From reusable rockets to genetically engineered cells that fight cancer, 2016 was a huge year for technology. So, what can we expect to see in 2017?
Much of the technology we saw in 2016 will be taking the world by storm this year, and a lot of it revolves around the advances made in artificial intelligence (AI). Because of AI, machines are now adapting to changing conditions like never before.
If you were at all connected to the internet in 2016, you no doubt have seen the rise of self-driving cars. But machine learning is accelerating everywhere. Fridges can now tell us when we’re running low on milk. And thermostats can even create personalized schedules for us based on a few days of activity. We’ve been watching AI tech creep in, but this year you can bet companies will be going all out.
Most importantly, this technology today isn’t just adapting to conditions—it’s adapting to you. AI-equipped machines are only getting smarter and better at learning your habits to better predict your needs and actions.
The Rise of Virtual Assistants
The advances in voice recognition are making new technology much easier to adopt. You no longer need to learn a new interface every time you get a new gizmo. You can just talk to it. Some of the most visible names in the game are Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Amazon Alexa to name a few. With predictive actions, these assistants are more helpful than ever, and they’re only getting smarter this year.
Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana analyze your search and usage history to supply you with content you didn’t even know you wanted and to predict what you’ll need or want to do next. Other companies are adding to virtual assistants’ abilities in order to create the best user experience possible for their customers. For example, Capital One launched a skill for Alexa last year that allows you to manage your accounts by simply asking your Alexa-enabled device. Soon, it’ll even remind you when payments are due or balances are low.
Virtual assistants are also expanding their reach into other technology. Apple’s Siri has made its way into cars with Siri Eyes Free. While cars have had voice recognition systems for a while now, the access to these new virtual assistants will allow you to speak to your car and your phone using natural language rather than from a prescribed list of commands.
The Chatbots Are Coming
Remember chatbots back in the day on AOL Instant Messenger? They would chat back with a certain set of responses based on what you wrote to them, and occasionally, they could search the internet for you. Many of us used them purely for mind-numbing entertainment. Well, with the development of AI and language recognition, they’ve grown up and have minds of their own now. Expect them to be everywhere this year.
Their abilities range from simply being a friendly voice on the interwebs to finding and selling you the perfect set of kicks to take on 2017, all in one spot: Messenger. And, like virtual assistants, many of them don’t just understand commands, but your own natural language. There are already over 34,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger alone, and there are no doubt countless more to come.
This year we will see more and more companies developing chatbots that don’t just help their customers, but are living extensions of their brands. From health care needs to managing your finances, you’ll soon complete many necessary actions in your messenger apps. In fact, we’d even bank on it.