- Virtual Reality (VR) finally becomes mainstream
We have seen 2D/3D/4D in the movies. Virtual reality is the next frontier. Promising a unique experience of a world created by experts, this technology today is set to change the way we view our surroundings. Virtual Reality headsets like Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive immerses us into a new universe, where we feel that the artificial world created is real. Our 5 senses are being tapped to make this experience as real as it can be. However, content for Virtual reality today is sparse. I see a lot of action happening in this area where newer content (not just games) will get created. After all, content is king. Two other related technologies namely 360 degree views and Augmented Reality – AR (Projection of a virtual world onto the real) will also gain momentum. An example of AR technology is Pokemon Go and you may be knowing how popular it became.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) invades the house
The rise of virtual assistants like Siri, Google Now etc. is undisputed. As voice recognition gets better, more ground will be covered. By this I mean, people all over the world would be able to communicate with these assistants in the accent and the language that they speak. Amazon Echo and similar products pack a great amount of AI in them. Although these are in the primordial stage, algorithms are getting smarter. You must also have come across Jarvis (Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg) which is a AI helper at home. For instance you will be able to tell it to switch of the lights, toast your bread or switch on the AC. Skype (Microsoft) is making strides into communication between people of various languages. It offers near real time conversion from source to destination language. (for a Skype to Skype Call) They are going to open it up to all different vectors like Skype to landline, mobile phone etc. I see this happening by the end of this year.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things is a term coined for devices communicating with each other and humans. As more and more tools get connected to the internet, we have to figure out a way in which they will converse and interconnect with each other. These devices can be anything like a sensor, a Fridge, a TV etc. trying to talk to another device like a Computer where all this data is getting collected. Imagine for example, you have a mobile phone. The data that it is in the pink of the health is very useful for the manufacturer to monitor and improve their phones in the future. And if any parameters are skewed, this information is useful for their support teams and customer service. There are edge devices, propagators and integrators in the IoT subsystem. (More on IoT) These participants must securely and speedily do their functions. I see IoT being rapidly adapted by companies for a competitive advantage. This will happen by the mid to end of the year.
- The rise of Analytics and Big Data
In August 2015, we had 4.4 Zettabytes of data (1 Zettabytes = 10 ^ 21) in our world. By 2020, it’s expected to touch 20 Zettabytes. Despite the massive deluge of data, only 2-5% has been analysed. The rest is just sitting there, waiting to be processed. This data is because of the proliferation of newer devices and form factors. On top of that they are all connected to the Internet. Big Data architectures like Hadoop and Spark are useful, but as the data scales, we need more and more hardware to hold such data. The answer is the Cloud. Amazon (AWS) for example has an AWS IoT service to tackle data coming from IoT devices. Likewise, we have Google, Microsoft and other vendors who will open up to such solutions. All this data in the cloud has to be resilient, secure and consistent. Analytic tools are the last leg of the IoT chain. There are many tools like Tableau, QlikView etc, available in the market. But their performance will be dictated by the infrastructure that they are running on. To this end, I see lot of integration (like NoSQL databases and Analytic RDBMS) happening. Also analytic tools will have machine learning plugged into them. The work will start this year.
- The new programming languages paradigm
- A global awakening is on the cards
As people become frustrated with material things and as they realize that they do not bring real happiness, a quest for a more enduring pleasantness will lead people to newer avenues. The ephemeral nature of things will lead people to seek the truth within themselves. We will all crave for an ‘A-ha’ (for the lack of a better word) experience and instead of resorting to substances or other external stimulants, we will to pursue the real that is to say – looking within ourselves. The root of the problem is not habits, ego, mind or however we are used to seeing us divided. We are basically one individual who is a spirit trapped within the body. The fact that they are spiritual beings will dawn upon people as they learn to control their mind and let go off thoughts and emotions. The answer is in Silence and those who embrace it will lead a more healthy and effective life. I see this realization happening for more and more people by the end of the year.
