5 Things that are Trending in Technology This Week

  • Get ready for robot master chefs!
  • A world with no room for lies!
  • The Internet of Things will dominate your life!
  • Cybercrime and privacy
  • Self-driving Audi

Technology is the key to evolution. It has propelled every major change that the human species has witnessed has been propelled by technology. Therefore, keeping an eye on what is trending in technology is always beneficial. Speculating about these trends could help you better analyze your own opportunities while allowing you to assess whether you are missing something.

Today, we look at some really unique and futuristic concepts that will make life a lot easier. These concepts include robot chefs cooking gourmet dinners and self-driven cars that enable the driver to read newspapers and brush his or her teeth even while in the driver’s seat! We also look at some of the unseen consequences of increased digitization in terms of cybercrime and invasion of privacy, as well as delve into the hidden use of big data in marketing and advertising!

History reveals that technology and human evolution have always been intertwined. When man first invented the wheel, I imagine he must have found it so much easier to carry heavy loads over large distances! Over the centuries, the wheel led to numerous innovations, and today, we cannot imagine traveling somewhere on a vehicle that does not have wheels! Even airplanes have them! In this post, we will explore similar elements. These innovations will shape our future, which is why it’s high time that we start getting to know what’s going on!

Get ready for robot master chefs!

The modern world is so busy that finding time for household chores stuff has become difficult. Gone are the days when you would reach home to find your lovely spouse waiting with a pitcher of chilled iced tea and spaghetti and meatballs for dinner! Homes are becoming nuclear, and couples are increasingly becoming preoccupied with work. The motivation to cook is entirely eliminated by the long and hectic workday. After observing this condition, Moley Robotics recently developed a prototype called robochef, which has been specifically designed for your home. The aim is to provide families with a handy kitchen assistant who can cook all meals with the added bonus of never talking back to you!

Robochef was unveiled last week at Germany’s Hannover Messe Technology Fair, and it definitely stirred some excitement. The robot has two arms installed on top of a cooking area. It also has hobs, a sink, and an oven! Owning one is like having a kitchen and a butler in one! No wonder it is trending in technology. I mean, we are talking about massive automation at home. How revolutionary is that?

Robochef’s sophisticated and multi-functional hands are created by another London-based firm called Shadow Robot Company, which has a global clientele that includes NASA. This means that we can all worry less about performance issues! Moley’s vision is to produce a version laced with cameras, which will enable users to teach the robochef various recipes. These recipes can be uploaded to a digital library and shared with other people. Robochef is a combination of mechanics, IT, AI, and cookery. How cool is that? I bet the T-1000 didn’t know how to fry chicken!

Two robot arms hovering above a kitchen stove
Robochef is a combination of mechanics, IT, AI, and cookery

Moley also hopes that subsequent models will be capable of handling tricky situations, such as preventing over-beating or taking on difficult Indian dishes and what not! The new tech won’t come cheap. The expected launch price is $15,000, which is A LOT of money! However, as with any new technology, the price will go down as it becomes more common! Robochef works by recording human actions in 3D and then converting them into very precise movements. Chef Tim Anderson trained the prototype personally and spent time creating original dishes in a motion-capture studio. He also demonstrated how the robot can make crab bisque. Robochef could cook anything if trained well!

The firm has targeted a version for public release by 2017. This version will include additions and improvements to the original prototype. There will be a library of over 1,000 dishes, a dishwasher, and even a refrigerator! Owners can control the robot using an app! This means that you can tell it what you want for dinner as you’re leaving the office so that you have a hot meal ready when you reach home! Impressive, isn’t it?

A world with no room for lies!

Another innovation that is trending in technology these days is big data related analytics, and its global implications inclined toward revealing true personal behavior. The concept revolves around the information collected by social media channels, the apps in your smartphone, and your online activities. These data are collectively analyzed by major organizations, and the results are used for various purposes. For instance, data from wearable devices, such as smartwatches, are heavily used by motor companies to track your actual driving habits! Everything from your career profile to your travel itinerary can easily be tracked! You can see an alert for a proposed event even if you have not marked it on your Google Calendar. The update is automatic!

