In 1902, French filmmaker, Georges Méliès, directed, A Trip to the Moon. The film launched the first records of science fiction, and we’ve been dreaming of the stars ever since. Even today, with rockets as big as skyscrapers, we’re left wondering about what’s to come.

From spaceflight to quantum computing, we continue to advance. So what will science fiction look like in a society dominated by science that surpasses most of our understanding? If you’re looking for the latest technology predictions of the decade, continue reading. 

Spaceflight

It’s doubtless you’ve heard of Elon Musk and his technological endeavors. As eccentric as the billionaire is, he’s only a face of the technology that is dominating world news. Spaceflight is on our minds more than ever, and it’s continuing to gain altitude.

With SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch in 2018, the Artemis Program announced the reignition of manned space missions—and with it, the era of Big Falcon Rockets (BFRs). Elon’s Starship anticipates 220,000-pound payloads or 100+ passengers per launch.

What these super heavy rockets enable are bigger missions, such as more frequent launches of major instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope. It also allows other countries to enter the spaceflight arena, as China is doing with its newest instrument, the Xuntian Space Telescope. India is also staking a claim and has announced the development of its first manned spaceflight vehicle.

Falcon Heavy Rocket successfully launching into space.
Space X Falcon Heavy Rocket was used to deploy the Arabsat-6A satellite into orbit in April 2019.

Commercial Digital Transformation

On a level closer to our own feet, we’re seeing a transition in how businesses use technology. We can’t ignore the fact that COVID-19 impacted the way we interact, and it stemmed all the way into how we work with each other. While some companies hesitated to adapt, others flexed. This resulted in many traditional office jobs shifting to remote work.

Of course, standard operating procedures (SOP) didn’t include people working in their pajamas, meaning these companies had to adopt new technology. Communication companies like Zoom, Slack, and Skype swelled, showcasing an incredible need for digital interaction. Another company, Facebook, shifted its business strategy completely, as it works to develop virtual platforms that enhance the way we work together regardless of location.

As more and more companies adopt this remote philosophy, we’ll see commercial SOPs digitalize. It won’t surprise many in the future to see entire businesses operate on a digital or even a virtual scale.

Zoom vs. Skype — which is better?
Remote work has become the new norm and is now familiar to many of us.

Increasing AI Integration

Think back to all those frustrating calls when trying to get ahold of customer service. The automated chatbot would leave us almost preferring to wait for a real person. Those memories aside, artificial intelligence has developed beyond “for more options, please press zero.” In some cases, it can actually feel like a real conversation.

Natural language processing (NLP) can be attributed to this slow but steady improvement. This is a branch of artificial intelligence that uses big data to analyze and learn appropriate responses to statements. While some companies are using it to automate customer service, we’re seeing it enhance other areas of our lives in ways we wouldn’t recognize (mainly because they’re already so integrated).

Have you noticed the suggested words above your keyboard when sending a text message? This program also uses NLP to suggest words that you might use in that particular message. We also see the technology developing in personal assistance, such as Siri or Google Assistant. Amazon Alexa can even interact with items in your house.

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is completely changing the way we process and interact with information.

IoT Integration

Alexa couldn’t possibly do all that she does without her reliance on the internet. And, in fact, a lot of the items that we use to enhance our lives now use the concept called the Internet of Things (IoT). This refers to connecting everyday things, like our lights, smartwatches, and even doorbells, with sensors and internet connectivity. They use their sensors to collect data and compile it into useful information.

While our first real experiences with IoT might have been as novel as “Siri, tell me a joke,” the technology is quickly integrating into practical industries. Most notably, healthcare started using wearable metrics devices that alert medical personnel to emergencies. They can even make correlations in data to discover early signs of critical situations, such as cardiac arrest.

Telecommunication connections above smart city. Futuristic cityscape concept for internet of things (IoT), fintech, blockchain, 5G LTE network, wifi hotspot access, cyber security, digital technology
With the Internet of Things (IoT), all of your devices will be conducted to be ultra-smart.

The Future of Cloud Computing

With all the data that these IoT objects collect, our traditional forms of storage struggle to keep up. In response, we developed cloud computing to keep space open on our devices. But, there’s only so much that cloud computing can do with the continually growing amount of data being produced, and we’re already exploring new technology.

One concept, called edge computing, introduces a framework in which data is collected and analyzed before any information is stored. The architecture is assigned as close to the source of information as possible, freeing up the amount of data traveling through the bandwidth. Fog computing takes this idea one step further, decentralizing the data among the network.

Cloud computing technology
Cloud computing makes it possible to store infinite data in the “cloud,” which is needed as we expand our connectivity.

