The Future is Now
Certification Magazine|January 2020
Artificial intelligence and blockchain among the new and emerging tech trends that will shape 2020

When it comes to new innovations, 2020 promises to be an exciting year marked by the emergence of some of the most transformative and perhaps even revolutionary technologies of this decade. For the nerds among us who grew up dreaming about Buck Rogers, watching Star Trek, and reading Isaac Asimov by flashlight till the wee hours of the morning, 2020 could be Christmas morning — where dreams turn into possibilities, and possibilities into reality.

In researching this article, my choices were literally overwhelming. I felt like a child in a candy shop who wanted one of everything but only had a dollar to spend. It was hard to narrow the choices down to just the six presented here, but time (and word count) simply wouldn’t permit me to feature all of the wonderful and emerging trends I investigated.

In the end, I compromised. What I’ve done here is present a “taste” of several of the awesome emerging IT innovations and trends across a variety of fields, including technology, medicine, and employment. Hopefully, you’ll find something that lights the imagination of your inner nerd on fire!

Technology

Artificial Intelligence — Hands down, artificial intelligence (AI) has to be one of the most exciting areas of innovation to monitor in 2020. According to author and futurist Bernard Marr, AI is “one of the most transformative tech evolutions of our times.”

AI is everywhere and its influence can be felt across all industry spectrums. The increasing use of AI is leading changes in business operations, customer service, robotics, and medicine, to name just a few. Thanks to AI, even those pesky robo-callers we all love to hate have become so lifelike and intuitive in their responses that they just may leave you wondering whether that sales or research call was actually handled by a human.

Implementing an in-house AI solution can be costly. Many enterprise-level organizations, such as IBM, Microsoft, and SAS, are investing in their own in-house AI development. The high cost of implementing an AI solution, however, can make AI a cost-prohibitive proposition for smaller companies.

The total price tag includes developing use cases, hiring skilled AI developers, running pilot programs, and incidental related costs (such as project management, training, cybersecurity monitoring, and implementation). As industry demands increase, look for companies that deliver various IT solutions “as a service” or “as a platform” to add AI offerings to their portfolios.

Hyperautomation — Hyperautomation is included in this list of trending items to watch because of its potential to impact work. What’s at stake here is not just the way we work, but how work gets done and, most importantly, who does it: a human or a machine?

At its essence, hyper-automation is the use of technology to automate jobs performed by humans. Multiple technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA), and intelligent business management software (IBMS), are leveraged to create tools designed to automate processes and, in some cases, augment humans (which is a topic for another discussions).

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