As the year is coming to an end, it’s high time to wrap it up in a short 2017 tech summary.
In a world of software-defined everything, AI, machine learning and smart IoT devices, each breakthrough promises an intelligent future. 2017 already brought many game changers to the market. Some find this exciting, others scary.
Let’s see what 2017 leaves behind!
Top tech breakthroughs of 2017
Mobile apps supporting treatment and online medical diagnosis were one of the biggest trends of 2017 in terms of med-tech. The other was medical screening and the use of deep learning to pre-diagnose illnesses. Synthetic blood, AR mapping of patients’ veins or special mobile stroke treatment units are also proving that technology and medicine are going hand-in-hand towards health improvement.
One of the loudest medical breakthroughs was that scientists successfully used the gene-editing technology called CRISPR. It is the most accessible gene-editing technique so far. And they did it inside the human body for the very first time, amending the genotype of an embryo. The debate about not ‘if’, but ‘when’ and ‘how’ to make use of this tool, just took on new urgency.
VR and AR have been the buzzwords of every year since 2014 or so. However, it is only recently that this technology became commonly accessible. Almost everyone has already had a chance to wear a VR helmet. Despite the still very weak graphics, the effects are stunning. Thus, Virtual and Augmented reality are on the rise. As a result, expect a transformation of the way we interact with our surroundings and a formation of a completely new environment.
Automation is inevitable, and it’s present in almost every area of our lives. With IoT and smart home devices surrounding us, people can now remotely communicate with their fridge or turn off the lights in the living room. Also, it’s already completely normal, that when writing a message to a company, an automated bot will handle the conversation. Not to mention intelligent voice services, like Siri or Alexa, making everyday life even smarter.
In 2017, SpaceX made history by successfully re-launching and re-landing a used Falcon 9 rocket. This is a critical milestone for space travel, significantly closing Elon Musk’s dream of inhabiting Mars and space exploration.
2017 also brought hope to the hearts of those, who count on moving out from Earth. Astronomers found not 1, but 7 planets similar to Earth, circling around TRAPPIST-1 star. They are located almost 40 light years away from the Solar System. NASA deems 3 of them to be habitable.
The year of Bitcoin
Cryptocurrencies are on the rise, despite experts arguing about the future of this concept.
In 2017 Bitcoin has grown so much, it exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic investors. On January 1st, 1 Bitcoin was priced $997 but then launched stratospherically, reaching the record-breaking price, exceeding $17 000 per 1 BTC. Is this a bubble? No one knows. The future of all cryptocurrencies is being written in front of our eyes.
Computer technology is facing a physical barrier, and quantum computers are to be the solution to this problem. A 51-qubit quantum computer was unveiled to the world in Moscow at the 2017 International Conference on Quantum Technologies. It is not a paradigm shifting achievement yet, but it certainly opens a number of new possible applications of the technology. The quantum technology is getting closer!
The concept of self-driving cars is no longer just a far-off idea of a crazy vision. With an increasing number of companies and technologies entering the market step-by-step, people are rather asking not if, but when. The answer is – sooner than you expect. Lately, a start-up building maps for autonomous vehicles was funded $32 million. This only proves that business is serious about this idea.
Blots on the landscape
On the flip side of tech revolution come many threats. Some fear being constantly watched by the ‘big brother’. Some fear that medicine development will enter the path that no longer would be called ethical – with prenatal genetic modifications as an example. Others expect the scenarios of Black Mirror or Minority Report to come true. And some predict the dark future of fake news shaping the digital world. One thing is certain – technology changes lives. Let’s hope only for the better!
2017 tech summary
While some announce 2017 as the year which catapulted us into a science-fiction future, others calm the situation down. Many major breakthroughs are close, but not there yet. For now, it’s not possible to judge whether these changes have a positive or, rather, a negative impact on humanity. One thing is sure – the world as we know it might soon be gone. And we are excited about this!
What is there to come in 2018? We’ll publish a trends summary soon. Stay tuned!