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The technologies that will shape the future

The technological evolution is advancing in a vertiginous and transversal way, transforming everything from our small routines to the most transcendental global business. Impossible to reduce into a small list, here are some of the most relevant technologies that will shape the future.

Adopting technological advances attracts investment, calls for training, and opens up a world of possibilities in economic development. And while we are sure you have heard of them, it is likely that you are unaware of everything they can do for us.

 

1. GENERATIVE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (GenAI)
It is one of the technologies that has evolved the most since its beginnings, which date back to the first half of the last century, when famous mathematician Alan Turing took the first steps in modern computing. As early as the 1950s, the so-called fathers of AI (John McCarty, Marvin Misky, and Claude Shannon) coined this term which referred to “the science and ingenuity of making intelligent machines”.

From this starting point to the present day, many milestones have been reached, and they are easy to trace, so we will focus on the latest milestone reached: Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI), capable of creating content with or without the intervention of the human mind in any format: audio, text, video, images, or music.

In recent weeks, we have witnessed numerous debates about whether it plagiarizes or replaces creativity, whether it alters the paradigm of the media as we know it, and even about the fraudulent uses that can be extracted from it, but the truth is that there are also many industries that see it as a complementary tool and take advantage of it to improve the efficiency and quality of the work of their employees.

Having been introduced quite recently, and yet still a powerful weapon that most of us do not know how to use very well, Europe is trying to standardize its use and the Spanish Ministry of Culture is already working on a guide of good practices.

For the business world, GenAI can help by processing large amounts of data and providing valuable information in different processes—from customer service to industrial design. However, it is essential to integrate a specific Risk Management for this area because an error or an attack on its systems could irreparably damage the activity, development, and reputation of any business.

 

2. SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY
The inclusion of a sustainable perspective in all economic activity is no longer an optional business philosophy, but a universal imperative in any sector. The United Nations Global Compact, an initiative of the Organization that leads business sustainability in the world, demands that this protection of the environment, human rights, and the fight against corruption should also be done through technological innovation.

It is no coincidence that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) make direct reference to innovation as a fundamental lever for achieving business sustainability. Companies are adopting more sustainable practices supported by processes that favor efficiency and the use of resources in their productive activity, and also in specific aspects of the digital era such as the creation of Data Centers, where great advances are being made in the respectful processing and storage of data.

Another concern generated by the massive use of digital media is energy consumption, for which methods of predictive use and efficiency are being developed to mitigate its impact on the environment. This same dynamic is establishing synergies to create smarter industrial and residential environments that favor more efficient water management, the prevention of accidents or natural disasters, and the reduction of harmful emissions.

 

3. DIGITAL HEALTH
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the healthcare field changed significantly with an unprecedented drive in innovation and technological development. These efforts have occurred in all areas, from research to medical care. Far from remaining a one-off event, technological growth has remained exponential and has even been integrated into the day-to-day use of patients.

Devices that monitor our general physical health, cardiovascular activity, or temperature are the order of the day and within the reach of almost any pocket, but so are care techniques for more specific ailments, such as diabetes, epilepsy, or dependency. These devices, increasingly smaller and more autonomous, are often accompanied by advanced sensorization that detects (and even predicts) anomalies in real time. Moreover, many of them include an alarm system that expedites patient care.

 

4. THE CLOUD
Although we will not include it in this list because it is a permanently valid technology, Big Data (the massive data accumulated by institutions, devices, and companies) is supported by a trend that is evolving en masse: Cloud structures, which are increasingly specific according to the industry they support and the needs of the company they host.

The Cloud, in addition to data storage, offers parallel processing services and cybersecurity and favors the integration of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning into any area of business. There are currently three types of structures that can be adopted:

  • Public cloud: It offers application processing, storage, development, and deployment services, among others, but they are hosted in a space owned and managed by others (or in a new third-party space), such as, for example, those offered by large providers like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or Amazon Web Services.
  • Private cloud: Each institution or company provides all cloud-related systems internally. This gives them greater control and personalization over the information they store and, therefore, more unbreachable security. On the contrary, they also entail added costs and a resource constraint associated with the company’s IT environment.
  • Hybrid cloud: This is the result of a harmonized architecture that combines one or more public Clouds with the company’s local environment, allowing the final location of the data to be chosen according to the priorities required for its storage and exploitation.

 

5. QUANTUM COMPUTING
Although it took its first steps more than forty years ago, quantum computing is at its most promising moment. So much so that its evolution has once again turned it into an emerging technology, destined to change computing as we know it, and, with it, global economic development.

The premise is simple: based on the laws of quantum mechanics, being able to resolve enormously complex problems in minutes, when before it could take days, months, or even years of work. Nowadays, these extremely efficient machines differ considerably from the first ones that were developed more than forty years ago.

As reported by Microsoft, “quantum computers take advantage of the unique behavior of quantum physics, such as overlay, interlinking, and quantum interference, and apply it to computing” to introduce new programming concepts. These quantum computers are not necessarily faster than a classic computer, but they do work exceptionally well for modeling other quantum systems to handle the complexity and ambiguity of systems that would overload classic computers.

Although it is still in the development stages, numerous applications have already been given to this technology in fields such as finance (where it is capable of optimizing investment portfolios and even improving fraud detection), health (for the development of new medications and personalized treatments), and even transportation (where it has already been used to design more efficient airplanes).

 

[Update of the 2018 article “The 10 technologies that will shape the future”].

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