Quantum Computing

In some cases, data is so large that even a supercomputer can’t handle it. In these increasingly less extreme cases, we start to reconsider how to compute altogether. Instead of sorting through each individual variable like a traditional computer, quantum computers learn to use patterns to create multidimensional spaces. This drastically reduces the amount of computing power needed to solve incredibly complex problems.

The concept of quantum computing is relatively new, with IBM leading the field. It released its first quantum processor in 2016, capable of computing 5 qubits. With the technology realized, IBM is scaling its processors to handle more and more quantum data. Their latest processor, Condor, is expected to handle over 1,000 qubits. That’s enough quantum computing to surpass even the world’s most powerful supercomputer.

Quantum computing
Quantum computing is completely reimagining the way computers handle data.

5G

One of the biggest enabling technology for all this data collection and analysis is 5G networking. With speeds up to 100 Gbps (that’s a terabyte of data in less than two minutes), we have internet speeds faster than traditional cable services. 

Where it doesn’t surpass wired internet is in its range. By design, 5G relies on short-band wavelengths. This enables its incredible speed, but at the sacrifice of distance. However, the latest developments in the technology find certain mid-band waves provide similar speeds at greater reach. In the near future, we could see nearly half the planet powered by 5G internet.

5G telecommunications tower cell phone
5G is growing rapidly to soon power our entire technological ecosystem.

Practical Virtual Reality Uses

As mentioned briefly in the sections above, virtual reality finds application in commercial settings. While typically thought of in the form of video games, VR also introduces new ways of looking at immersion in museums, theaters, and education. 

One major VR development involves training and simulations. Medical centers are using the application to simulate delicate surgical procedures. The U.S. Navy is also finding ways to train personnel in situational maneuvers. Perhaps with the military discovering uses, the technology will continue to develop.

Simulation training VR AR MR
VR technology is now being used for simulation training in many fields, including medicine and the military.

Blockchain

One of the most prominent technological advancements tends to wear a novelty mask. When people hear blockchain, they might first consider Bitcoin, or cryptocurrency as an application. While a lot of people dismiss cryptocurrency as volatile or even equate it to gambling, its technology is fundamentally secure.

Blockchain technology uses a decentralized and encrypted ledger to keep track of digital transactions. This means that not one entity has control over transactions, and no one can dispute them after they’ve happened. The result is a safe way of purchasing things without middlemen.

However, blockchain has applications in much more than just currency. Digital ledgers can help with manufacturing supply chains, where many people have to pass along critical information. By removing the human aspect of checking and passing along supply information, processes move along at a quicker rate and without error. This concept can also apply to critical industries, such as healthcare and the defense sector.

blockchain technology
Virtually hackproof, blockchain is a way to share and record information securely.

Cybersecurity

In addition to blockchain, we’re beginning to develop other cybersecurity technology. With more and more of our personal information online, cybercriminals are finding new, advantageous avenues. Fraudulent practices go so far as to use machine learning to replicate a person online (known as deep-faking).

To counter this, we’re learning how to encrypt data even closer to the source. Homomorphic encryption operates on cyphertexts in a way that preserves data in use. This enables data processing without ever exposing it. This increases the security of supply chains, where third parties are often used to process and transport material.

network security data encryption
Keeping our personal information secure is now more important than ever, and cybersecurity is looking for new ways to do just that.

Technology Predictions: Further Reading

When we consider technology predictions of the future, security is at the forefront. As more of the items we usually engage with connect to the internet, our very movements translate into sensitive personal data. For more on the technology that will impact our lives going forward, check out these articles:

What’s the Next Big Thing in Technology? 10 Predictions From the Experts FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the future of technology in 2022?

In 2022, we’ll see wearable sensors, mobile connectivity, and transportation more efficient than we’ve seen. Quantum computing will start to overtake traditional computers, and cyber security will be a top priority.

What technology will we have in 2050?

In 2050, IoT will be incorporated into nearly every product and connected to cloud or edge computing. Space tourism will also take off on a global scale.

What is quantum computing in simple terms?

Quantum computing is the development of computing using ideas based on quantum theory. Quantum theory studies nature at the atomic and subatomic levels.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is a service that allows users to store their data on a central server instead of their personal devices.

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More from History-Computer

  • University of Colorado Available here: https://www.colorado.edu/dark-ages-radio-explorer/
  • IBM Available here: https://research.ibm.com/blog/ibm-quantum-roadmap
  • Accenture Available here: https://www.accenture.com/ae-en/insights/cloud/edge-computing-index
  • Keyfactor Available here: https://www.keyfactor.com/blog/what-is-homomorphic-encryption/
  • PR Newswire Available here: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-future-of-tech-2022-technology-predictions-revealed-301460053.html#:~:text=The%20top%20three%20tech%20trends,becoming%20essential%20for%20our%20survival.