But don’t just take our word for it - we asked academic and industry experts for their predictions on what will be hot in the digital future.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence
Dr Larisa Soldatova, Reader in Data Science, Goldsmiths, University of London: “Artificial intelligence will continue to have a profound effect on every industry. Many jobs are disappearing and others are substantially changing as more and more of what humans do can be automated. From driving cars and drawing up legal contracts to conducting medical operations and diagnosing patients. It will also radically alter how business is done as we harness the power of artificial brains to process the unbelievable amount of data that is now generated.”
Dr Jamie Ward, Lecturer in Machine Learning, Goldsmiths, University of London: “Alexa, Google home and other AI bots are sitting in people’s living rooms all over the world and we’re already seeing this technology being used in wearables, like Apple watch, Google glass, and smart in-ear headphones. There’s many more to follow.”
Matt Hardman, Freelance Web Developer: “I’ve noticed over the last year that machine learning and artificial intelligence is becoming much more accessible. You don’t have to be a machine learning expert yourself to make use of it – you can use the algorithms that other people have created and integrate it into the web applications you build. That’s a trend that will only continue.”
Rob O’Brien, Senior Technical Manager, International and Labels at ITV Studios: “I think we will see automation for a lot of post-production work, for example the use of AI for editing and machine learning for transcription. Tech won’t take over roles though, it will just help people work in different ways. With the rise of cloud technology and connectivity we’ll be able to have a more global working environment with shows filmed in one country and edited in another.”
Melissa Dean, Programme Director at The AA: “Data and the use of data are key trends and there will be a surge in demand for data scientists who can harness it. We’re also learning to question how future proof any technology is. Everything has to be designed in a modular form so that it can be quickly and easily reconfigured to adapt to changes in industry.”
Web and Mobile Development
Phil Peters, Senior Software Engineer, Ordnance Survey: “Cloud technologies are having a big impact on business – organisations want to deploy their solutions faster to deliver value to customers quickly. This migration to cloud technology means companies need to build Cloud Enablement teams of engineers with skills in OOP and scripting languages. It’s also helping to encourage a solid DevOps culture to support easy, consistent and rapid software delivery.”
Kayleigh Oliver, QA and Release Manager at Immerse and Founder/Director of Junction5 Studios: “While we’re seeing virtual reality being used extremely successfully in enterprise companies, the education sector and in the games and entertainment space, we’re yet to see it really break into the mainstream. There are a number of issues that might explain why individual consumers aren’t taking the plunge – from it being too expensive and elaborate to set up, to users not liking being tethered to a machine. I think with the release of lightweight and easy to set-up hardware like Oculus Quest we will see more of a surge in mainstream use of VR, perhaps particularly in the run up to Christmas.”
Mike Allender, Founder, Dinomyte Games: “There seem to be a few ‘gaming’ trends emerging from unexpected places such as Snapchat and messenger apps. Solve & HQ Trivia have proven that there is a market for community driven, shared experiences that cross over into the real world. It’s exciting to see what happens next in that space. Augmented reality is becoming more and more popular and with smart phones it is accessible and intuitive. The Google AR kit allows developers to make content for it without too much hassle and there are interesting projects coming soon such as Minecraft Earth. I also predict mobile gaming will continue to grow – perhaps not in terms of global adoption as there’s already mass coverage but in terms of tech improvements and cheaper handsets. We'll see new mobile gaming genres developing and potentially more traditional core games finding their feet in a mobile format.”
Tobias Cieslik, Director, Xult Group recruitment: “I’m seeing big trends in augmented reality, virtual reality, AI and machine learning and consumer electronics – they’re becoming hot topics as the technology develops. Autonomous or “driverless” vehicles are developing year on year and I think we’ll see that continue to spread to other industries. Then there’s areas like Fintech and the disrupter banks, which are showing no signs of slowing. That’s the thing with tech, everyone is always looking for the next big thing and you have to be able to adapt to changing environments, new programmes, new languages, new technology.”
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