted today, that it is easy to forget that cellphones were nothing more than mobile telephone devices just two decades ago. When you consider that fact and the pace at which technology is evolving, it would hardly be unreasonable to think that the state of technology by 2040 would be beyond our present imagination. For the immediate future, however, here’s what we can expect.
- Internet of Things: Internet of things (IoT) refers to interconnectivity between machines, which will result in automation of several day to day functions around us in ways that we have scarcely begun to imagine. For instance, the refrigerator in your house can detect when you start running out of stock and automatically place an order online, which means that mundane chores like grocery shopping may soon be taken over by machines.At the workplace, it could mean that your time tracker could take over administrative functions like monitoring performance, tracking attendance records and possibly even preparing your payroll.
- Process Automation: With the pace at which machines are taking over the functions performed by humans, the robots we used to see in science fiction movies a generation ago are rapidly becoming a reality. The day is not far when the above instance, of the smart refrigerator placing an order, will result in the order being transmitted to an e-commerce company with a fully automated warehouse, where machines will pack the goods and load them on to a drone, which will deliver the goods to your home.The drone will then transmit a confirmation of delivery, following which the payment will be debited to your bank account immediately. That entire process will be carried out without any human intervention.
- Artificial Intelligence: Powered by machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) is automating functions that were scarcely imaginable even a decade ago. While machines are taking over mechanical functions, AI is now replacing skilled labour. In the field of healthcare, for instance, it is now bringing about a revolution. Powered by data from thousands of patient files, AI can now diagnose patients with a level of accuracy that is comparable to human beings.Thanks to evolving technology, we humans can delegate the more mechanical and repetitive work to machines and concentrate on higher-level work. Contrary to what many of us fear, machines will complement our work, not supplant it. What that also means, is that the nature of the work we do will change. The it is up to us to upskill ourselves.
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