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Trends driving the next wave of technologies

Trends driving the next wave of technologies
(Image credit: Shutterstock / carlos castilla)

As technology innovation leaders, CTOs and CIOs progress through different stages of digital transformation much earlier than the rest of society. It is becoming imperative for their roles to stay up to date with emerging technologies that will impact their industries and create opportunities their organization can leverage for growth.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies explores the opportunities for organizations in their search for technology-enabled business transformation. This year’s Hype Cycle highlights 30 technology profiles that will significantly change society and business over the next five to 10 years.

Present in each emerging technology are five drivers driving trends that, if harnessed in day-to-day business, will make sure your company is ready to ride the next wave of technology innovation.

Trust in algorithms

As the amount of consumer data increases rapidly, organizations have been exposed for implementing biased AI, sharing customers personal data, and distributing fake news. This has ultimately led to consumer distrust for central authorities within organizations when it comes to privacy issues, resulting in a shift from trusting organizations to trusting algorithms.

Algorithmic trust models ensure the privacy and security of data, provenance of assets, and the identities of people and things. To start rebuilding trust with your customers, employees and partners, organizations should examine the following technologies:

  • Secure access service edge (SASE)
  • Differential privacy
  • Authenticated provenance
  • Bring your own identity (BYOI)
  • Responsible AI
  • Explainable AI

For example, the use of blockchain technology is being applied for “authenticated provenance”, authenticating assets to ensure they’re not fake or counterfeit. Despite this use of blockchain being used for authentication purposes, one pitfall of the emerging technology is it can only track the information that it receives. This becomes problematic if a counterfeit item is added to the blockchain as a genuine version. The blockchain will then continue to verify the product based on bad data. Due to the nature of the immutable ledger, it can never be modified or deleted.

As the adoption of blockchain technology increases, this will in turn create increased digital authentication and verification options.

DNA computing and storage

Moore’s Law for more than 40 years has predicted and guided the IT industry, with predictions that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit would double every two years, however as technology approaches the physical limits of silicon, advanced materials are developing revolutionary opportunities making technologies faster and smaller. For example, critical technologies include:

  • DNA computing and storage
  • Biodegradable sensors
  • Carbon-based transistors

For example, “DNA computing and storage” uses DNA and biochemistry in place of silicon or quantum architectures to perform computation or store data. The data is encoded into synthetic DNA strands for storage and enzymes provide the processing capabilities through chemical reactions. Whilst the technology is currently rudimentary and expensive, as successful prototypes increase, it will become more mainstream.

Dynamic AI systems

Formative AI refers to a set of emerging AI and related technology that can dynamically change to respond to situational variance. The types of formative AI vary and range from AI that can adapt dynamically over time to technologies that can generate novel models to solve specific problems.

For example, the use of generative AI may be known to the general public for negative content as generative AI is a type of AI that can create new novel content such as images and videos or can alter existing content. These new artifacts are slightly different to the original. Responsible for deep fakes content, causing ongoing disinformation and reputational damages, this technology is becoming more sophisticated and will increase over the next 5 years. Despite this, the use of generative AI is also being used for more productive uses including drug discoveries and synthetic data generation.

Modular data structures

Rapid business changes and the move towards decentralization is requiring organizations to shift to more agile responsive architectures. A composite architecture is made up of packaged business capabilities built on a flexible data fabric. This allows the organization to respond to rapidly changing business needs. For example, the modular design of a “composable enterprise” supported by a composite architecture allows for organizations to increase their business resilience, “recomposing” when necessary during economic downturns or during a global pandemic.

The four core principles of the composable enterprise include modularity, efficiency, continuous improvement, and adaptive innovation, and whilst organizations may be implementing these principles in a singular fashion, it’s vital to apply all four across the organization.

Composable enterprises supported by composite architecture creates more innovations, reduces costs and creates better opportunities for partnerships, whilst enabling for agility and “recomposing” when needed.

Connected humans

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major move of certain “Digital Me” technologies including health passports and social distancing technologies. As technology becomes more integrated into our lives it has in turn created opportunities for digital representation of ourselves. For example, digital twins of humans provide models of individuals that can represent people in both the physical and digital space.

Over the next 5 years we will see significant increases in the development of digital me technologies, moving beyond the use of screens and keyboards to a combination of interaction modalities.

These are the five driving trends of the next wave of technologies. Which have you been considering in your digital transformation plans and which are you looking to take advantage of in the next 5 – 10 years?

  • Brian Burke is a Gartner Research VP for Enterprise Architecture and Technology Innovation.