Accenture’s Tech Trends for 2018

The technology landscape is not so much a rolling field as it is an active ocean, constantly shifting and changing shape. Accenture has released its annual forecast of how it expects the technology to progress across the next three years. Their research predicts five trends to prepare for in technology:

  1. Citizen AI
  2. Extended reality
  3. Data veracity
  4. Frictionless business
  5. Internet of Thinking

The Future Is Now-ish

“Citizen” AI refers to the idea that, as AI becomes more interwoven into regular people’s lives, AI must be expected to behave in an ethical way. The report goes so far as to phrase it as “raising” AI to be responsible. In part, this will involve developing a suite of AI systems with specialized skills that are honed through training, and the report discusses several examples of this idea in action.

Next, extended reality is a blanket term for discussing how virtual reality and augmented reality are the first technology to allow people to enter and explore whole new environments, and they are blurring the lines between real and imaginary. This technology makes it possible to tour a house without actually driving to the house. Or even more simply, it can allow geographically separate employees to inhabit the same virtual space together. The implications are enormous, in that the ability to see and learn without actually being somewhere opens the floodgates for new types of information sharing.

Third, the trend of data veracity presents the idea that unverified data is dangerous, because data-driven insights backed by bad data are a recipe for disaster. Bad data also leaves business blind to vulnerabilities. Interestingly, the report suggests that the best way to ensure data veracity is to “incentivize the truth,” and it delves into examples of how businesses are implementing this idea.

On the subject of frictionless business, Accenture offers this introduction:

Companies compete through strategic partnerships, and when these partnerships are technology-based, they can expand partner networks faster and into more ecosystems than ever before. But legacy business systems weren’t built to support this kind of expansion, and soon, outdated systems will be major hindrances to growth. Businesses must adopt microservices architectures, and use blockchain and smart contracts to build a strong foundation for technology-based partnerships. Those that invest in these changes today will redefine how businesses transact in the future.

The final trend is what is referred to as the “Internet of Thinking,” where the Internet of Things, robotics, AI, and immersive reality all converge. Again, the implications here are enormous, and the business applications are myriad. From European railways to brainwave-reading medical devices, Accenture discusses many applications.

This only scratches the surface of all of the report’s insights. For more ideas, you can view the full report here:

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