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Into the future: breakthrough tech trends to watch

While artificial intelligence and machine learning have been in the headlines non-stop, it’s also worth paying attention to other tech trends that are still to reach the market. 

Noting these trends is good for two reasons. First, watching where tech is headed allows us to perceive what the world will look like in a few years. Second, being on top of breakthrough tech trends lets businesses, individuals, and investors gain an edge, turn ideas into reality, and achieve tangible success. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the tech world has been buzzing about and what are some less-obvious candidates for the title of ‘revolutionary tech.’

A quantum leap in computing

Quantum computing involves using large, supercharged computers that harness the power of quantum physics to tackle challenges much quicker than the average PC or even the most powerful supercomputer. 

Instead of using 1s and 0s like regular computers, quantum computers use quantum bits, also known as ‘qubits,’ which act as both 1s and 0s simultaneously. As a result, information flows much faster, and the computer can solve problems that would take years — or even centuries — in a matter of seconds. 

Although quantum computing is still in its infancy, this breakthrough tech has already provided tangible benefits to humankind, such as vaccine manufacturing. IBM has agreed to let Moderna use its quantum computing systems to build better and more effective vaccines. 

Hedgehog showing off images from the quantum realm

The big players: It’s a competitive field

Regarding quantum computing, we’re not just talking about startups and research labs. Aside from IBM’s pioneering efforts, Google has launched its Quantum AI project; Microsoft recently achieved an important milestone, and AWS even has its Quantum Technologies Division. Splunk and Honeywell are all in the game, too.

This isn’t a niche market, either — the global quantum computing sector is expected to exceed $4.5 trillion by 2030. If you’re keen on joining this quantum revolution, you’ll need more than just good intentions. 

Getting into the field requires a solid grasp of quantum mechanics, linear algebra, probability, information theory, and machine learning. It’s an interdisciplinary feast, perfect for those with a palate for complexity.

Quantum computing is where science fiction meets reality. It’s complex and promising, and it will redefine what’s possible in computing and data analysis. So whether you’re in healthcare, finance, or simply fascinated by next-level tech, quantum computing is a field worth watching — and potentially, joining.

The revolution in image generation AI

A slew of heavy hitters like OpenAI, Stability AI, and Google have entered the arena. OpenAI gave us DALL-E, while its sequel, DALL-E 2, upped the ante on what text-to-image models could do. Now, with DALL-E 3 being an integral part of ChatGPT Pro plans and using its prompting powers, it’s slowly increasing its market share.

Not far behind, Google introduced Imagen, another contender in the text-to-image sphere. Then, we also can’t forget about the potent Midjourney, which had expansive free plans for a while and gained a large following on Discord. 

Stable Diffusion, an open-source text-to-image model by Stability AI, was the cherry on the sundae. Designed to run on robust home computers, this model has democratized the creative potential, igniting a wildfire of artistic ingenuity. It’s been the most popular visual AI model so far, as millions of people have already created tens of millions of images in just a few months.

While DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney are top choices for casual use and exploratory purposes, companies are already taking note of the visual capabilities of generative AI. Adobe’s Firefly is perhaps the most talked-about solution, as it allows image creation and editing through simple commands and text-based prompts. It’s already available in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Express

Now evolving from text-to-image to text-to-video, companies like Google and Meta are making strides in AI-generated video clips. It’s still early, but the implications for creative industries are profound. Of course, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. 

There are valid concerns about biases and toxic content lurking in the data used to train these models. The creative landscape is undergoing massive shifts, and as much as this technology promises, it also poses challenges that must be navigated responsibly. From job security to deepfakes, the entire niche is prone to many risks. 

Open standard chip design

Ever wondered how your smartphone syncs with your Bluetooth speaker despite different manufacturing origins? It’s because of open standards — every company has to design chips so they can pair with other Bluetooth devices. And it’s all possible because of publicly available design specifications— it’s the same case with Ethernet and Wi-Fi. 

