Robot receptionists, flying warehouses, smart bathrooms are such innovations part of science fiction or part of a possible reality? Technology has been improving at such a rapid pace that, in the not too distant future, our world may very well resemble that portrayed in futuristic films such as Blade Runner. But what technologies will make the difference? Based on the latest advances and current trends, here are 5 innovations that could really help shape the future.
1. Smart homes
Many household items can connect to the Internet and provide data, but most of the smart home technology is not currently as advanced. An intelligent meter allows people to see the amount of energy they are using, while a smart TV simply combines television with Internet access. Similarly, remote door locks, intelligent lighting or intelligent heating controls allow you to program through a mobile device, simply by moving the control point of a wall panel to the palm of your hand.
However, the technology is moving rapidly to a point where it can use the data and connectivity to act on behalf of the user.
For us to notice the change, the technology needs to go further: imagine a washing machine that recognizes what clothes I have put into it and that automatically selects the appropriate washing program, or even informs you that you have put items inside by accident or incompatible with the clothes. These technologies could work for the benefit of all.
2. Virtual secretaries
While secretaries play a crucial role in companies, they often spend much of the day completing trivial tasks that could be automated.
For example, consider organizing a simple business meeting, you have to find the right people to participate and then try to find a time when everyone is free. Tools like Doodle, which compare the availability of people to find the best meeting time, are useful. However, ultimately, they rely on actively involved participants. In other words, these tools only become useful once the right people have already been identified.
Identifying the right people and the right time for a meeting became a problem of technical optimization that was explored ten years ago by the project funded by the European Union Context.
Back then, the technology for gathering context information was much less advanced: smartphones were still rare, and data processing was not what it is today. However, in the next few years, we could start to see the machines doing a lot more when it comes to daily planning in companies.
In fact, the work of virtual assistants can go beyond scheduling meetings and organizing daily tasks that can help project managers assemble the right team and assign the right tasks and so that each job takes out efficiently.
3. Doctors with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
We are living in exciting times, with advances in medicine and AI technology that shape the future of healthcare provision throughout the world. But how would you feel if you received a diagnosis of an AI?
Babylon Health, a private company, is already conducting a test with five London neighborhoods that promote consultations with a chatbot for non-emergency calls. This AI was trained using huge amounts of patient data to advise users to go to a hospital emergency department, visit the pharmacy, or stay home. The company says it will soon be able to develop a system that could potentially overtake doctors and nurses in the development of diagnostics.
In countries where there is a shortage of medical personnel, this could significantly improve the provision of health, allowing doctors to concentrate on providing treatment instead of spending too much time trying to make a diagnosis.
4. Robots carers
Will there be robots that respond to the door in the future? For most of us, it is probably not so useful to have a robot answering the door, but imagine how useful a robotic receptionist can be in places where there is a shortage of staff, for example in nursing homes.
AI-equipped robots, such as voice and face recognition, could interact with visitors to check who is visiting and if they are actually allowed access to the care home. After verifying this, the robots with routing algorithms could guide visitors to the person they are visiting. This could allow staff to spend more quality time with the elderly, improving their standard of living.
5. Flying stores and automatic cars
It can be argued that self-directed cars are one of the most amazing technologies that are currently being developed. Although they can make mistakes, they can actually be safer than human drivers. This is because they can use a wide range of sensors to collect data about the world, including 360-degree views around the vehicle. In addition, they could communicate with each other to avoid traffic jams and accidents.
More than being an asset to the public, automatic driving may become useful for courier companies, saving them costs and making deliveries faster. It is believed that the first fully autonomous car could be available in the next decade.
Advances in this area will probably not stop in auto driving cars. In fact, Amazon has recently filed a patent for flight warehouses that could visit places where the demand for certain products is expected to increase. The flying warehouses would then send autonomous aircraft to make the deliveries