Top five tech trends

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  • Wednesday, 15 Jan 2020

AS Malaysia gears towards IR4.0, companies have been vamping up efforts to upgrade their technology in a race to remain relevant in the competitive market.

That said, technology is fast evolving, meaning that businesses must stay ahead of the game by keeping up with the latest innovations in the market.

According to Alibaba Group’s global research initiative Alibaba Damo Academy, there is a host of new technologies that will lead the trends for the industry in 2020.

From the emergence of cognitive intelligence, in-memory-computing, fault-tolerant quantum computing and new materials-based semiconductor devices to faster growth of industrial Internet of things (IoT), large-scale collaboration between machines, production-grade blockchain applications, modular chip design and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to protect data privacy, more technology advancements and breakthroughs are expected to gain momentum and impact our daily lives.

“We are at the era of rapid technology development. In particular, technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain and data intelligence are expected to accelerate the pace of the digital economy,” said Alibaba Damo Academy head and Alibaba Cloud Intelligence president Jeff Zhang.

“In addition to exploring the unknown through scientific and technological research, we are also working with industry players to foster the applications of innovation in different industries, making technologies more accessible for businesses and society at large.”

These are the highlights from the academy’s predicted top five trends in the tech community this year.

Artificial intelligence evolves from perceptual to cognitive intelligence

Artificial intelligence has reached or surpassed humans in the areas of perceptual intelligence such as speech to text, natural language processing, video understanding and more. But in the field of cognitive intelligence, it requires external knowledge, logical reasoning or domain migration, which is still in its infancy.

Cognitive intelligence will draw inspiration from cognitive psychology, brain science and human social history, combined with techniques such as cross domain knowledge graph, causality inference and continuous learning to establish effective mechanisms for stable acquisition and expression of knowledge. These help machines to understand and utilise knowledge, achieving key breakthroughs from perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence.

In-Memory-Computing addresses the “memory wall” challenges in AI computing

In Von Neumann architecture, the memory and processor are separate and the computation requires data to be moved back and forth. With the rapid development of data-driven AI algorithms in recent years, it has come to a point where the hardware becomes the bottleneck in the exploration of more advanced algorithms.

In Processing-in-Memory (PIM) architecture, in contrast to the Von Neumann architecture, the memory and processor are fused together and computations are performed where data is stored with minimal data movement. As such, computation parallelism and power efficiency can be significantly improved. It is believed that the innovations on PIM architecture could be the ticket to next-generation AI.

Industrial IoT powers digital transformations

In 2020, 5G network, rapid development of IoT devices, cloud computing and edge computing will accelerate the fusion of the information, communication and industrial control systems. Through advanced industrial IoT, manufacturing companies can achieve machine automation, in-factory logistics and production scheduling, as a way to realise consumer-to-business (C2B) smart manufacturing.

In addition, the interconnected industrial system can adjust and coordinate the production capability of both upstream and downstream vendors. Ultimately, it will significantly increase the manufacturers’ productivity and profitability. For manufacturers with goods production worth hundreds of trillion Chinese RMB, it means additional trillions of RMB to revenue if productivity increases 5% to 10%.

Growing adoption of AI technologies that protect data privacy

The compliance costs demanded by the recent data protection laws and regulations related to data transfer are getting increasingly higher than ever before. In light of this, there have been growing interests in using AI technologies to protect data privacy.

It is to enable the data user to compute function over input data from different data providers while keeping the data private. Such AI technologies promise to solve the problems of data silos and lack of trust in today’s data sharing practices and will truly unleash the value of data in the foreseeable future.

Cloud becomes the centre of IT technology innovation

With the ongoing development of cloud computing technology, the cloud has grown far beyond the scope of IT infrastructure and gradually evolved into the centre of all IT technology innovations.

The cloud has a close relationship with almost all IT technologies, including new chips, new databases, self-driving adaptive networks, big data, AI, IoT, blockchain, quantum computing and so forth.

Meanwhile, this creates new technologies, such as serverless computing, cloud-native software architecture, software-hardware integrated design, as well as intelligent automated operation. Cloud computing is redefining every aspect of IT, making new IT technologies more accessible to the public, as it becomes the backbone of the entire digital economy.

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