The biggest speculation revolving around the consequences of big data is that it is going to be tough to lie about something in the future! Another example of the use of big data is the evidence scenario in the event of an accident. The phones of victims are often analyzed for any irregular driving behavior, such as texting or calling when the accident took place. Such information eliminates the scope for doubt, and the statements of victims become less important. The real question is whether there is scope for identifying the ultimate truth good or bad in the long run. The immediate negatives seem to very clear in terms of invasion of personal privacy and the possibility of cybercrime (which is entirely another trend altogether). However, is there any good to this technology? I guess there is.

One advantage of using such technology is the proper filtering of social media content, which is often filled with rumors and fraudulent information that go viral and cause a temporary upheaval in the order of things. One instance was when hackers broke into Associated Press’ Twitter account and posted about explosions at the White House and Obama being hurt. The post became viral, and the implications on the stock market were serious! The truth eventually came out and the markets recovered, but the question is whether the truth can come out even faster?

Fingers attached to a lie detection machine
The biggest speculation revolving around the consequences of big data is that it is going to be tough to lie about something in the future

Research is underway to provide faster and more efficient channels for lie detection. The Pheme Project, which is funded by the European Union, aims to provide a fraud-recognition solution by bringing together experts in natural language, web science, text mining, social network analysis, and other IT fields. These experts aim to develop robust algorithms to help detect lies and fraud from the get-go! Biometric data, such as pulse rates and retinal infractions during any interaction, can also be used to detect lies. With the expanding scope of research in this field, an increasing number of apps and tools are becoming available. Thus, we are poised to arrive at a time when we could simply use our smartphones to know whether someone is lying! Only time could tell how effective these tools will be and where all the white lies will end up.

The Internet of Things will dominate your life!

Since its inception, the Internet has been trending in technology. It has altered the concept of distances and opened up an entirely new set of opportunities for people from all walks of life. However, what is the internet of things (also called the Internet of Everything or IoE), and why is it so hot at the moment?

IoE is the connected world! It refers to the network connections among devices, data, and people! Cisco recently projected that IoE will generate a value of $19 trillion in the next 10 years based on the fact that by 2020, 50 billion people will have internet access. Cisco speculates that out of this amount, $14 trillion will come in through the private sector, with the rest coming from public sector.

What this essentially means is that we are looking at an era of perfect knowledge. When 50 billion devices with innumerable sensors are connected, we will have the information necessary to make quick decisions regarding what we want, as well as where and when we want it! This will create an explosion of possibilities based on individual capabilities, the extent of digitization, and the business mindset of any individual.

Dynamic pricing will motivate you to buy. Your gaze over products will be monitored, and prices will be changed instantly to trigger a purchase. Parking sensors will solve traffic crises by informing you about open spots. Smart sensors will allow streetlights and house lights to switch on only when you are nearby! Each sector has the possibility for re-imagination through digitization! Transportation will evolve with self-driven cars. Virtual healthcare will give you more control over your health. Insurance premiums will be based on the information collected about your living habits.

IoE has even enabled winemakers to know the perfect conditions under which to create the best product. Sensors follow details of fermentation and ensure careful handling during the process of distribution and sales! The Internet can even help you to get better profits! Another speculation is that wearables will make way for invisibles, which refer to devices embedded in the body to provide relevant information. The takeaway from all this is that many opportunities lie in making things more efficient by connecting them to the digitized world of the Internet!

The Internet is evidently set to become the nervous system of the global economy (in many ways, it already is), and successful entrepreneurs will need to capitalize on this fact by first synchronizing their operations with IoE (which will help them analyze data better) and continuously brainstorm about such trends in technology! The opportunities are abundant and ever increasing. It is time to make good use of your resources!

Cybercrime and privacy: 563 racers didn’t know that their vitals were being scanned by a spectator!

Other issues related to the Internet of Things and big data analytics are cybercrime and privacy violation. Over the years, the fact that our personal information, tastes, and inclination are no longer confined to our own minds has become one of the trends in technology that have been discussed across all major public and private platforms.

You are being watched, and it is high time you knew who is watching you!

