5 big tech trends headed your way

8th August 2016

The Internet Society’s survey on future scenarios for the internet got us thinking about how the online world as we know it could evolve.

With so much innovation in the fast moving world of technology, it is difficult to have a clear crystal ball but here we present our synopsis of what we believe might lie in store!

1. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

 

  “Facebook today could not exist without AI”, says Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Facebook’s Director of Applied Machine Learning.


AI is increasingly playing a large role in how we interact with the internet and has become embedded within our online world in ways which may not even cross our minds. Algorithms have streamlined the way that social media and ads work, sifting through the things you may like and removing the junk. For example, out of over 2.5 million ads being served up, AI helps Facebook determine which of those would be of most interest to you.

  “If we picked ads at random, you would hate ads. Believe me on that.” says Quiñonero.



And AI has had a growing importance in our news feeds. Facebook has heavily researched how much people would engage with News Feeds which weren’t ranked, and have concluded that without rankings, “the experience would degrade so much that it’s likely that a lot of people would just use Facebook a lot less than they do today”. AI also adds value to social media by taking down offensive content before anyone sees it, a feature deployed by Facebook. Up until several years ago, this was a quasi-manual process with employees rating reported offensive images – which would often prove be too late, as thousands of people would have already seen it by that time.

2. 5G


5G, the fifth generation of wireless systems, is the next major phase in mobile telecommunications standards beyond 4G. And it is coming sooner than we thought.

Powered by wireless operators, 5G will operate at turbo-like speed, approximately 52 times faster than a 4G wireless connection. It will have a super low latency, meaning that requesting something from your mobile will take a fraction of the current time. It will be dramatically different to 4G, and could be out for testing as early as this year. And as well as being a high speed internet connection, 5G is a springboard towards high responsive gaming as well as remote telemedicine and surgery and robotics, which operate highly time-sensitive procedures and need a high level of precision. The Internet of Things is expected to thrive with the emergence of this new standard.

3. VIRTUAL REALITY

Virtual reality is changing the way we play video games, watch movies and even read the news. And the online world is where it will impact us the most.

Thanks to new apps like the New York Times virtual reality app, we can now experience the biggest news stories to the maximum as we are immersed into a 360 view of virtual worlds. The NYT VR app enables you to experience Pluto to an awesome degree of reality; you can walk along its surface and see its geographic features as well as its largest moon. And this is all through a video taken on the arrival of the New Horizons Spacecraft to Pluto last July.

With VR, you can now travel the US presidential election campaign trail or experience the living conditions of refugee children all through your smart phone. The Army and Air Force are starting to use it for training programmes whilst doctors have used it to plan surgeries more effectively before performing them. Virtual reality will make the world even smaller and much more accessible, and will enable experiences and information to be communicated to a highly detailed and vivid degree.

 

4. CHATBOTS

“Chatbots are the future, whether we’re ready for them or not”

In June 2015, a study reported that Siri responds to more than a billion requests per week. In 2016, one in five searches on an Android mobile app were voice searches, and its share is constantly growing. Andrew Ng, chief scientist at Baidu, China’s biggest search engine operator, predicts that in five years at least 50% of all searches will be through images or speech.

Personalised, content-driven and keyboard-free, chatbots are essentially tools on your phone or computer with which you can have conversations, ask questions or be entertained.

So, instead of opening up a weather app to check if it’s going to rain, you can simply ask your chatbot who will be happy to answer you. Acting like your very own personal assistant, the chatbot will be able to schedule appointments, and even let you know whether you’ll need to take an umbrella with you. And all this means that the search functionality and apps on your phone will be all that more redundant when chatbots become more widely adopted.

  As speech recognition goes from 95% to 99% we will go from barely using it at all today to using it all the time. No one wants to wait 10 seconds for a response. Accuracy, followed by latency are the two key metrics for a production speech system.” - Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu.


      

But chatbots are still very much in development phase, and lessons must still be learnt. Tay, a chatbot programmed by Microsoft to mimic the language patterns of a 19-year-old American girl, would respond to what you said if you tagged her in a Tweet. Tay was made live on March 23rd 2016, but was taken offline after 16 hours, after it sent inflammatory racist and sexually charged responses to Twitter users – that it learnt from some intentionally offensive and inappropriate behaviour of its social network peers.

However, Microsoft has had some success with Xiaoice, a chatbot it implemented in China that’s being used by millions of people every day. Xiaoice can give human-like responses, and answer based on its previous conversation with a user.

“Xiaoice can exchange views on any topic,” said Yongdong Wang, CTO of Microsoft’s Asia and Pacific R&D. “If it’s something she doesn’t know much about, she will try to cover it up. If that doesn’t work, she might become embarrassed or even angry, just like a human would.”

Facebook is currently working on transforming its Messenger app into the platform for chatbots.

A growing number of businesses are using Facebook messenger to their advantage already, for example, Hyatt hotels have moved their customer service to Facebook, assisting customers with queries efficiently and on a personal level in real-time.

 

5. NEWLY RELEASED DOMAIN EXTENSIONS

The financial services industry has been amongst the first to lead with these domains. Barclays Bank (home.barclays), BNP Paribas (mabanque.bnpparibas) and IG (having multiple dedicated sites such as IG.forex, news.markets and learn.spreadbetting) are just a few of the businesses that are changing their website addresses to reflect a new trend online.

A new and specific domain name extension can open up possibilities for an innovative address for a particular campaign, blog or product. These new domain addresses are frequently more focused and, in many cases, can be more natural and memorable to people. Importantly, for new businesses coming online and in the saturated market of .com, people can now easily acquire a URL that they really want.

With most new TLDs only having just launched, or some being about to launch, expect to see more and more increasingly creative web addresses in the coming months and years, and their widespread use in campaigns and publicity.
Boston Ivy is managing a range of the most specialised website domain extensions in the financial services field, including .Markets .Trading, .Forex, .Broker, .CFD and .Spreadbetting.


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