Design and Technology
Future of Communication
The technology we use to communicate today was once the stuff of science fiction – but further mind-blowing changes are on the way.
The idea that computers might one day be able to think like humans has been around for decades. In recent years, though, AI has progressed at lightning speed, bringing us self-driving cars, real-time voice translation and IBM’s Watson, which famously played against humans in US quiz show Jeopardy – and won. AI has also had an impact on wealth management and high net worth individuals, with robo advisors using complex algorithms to sift through big data and assist financial decisions. Free from emotional bias and available around-the-clock – it’s little wonder AI has found a growing fan base in the finance world.
Many of us take internet access for granted, but for billions living in rural and remote areas, connectivity is still a struggle. Project Loon is a Google-led effort to help these lesser-served areas get online. Their solution lies in helium-filled, tennis-court sized balloons, which float on the edge of space. Special software helps these giant, airborne contraptions take advantage of favourable winds, enabling them to float over land for longer, powering internet access on the ground as they go.
We are all glued to our mobiles and laptops, and soon, it seems, we might not even need to carry around physical screens to maintain our unhealthy obsession. Fast-evolving screenless display technology opens the door to a future in which we will be able to project images directly onto thin air. The benefits are wide-ranging, but the removal of space constraints is seen as major game changer, as the size of our devices would notably shrink. Lower battery consumption and improved privacy are further advantages to this new tech, which is expected to gather pace in the next few years.