Now, meet RISC-V. This open standard is a game changer for the chip design industry, once a domain where proprietary blueprints ruled. 

Traditionally, chip giants like Intel and ARM maintained a stranglehold on their design blueprints. Customers either had to settle for off-the-shelf chips, sometimes packed with irrelevant features, or cough up more for a custom design.

With RISC-V, you can kiss those limitations goodbye. The open standard lets anyone freely design a chip, revolutionizing the whole dynamic. RISC-V offers a streamlined design with a set of just 47 instructions, although variants are available for those seeking more advanced functionalities.

Companies are collaborating through RISC-V International, a nonprofit organization, to standardize and improve these designs. Intel has already earmarked a $1 billion fund to support companies developing RISC-V chips

What’s more, RISC-V chips are already a part of headphones, data drives, and even AI chipsets. It’s not an exaggeration to say that RISC-V chips could soon be omnipresent, from data centers to spacecraft.

A glimpse into the future of finance technology

When it comes to finance, speed and security are paramount — and blockchain delivers on both. Whether it’s Bitcoin or lesser-known projects, cryptocurrencies set new standards in transactional speed and security. The long settlement periods we’re used to? A thing of the past.

And blockchain isn’t the only game-changer. Even traditional practices like invoice factoring, billing, accounting, and taking out loans are getting tech upgrades. AI and machine learning make these processes quicker and more secure, allowing companies to manage cash flow and payments better.

Forget the long queues at your local bank—DeFi makes it possible to lend, borrow, and trade assets without stepping foot in a bank. While it might seem like the flavor of the month, decentralization can be a potential game changer and reimagine money as we know it. 

However, the market is filled with scams, and the lack of regulation effectively discourages the average investor from getting involved. In the future, new technology and laws may help level the playing field and make decentralized investing a reality for everyone.

Hedgehog using augmented reality for shoppping

Augmented reality: transforming e-commerce

Who needs to physically try on a pair of shoes when you can get a whole virtual makeover with Augmented Reality (AR)? Snapchat has heralded a new era in online shopping, enabling users to virtually try on products right from their screens and watch as animation and reality merge. And big companies like Nike and Adidas have already taken notice.  

Sneaker giants aren’t the only ones getting in on the AR action — social commerce is buzzing with other big names trying to give you a unique digital shopping spree. For instance, Snapchat’s AR-friendly features are like a magnet for major brands like NYX, Urban Decay, and Lancome. Ikea is also one of the pioneers, with its AR-powered home design app that lets you delete existing furniture

Accenture, a notable consulting firm, is betting that social commerce will outpace traditional online shopping by threefold in the next few years — we’re talking about a whopping $1.2 trillion in global sales by 2025. AR in social commerce isn’t just a fad — it’s the big leagues now.

The only thing stopping AR (and VR, for that matter) from taking over is that the learning curve is a bit steep, especially for those who didn’t even grow up with PCs. As for Gen Z, they’re practically born with smartphones in hand, so tech-savvy doesn’t even begin to cover it. They’re ready for AR in social commerce, and they will embrace it instead of feeling overwhelmed.

Bottom line: Augmented Reality isn’t just tech jargon we throw around. It can be a serious game-changer in the way we shop online. Keep tabs on this trend, and you’ll probably be thanking yourself later —especially if you find a way to monetize it effectively. 

New tech is worth watching

It’s clear that technology is not just evolving; it’s revolutionizing the way we work, play, and even shop. These shifts aren’t merely iterative; they’re transformative. And they’re not confined to Silicon Valley labs or ambitious startups; they’re permeating every sector, from healthcare and finance to retail and media. It won’t be long before they’re here, and we’re talking about the next big thing.

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Gary Stevens avatar

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens is a web developer and technology writer. He's a part-time blockchain geek and a volunteer working for the Ethereum foundation as well as an active Github contributor. More articles written by Gary.

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