A recent example is a research conducted by Candid Wueest, a security researcher at Symantec (creator of Norton Anti-virus) at the Dublin City Women’s Mini Marathon. He managed to collect personal info from 563 racers by scanning their devices from a tool he made out of spare parts! He tried to demonstrate how potent the invasion of human privacy could get. Today, more devices than you realize can connect to the Internet. Your smartphone is powered with apps that give you control over your TV, thermostat, and even your car. These apps communicate with one another, such that your car can tell the main door to unlock when you reach your house!

However, this is not the entire picture. The creepy part is that these apps and tools send loads of information to parent corporations, which analyze the same to increase their profits! The information is also sold and rented to other multi-nationals for marketing purposes! Apart from that, there is always the threat of expert hackers obtaining valuable information that would enable them to exploit you.

One can clearly see that the Internet of things requires more scrutiny!

The crux of the matter is that these organizations should come clean about the use of relayed information and ensure that their customers are comfortable with these practices. More control should be given to users in terms of the information they wish to reveal. Consumers should also evaluate their options and choose to share only the information that they feel comfortable revealing.

The scope of transparency can be addressed as IoE is still in its infancy. Cisco Systems estimates that there are 109 million devices generating millions of GBs of data every month. This number will skyrocket in the future, and currently, no system is in place to monitor information exploitation. Companies such as Apple, GE, IBM, and Samsung have already locked horns in the battle for domination over the IoE. Amazon’s Dash program, which provides customized Wi-Fi buttons at home for the instant purchase of daily items, is a clear indication that we are moving toward an age of complete digitization. This makes the dangers of information exploitation and cybercrime more potent!

The Federal Trade Commission has raised its concerns over the IoE and has recommended a best practice approach in its report. However, such policies take time to be implemented to existing systems! Our laws may not even be ready for what is already out there. This leaves us with one option. It is we, the consumers, who will have to be clear about our privacy and personal space. My advice: Only buy things that require you to reveal only the information that you are comfortable sharing! You may never know who is watching!

Self-driving Audi allows you to brush your teeth in the driver’s seat

Okay, after heavy discussions on the potential threats posed by technology, we come to the fun part. A piece of news that has been trending in technology is the recent update on self-driving technology. I’m pretty sure you’re going to love self-driven cars!

How much time do you spend on commuting every day? Let me guess. You spend an hour or more commuting. The average American commutes for 28 minutes a day, with the general average being 38 minutes. With automated driving, you not only get to save on commuting time but also free up your schedule to do other important stuff.

Brend Rossler of the Department of Automated Driving at Volkswagen reported that the mass public rollout of self-driven cars isn’t due until 2021–22, but the technology is road ready! The Audi Self-drive Prototype, which has recently been in the news, has never failed any road experiment. Imagine yourself sitting comfortably on the backseat while the car takes you to your office. You can easily pack lunch for your kids, do some personal grooming, read the newspaper, and so many little things that you previously missed out on.

Fast driving autonomous black & white Audi on the road
The Audi Self-drive Prototype, which has recently been in the news, has never failed any road experiment

The prototype takes care of security in an impressive way. It has a mono-camera in front, along with two laser scanners. It has four radars that provide an enhanced 360-degree view, which provides a safer and more efficient driving experience.

The risk of accidents due to irregular driving habits can be significantly reduced with these self-driven cars. In Germany alone, there are reports that 20% of drivers text while driving. This number can be brought down when these automated vehicles are rolled out. However, a few practices will still be banned if you are in the driver’s seat. These activities include drinking and sleeping! Well, I think those are justifiable.

Conclusion

A lot has been happening in the world of tech these days. However, what is trending in technology this week may eventually become obsolete. Such is the pace of growth and innovation across the globe. What do you think will be the ultimate tech in the future? Will the Internet of things dominate the economy? It seems likely!

I would love to see myself brushing my teeth in a self-driven Audi! How about you?

This article is written by Richard van Hooijdonk

This article is written by Richard van Hooijdonk

Trendwatcher, futurist and international keynote speaker Richard van Hooijdonk takes you to an inspiring future that will dramatically change the way we live, work and do business.

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