- Happiness seeking techniques
World over people will resort to various ways that can bring them happiness. As the yearning for material things decreases (controlling desires) there will be a rise in spiritual levels. People will tend to realize that it is not the desires themselves, but the attachment to them, that is the cause of their downfall. Yoga is being practiced by many. (not just the asanas) The true meaning of yoga is being one with God. For this, we have to walk the path of yoga (Karma, Gnana or Bhakti) This is an ongoing process, but as people learn to embolden themselves on these paths and make progress on a regular basis, they will find becoming more happy. Meditation is another area which immensely increases ones level of pleasantness. Practicing Silence daily, the right diet and mind control will give an increased sense of satisfaction. Likewise, there are many other practices to become a more peaceful individual. I see a rise in adoption of meditation and yoga in the world this year.
- The decline in conflicts around the world
Major areas of tensions in the world include a conflict of interests. Strife happens because of rigid beliefs. The war is not between the good and the bad. It’s one person’s belief against that of another. And as deep rooted these beliefs are, the more grave the problem. Religion, caste, culture, ethnicity and other factors are so deeply embedded within us, we find it difficult to view the world through an untainted lens. The simple fact that we are all the children of one God and we are all connected by a divine fabric is just beginning to get into people’s mind. As more and more people embrace this reality, the world will become a better place to live. There are always some hard core basket cases, who are even willing to die for their distorted beliefs. But these people are not the norm. Most of us want a peace and a happy life. Geo-political factors will dictate the many critical areas of peace happening in their place. As people awaken to a new reality and as the hard core fanatics are rooted out, the world will see a new dawn of peace which we all should be able to embrace. I’m not speaking of utopia, but there will be a reduction in violence in this year, as we all live together as brothers and sisters.
- Technology as a means of self realization
What is self realization ? It’s a feeling of joy within us always. When our mind does not interfere in the ways of our living, we tend to do better. Gadgets and software is available in all areas of improvement :
Some people mistakenly think that there is a God outside of us, who is witness to all that we do. Truth be told, God is everywhere. In particles, waves, dark matter, dark energy or vacuum. There are many ways in which we can increase our physical fitness -for example a fitbit which monitors steps we walk or our cardiac signs is a very helpful tool. For mental fitness, we can use puzzles, games and humour to keep us fit. There are many useful websites both for adults and kids, which help them in this endeavour. Emotional fitness cannot really be controlled by a gadget, but there are experiments that have been conducted which prove that different areas of the brain stimulated with electric pulses, can lead to different emotions. Spiritual health can be tracked by applications like Jiyo and many others found on app store. I see lot of progress happening in all these areas in this year.
- Techno Spirituality – The final nirvana
Everyone thinks that the goal of life is Nirvana (an enhanced state of mind where we are one with all) Well, the truth is, life just has to be lived. Or experienced. There is no purpose in life. Do you find any purpose in kids playing and laughing ? Likewise, every single one of us has to find and walk his/her path. One person’s journey is not the same as another’s. We have to ascribe meaning to our lives and as they flower, we make progress in the right direction – a path towards purity or perfection. There are many technological marvels in the world that can lead us towards this. However, they are just tools. Like say the computer. It does things more accurately than us. It does not get tired and doesn’t need food or sleep. But our needs are different from that of a machine, which just requires electricity and maintenance. We have mastered the art of creating these devices and they are evolving day by day. They can assist us in our search for the truth, but they can’t walk our path. Robots, AI, Machine Learning – well these are progress for making our lives simpler. Finally, it is the human that matters – the machine is just a means of arriving at the destination. The better they get, the faster we will arrive. I see lot of progress happening in AI which will make our lives simpler. But they are not an end in itself. As machines evolve, we will have to find a new meaning for ourselves – to coexist with a new life form and to make this world a better place to live for our generations and our kids. Enjoy the journey …
Happy 2017 !!!