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Tecnology 08 Feb 2018

Emerging Technologies: What will the world be like in 2030?

For decades, human beings have used technology to make day-to-day life simpler and more comfortable.  Science has evolved and become more sophisticated in meeting our concrete needs in a more precise manner. The entertainment sector has also benefited from technological advances, by incorporating virtual reality into immersion experiences.

Technological progress heralds a radical increase in productivity that would be almost unthinkable for human productivity. This situation will represent a turning point that will require us to rethink our current way of life. The multinational computer technology company Dell has just published a report that delves into the human-machine relationship and examines how emerging technologies will transform society by 2030.

One of the biggest transformations will take place in the labor market. By 2030, individuals will cease to have permanent jobs, with most people becoming freelancers, as part of the so-called gig economy, in which work consists of one-off  tasks. Also, about 85% of those tasks have yet to be invented. Dell has identified the following technologies as the most relevant in the human-machine relationship.

Robotics

Robotics is already used for many tasks human beings “don’t want to do because they are dangerous, repetitive or don’t require special cognitive skills.” However, we continue to move toward a more advanced industrial revolution, in which many processes will be automatized.

The Chinese company Changying Precision Technology, which produces parts for cellphones, has been the first to replace 90% of its workforce with robots, leading to a 250% increase in productivity. This has prompted calls by Bill Gates, for one, to argue that robots that replace human jobs should pay taxes as a worker would do.

Close to 85% of the jobs haven’t been invented yet”

According to a study by the  OECD on the risk posed by automatization, 9% of the jobs in member countries of the bloc can be potentially automatized. By 2030, robotics will focus on mobility and we will see the emergence of robot drivers. Such services will be contracted through applications similar to those that already exist.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

The latest CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas made clear that artificial intelligence presents an opportunity that no company wants to miss. The use of voice assistant apps such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant are becoming more common every day. Universities have started to offer specific training in artificial intelligence, given the worldwide lack of training in this area.

An estimated 1,500 companies in the United States operate in areas related to artificial intelligence. Bank of America in 2015 already estimated that the artificial intelligence market would amount of to over $153 billion by 2020.

For its part,  ‘machine learning’ aims to develop techniques that enable machines to acquire behavior that will later allow them to make decisions on their own initiative. This technology is already being used in different areas. Facebook uses machine learning to recognize violent content or nudity, in order to censor them, even in direct transmission. The audiovisual giant Netflix uses machine learning to make recommendations to users. Driverless cars also need machine learning to monitor the movements of other vehicles or to react to unexpected events.

The visionary founder of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has predicted that the only possible  way ahead is the merger of machines and humans, if the latter do not want the very superior artificial intelligence of machines  to make them irrelevant.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

These two concepts can lend themselves to confusion. Virtual reality functions by blocking out the physical world and transporting the user to a simulated world. Augmented reality, on the other hand, adds virtual information to the physical world, causing the user to perceive a mixture of both realities.

The report stresses the substantial change that these two technologies represent, as they enable users to submerge themselves in a virtual world and experience information in first person, using all their senses. Both technologies are currently being applied in education, where augmented reality allows students to visualize concepts such as parts of the body through 3D constructions; in entertainment, where virtual reality experiences can transport the user to places such as a zombie apocalypse or an intergalactic war; and in medicine, where they can resolve phobias or fears by virtually transporting the patient into a conflict situation.

The only possible path is the merger of machines and men” – Elon Musk

In 2030, these technologies will speed up the merger of physical and digital identities. Augmented reality will be used as a learning tool, to improve the training of individuals or to recycle them in the job market. Virtual reality will make possible for users to immerse themselves in alternative scenarios, thus serving as a preparation for future situations.

By 2030, in-the-moment learning will be commonplace. The capacity to acquire new knowledge will be more valued than the knowledge that individuals already have. In this type of learning, virtual reality will play an essential role, while augmented reality will enable employees to face circumstances in which they may find themselves in the future.

Cloud computing

This technology could be defined as the offer of storage, access and usage of computing resources, principally those established on the Internet. The cloud can be private, public or hybrid. Some 70% of U.S: companies are already working with the cloud and more are expected to follow the trend.

Chilate Dairy, a milk production company, improved its production and the wellbeing of its workers, thanks to cloud computing. By using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) labels, the company captures data on the health of its cows and, after analyzing it, sends information to employees, instructing them to adjust a cow´s diet, give them medicine or apply a vaccination.

By 2030, cloud computing will be so widespread that it will be hard to remember a time when it didn´t exist.

Talent and the search for employment

The search for talent in 2030 will be nothing like it is today. Keeping in mind the aforementioned predictions about the “gig economy”, companies will select their workers according to their talent for performing a specific task. In 2030, employees will be selected from around the world and will be able to work in teams in a collaborative manner, helping to make country barriers disappear.

The integration of virtual reality into hiring will make it possible to recruit personnel without knowing the sex or the race of the individual. Selection tests will be done through a neutral avatar, so hiring will be based solely on a worker’s capabilities.

However, in 2030, not only will the capacity or the experience of the worker be taken into account. The so-called “soft skills” will be crucial to differentiating oneself when seeking employment. Developing a strong personal brand and an ability to capitalize on the human-machine relationship will guarantee success in the new era.

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