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Dhaka Tribune

What's the future of tech and can we prepare ourselves?

We have the internet, smart devices, autonomous vehicles, countless AI tools and a lot more. But what’s next and how do we prepare ourselves for what’s coming?

Update : 21 Jun 2023, 08:21 PM

What was the last biggest revolution in tech in the last 50 years? 

This question doesn't have any specific answer. Mainly because over the last 50 years, tech has become very consumer-centric. We, as consumers, have been offered many choices and alternatives. 

For example, a PC and a smartphone have the same computing capabilities these days. 

To put this into perspective, 53 years ago, when Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, it had 32,768 bits of RAM memory as opposed to the latest smartphones having 12GB of RAM. 

In half a century, we have the whole world connected to the palm of our hands. Has technology peaked or is there more?

AI and autonomous tech

We have been hearing about the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution now for years. There's an argument if it's the future of tech or are we already living in it. 

I believe that we are already living in the era of AI. Why? Simply because it exists. 

The era of new tech begins when it comes into the scene and eventually keeps evolving from that point with the help of other tech. The Internet isn't what it was in the 1980s, neither will AI be what it is today. 

I have seen colleges and universities banning the use of ChatGPT and organizations warning their employees not to use such tools and I cannot find a reason why. 

In the year 2023, the more you ignore a new tool, the more you will be falling behind the competition. These students will never live in a world without ChatGPT unless there's an apocalyptic event causing the death of the entire world wide web. 

There shouldn't be restrictions on using AI tools. There should only be guidelines. We need to educate our workforce to use the tools that have all the potential to make work faster and more accurate. 

Within the next five to ten years, the world will rapidly move towards autonomy, which doesn't necessarily mean a spree of job cuts. If anything, you will be more likely to lose your job if you don't familiarize yourself with AI tools. 

5G and a revolutionized healthcare

I won't get too technical about 5G but here's what you need to know: 5G is up to 100 times faster than 4G. 

What does it mean, though? 

It means real-time traffic control using AI and machine learning, even in the worst traffic in Dhaka. 

It also means so much lower latency and higher data transfer speed that a doctor can perform surgery from one end of the world to another using the Internet and a mechanical arm. 

According to an SCMP news article published in February 2019, a 30-year-old woman in China became the first person in the country to have her gallbladder removed through remote surgery, in an operation orchestrated from more than 4,500km or 2,800 miles away.

Within the next eight years, 5G will hopefully make its way through every corner of the globe. 

Meanwhile, the research for the development of the next generation 6G — predicted and targeted to be another 100 times faster than 5G — has already begun. It will eventually make its way to the world in the early 2030s. 

That being said, you may not need such fast technology in everyday life. But it is always good to have options, and I will discuss why in the next part. 

Up in the cloud

The “Cloud” is basically storage on a server somewhere in the world. You already know a few like Google Drive, Mega, iCloud and so on. If you are old school, you may even be familiar with Mediafire. 

But that was only the beginning. After cloud storage came cloud computing. 

Nowadays, there are gaming services like Nvidia GeForce Now, Google Stadia and Tencent Cloud. Not all of them are available in Bangladesh right now, though. 

With Cloud Gaming, Nvidia and Google already made the six figures you spend on the latest generation processor or the latest GPU almost irrelevant. 

With Cloud Storage, you don't need to spend a fortune on a brand new SSD that has five, and if you are lucky, maybe eight-ten years of shelf life. Instead, you can just grab a cloud storage and pay a yearly fee. 

What's the trade-off? You may end up paying a little more over the next five years. 

However, you will also turn a blind eye to your precious hardware failing to work because they are none of your worries anymore. You will just be using a laptop or a desktop that costs Tk30,000 or Tk40,000 and play a game using a GPU that's worth Tk2 lakh. 

If you want to decrease your expenses further, Google has these affordable Chromebooks that you can get for even a lower price and they work amazingly well with both Google Drive and Google Stadia. 

What about video editing, you say? You got Canva, for starters. You got Lumen 5 which will generate an entire video based on given texts for free. 

There's already this cloud rendering service called iRender that lends servers with impressive specs (builds that will cost at least Tk10 lakh) for a fraction of the price (Tk800/hour) and allows you to render your Premiere Pro or Blender projects. This is one of the servers with the latest Nvidia GPU and 256GB of RAM. There are cheaper ones available. 

With the arrival of 5G and more advanced AI tools, you will get much more similar services at a lower cost. All you will need is a device with minimum specs and faster internet connectivity. 

This is how tech evolves, in tandem with one another. 

Quantum computing

You may already know that no matter what you do on your computer, it only understands and processes everything using 0s and 1s. These are called bits (binary digits). 

Quantum computing harnesses the principles of quantum mechanics to process information. Unlike regular computers that use bits as 0s or 1s, quantum computers use qubits.

Qubits are something that can exist in multiple states simultaneously. While a bit can only be 0 or 1, a qubit can be 0, 1 or a combination of both. 

Unstable qubits can cause computational errors. So, researchers behind quantum computing are now trying to improve qubit stability and error mitigation techniques. 

It is very difficult to predict any specific time frame behind quantum computing. But it should take at least another ten years to arrive at the industrial scale and 15-20 years at the consumer level. 

However, thanks to cloud computing and AI, we will see its implication in research in medicine, diseases, agriculture, environment, cybersecurity and further development in technology before it makes its way to the consumer level. 

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT basically connects everyday objects to the internet, allowing them to share data and be controlled remotely, making our lives more convenient and efficient.

The prime examples of IoT are smart home devices like smart lights or smart locks and wearable devices like fitness trackers. 

IoT is already used everywhere, starting from your wrist to your home to industries to agriculture and more. But within the next ten years, IoT will definitely come up with lots of new applications with the arrival of up-to-date techs. 

The most impactful sectors IoT is most likely to revolutionize, according to me, are healthcare, agriculture, research on the environment and AI-powered (a lot more open than ChatGPT) virtual assistants. They will have access to all your data, which brings us to the next point.

Cybersecurity

As the world of tech advances rapidly in the next twenty years, cybersecurity will become extremely important. 

With new technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing and the Internet of Things, there will be more opportunities for cybercriminals to attack and steal information and we will be in dire need of strong cybersecurity measures to protect our data and privacy. 

As more devices connect to the internet, such as smart homes and smart cars, we have to ensure that they are not vulnerable to hackers.

Quantum computing has the potential to break current encryption methods. To stay safe, we need to develop new ways to protect our information that can resist attacks using quantum computers. 

What will happen to our smartphones? 

Smartphones will continuously evolve with the arrival of the latest technology. There is a lot more to improve on when it comes to smartphones and I believe that they will be relevant for the longest time.

Apple recently announced the release of its AR headset/glasses called Apple Vision Pro. This tech will maintain a good and long-lasting impression over the future. But I don't think it will replace our smartphones. It will just get better over time and co-exist with smartphones.

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