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TECH TRENDS: These technologies are set to have a huge impact on citizens, communities, companies, countries. They also pose great challenges. Given these tech trends today, however, we can imagine which way the ship is sailing, and guide us on the journey towards the future. They show us which way to “upskill”, and stay relevant. In terms of jobs opportunities and value creation, here are some of the key "sunrise" industries to watch:
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1. INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT): In the past, the Internet meant sitting in front of a computer. Then computers made their way to mobile phones and video game consoles. Today, we’re heading towards a future where fridges, trucks, cars, planes, homes, utilities are on the internet. Almost everything we use — both indoor and outdoor — will be hooked to the Internet. That’s why knowledge of networks, data communication, and software will be skills that are needed in pretty much every single industry out there: manufacturing, construction, services, utilities, agriculture, etc. They will be in constant search for ways to incorporate into their products or to gain a market edge. IoT will include almost all the things. The tech geeks will be the ones helping us operate our entire environment.
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2. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Google studies our behaviour, Facebook learns our preferences. We ask Siri or Alexa to find new places to eat, and hit online shopping sites like Amazon, Alibaba to guide us through their digital marketplace. As machines begin to acquire a knowledge of their own, they’ve taken huge leaps towards developing a near-human consciousness. Today, we’re in the cusp of an new era of AI-enabled self-driving vehicles, read articles/listen to music created by humanoids. The field of artificial intelligence will become one of the most vibrant arenas for endless experimentation. Also as everything becomes connected, through IOT, and as more and more data-related behaviour will be collected, machines will have infinitely more material to learn from. AI is not a field that’s exclusive to the computer scientists. We’re talking about creating brains like ours and potentially ones that will even be way more powerful than ours. They will live with, talk to and affect us. That makes a field of interest for computer scientists as well as for psychologists, philosophers, politicians, managers. There will be people to create it, others will observe it, and ones who will decide how we will live with.
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3. CYBER SECURITY: As more industries become increasingly dependent on computers, that comes with a greater vulnerability to cyber attacks. Hackers are already able to access bank accounts, steal classified information, freeze entire companies or utilities, and get their hands on personal information. Without proper cyber security system, they will soon have the potential to get access to everything connected to the Internet. That would mean our home, our cars and medical equipment in hospitals. That’s why cyber security industry is the forefront of security in the future. As more things are connected to the Internet, cyber security will grow all the more important part of our daily lives. This industry is our main safeguard against humanity’s future dream turning into real nightmare.
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4. GENOMICS: There’s a “biorevolution” that’s already upon us, thanks to advances in genome sequencing and bio-engineering. The pace of development in this field is accelerating alongside rapid advances in computing, automation, and AI. A confluence of these factors is fuelling a new wave of innovation. In 2003, the human genome project was completed. The project actually began in 1990. The project cost: $3 billion. The industry has seen evolve — and very fast. The biggest game changer: cost reduction. Today, sequencing a human genome can cost about $1,000 or less. This bio-revolution could have a huge impact on economies and our lives, from health and agriculture to consumer goods, energy and materials. Genomics is at its highest level of vigour with tech billionaires jumping on its bandwagon, pouring billions into the project. This biorevolution is facilitating our understanding of the human body, its components and our ability to cure and nurture it. It promises a way out of cancers, diabetes and blood related disorders. The genomics industry is estimated to grow from $27.81 billion in 2021 to $94.65 billion in 2028, or an annual growth rate of 19.4%, according to Fortune Business Insights.
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5. DRONES: Drone technology is now becoming more and more affordable, mirroring what happened in genomics. Gone are the days when drones were novelty items and which most of us associated with war and bomb dropping. Today, drones have become central to everyday non-military tasks, like entertainment, advertising, photography, journalism, and logistics. The future is going to be full of drones and they will be used in everything from agriculture, to delivering aid for emergency victims of heart attacks. As drones keep on getting some intelligence of their own, it won’t be long before a lot of different agencies will be using them. In 2021, Tanay Jagannathan, a Grade 8 Dubai student designed a drone he says will absorb CO2 from the air, and in turn help fight global warming. There is literally literally no limit to potential drone applications.
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6. ADVANCED ROBOTICS: Now we have Sofia, the Saudi Arabian humanoid that was the first robot to acquire a national citizenship. There are robots that are entertaining seniors in retirement homes in Japan. Very soon, we’ll be having robots as our friends and co-workers, and in-house assistants. We now have “robot relationship researchers” to decide what set of rules will shape our interaction with robots. Robots will perform the most repetitive and dangerous task in factories of the future. We’re already seeing some of that today. Advanced robotics combine sophisticated programming and powerful hardware that make use of smart sensor technology (including ultrasonic, touch, and light sensors) to interact with the real world around it. Advanced robotics are making an impact on manufacturing. The most important examples today are industrial robots (such as articulated robots and selective compliance assembly robot arms), collaborative robots, and automated guided vehicles used in logistics operations. Examples include the robot dog Aibo, the Roomba vacuum, robot assistants, and a growing variety of robotic toys and kits. In disaster response some robots perform dangerous jobs like searching for survivors in the aftermath of an emergency. Shar
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7. VIRTUAL/AUGMENTED/EXTENDED REALITY: It key benefit is being able to simulate certain situations without the costs and risks of the experience in real life. This opens up a gold mine of potential applications that we cannot even imagine at the moment. VR technology is already being used in military forces to train soldiers, people who are taking driving licence tests, and medical schools to train students. Companies are already using VR/AR/ER to train their staff and engineers in field operations. That’s just the tip of a massive iceberg.
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8. NANO TECHNOLOGY: There are numerous ways in which we as a species have our hopes hanging on advancements in the field of nanotechnology. There is extensive research in the field with applications ranging from medicine to Agriculture. The possibilities are being studied regarding how we can use nano technology to speed up bone cell growth, detect cancer cells, create self cleaning surfaces, and implement healthier and more efficient irrigation methods. All of that potential says the future of nanotechnology is pointed only in one direction: endless advancements.
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9. RENEWABLE ENERGY: For several years, a growing number of people are getting into a growing state of existential panic because of climate change taking place as a result of over two centuries-long use of fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. With more people coming to realise the threat, more companies, individuals and countries are taking steps towards developing renewable sources of energy. IoT enables this industry by facilitating private power supply networks. According to data published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewables are set to account for almost 95% of the jump in global power capacity through 2026, with solar PV alone providing more than half. The amount of renewable capacity added between 2021 to 2026 is expected to be 50% higher than from 2015 to 2020. Another estimate states that renewable energy will fulfil almost 100% of power supply to run the world’s economy by 2050.
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10. SHARING ECONOMY: It’s a bit like when you share your Wi-Fi or Netflix account with a neighbour, share a restaurant bill among friends — or share your flat with a stranger via a AirBnB. We’re coming to realise that it’s often cost-effective and more efficient to rent whatever we can, and give up on owning. We’ve been increasingly doing it with car rides or apartment units as more people are using sharing apps like Uber, Careem, Lyft, Grab. How about sharing your expertise online (to teach coding to kids) and getting paid per hour? We're moving towards a world where we will barely own stuff anymore. Thanks to the sharing economy, and the ubiquitous internet, there’s an emerging peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, apartment/house renting and couchsurfing, ride/carsharing; co-working; reselling and trading; knowledge and talent-sharing, and niche services. Brookings estimates that the sharing economy will grow from $14 billion in 2014 to $335 billion by 2025.
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