Four Amazing Tech Trends for 2021

Everyone, it seems, cannot wait to put 2020 behind them. Therefore, as the year comes to a close, let’s start talking about what we can look forward to in 2021. There will be advances to existing technologies and there will be some new developments that will impact how we interact with others and how we get around town.

Autonomous Vehicles

People have been talking about self-driving cars for a while. In the 1960’s they were the subject of science fiction books and movies. More recently, however, autonomous vehicle travel has been advancing as a realistic possibility for getting around town and moving commerce.

Zoox, a new company, just introduced a self-driving taxi vehicle. Big names such as General Motors, Alphabet and subsidiary Waymo, Intel and others are getting in on the trend. In fact, Waymo reports that 94% of accidents are the result of human error. Eliminate human drivers and accidents could decline. Their mission is to make autonomous sensors for other car manufacturers that eliminate the possibility of human error. Companies like Fiat Chrysler and Toyota are current customers of their technology.

Uber is another big name with a strong interest in this technology. The company believes that they can get the cost of individualized transportation down to ten cents per mile by eliminating driver costs. At that rate, it will virtually eliminate the need for individuals to own a vehicle.

While we may not see broad adoption and use of these technologies in 2021 there are some big movements in that direction coming next year. BMW, Ford and General Motors all plan to introduce consumer autonomous vehicles in 2021. While many challenges such as charging stations, local legislation and consumer acceptance still need to be managed, autonomous vehicles will be on the road next year.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, (AI) the ability of computers to learn and perform complex tasks beyond simple calculations, has been rapidly advancing. Advanced AI neural networks, in fact, are the driving forces behind autonomous vehicles. Some other areas where AI is having an impact on our lives include virtual nursing assistants, connected machines, robot assisted surgery, and network security. Using Darwinian theory, research is underway to develop AI programs that can improve themselves by replicating successful algorithms and eliminating less productive ones.

Artificial Intelligence computing is getting faster, smarter and more flexible. New practical applications are being developed at a rapid pace. It is important, however, to understand both the power and the limitations of AI computing. It has the ability to learn, solve problems, interpret speech and think logically. However, AI cannot yet feel emotion, control your mind or take over the world. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of AI will help develop trust in the technology and broaden future utilization.

IoT Adoption and Security

Globally, in 2021 there will be over 21 billion connected devices. Applications for these devices include digital assistants, wearable medical devices, refrigerators, door locks, ovens, games, cars, traffic lights, thermostats, smartphones, GPS devices, power outlets, lights and many more. Name a device and there is likely an internet connected version.

The question consumers should be asking as this trend continues to accelerate, is, “What kind of security is built in to my connected devices?” The answer will be, “Not much.” Smart homes, smart phones, smart devices are convenient but also vulnerable. It is great to check if you left the oven on after you left for vacation. It is comforting to double check that your front door is locked remotely from your smartphone. However, if you can remotely access these