It has always been said that necessity is the mother or invention – the human pursuit of making day-to-day living easier, more comfortable, and more efficient has forever spurred the continual innovation in areas such as communication, information, and travel. In fact, in this day and age, it is fair to wonder what else we could possibly need, although it is important to note that almost everyone during their existence in history has lived at the height of technological innovation. At present, the face of innovation is largely looking towards artificial intelligence, automation, and better integration as the basis of technologies that may not yet be in the common household, but are progressively pressing towards the forefront of everyday society.
While having existed for decades, artificial intelligence or AI is a phrase that has increasingly been used in the last 2 years, despite many people unbeknownst to its true meaning or effect on our way of life. AI is defined as the ability for devices to perceive its environment and takes actions that maximise its chance of success at a goal. To take it a step further, AI has extended to machine learning i.e. the ability for a machine to learn, and has developed to a stage where intelligent personal assistant devices are readily available such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s AI technology. Together, artificial intelligence and machine learning will change everyday living predominantly through the automation of manual processes.
Automation is the future of the modern world, pushed by AI. One of the most astounding technologies the world has been witnessing over the last few years is the development of the driverless car, which has gone as far as Uber rolling out a fleet of autonomous cars in Pittsburgh and San Francisco last year. Automation in relation to the household seeks to eliminate menial tasks such as constructing shopping lists, watering the garden, and feeding pets. While some of these technologies have existed for a long time, the rise of AI and machine learning will enhance the ability for automation to do amazing things in years to come.
The concept of the ‘Internet of Everything’ brings automation and AI into an integrated state in which a whole life or household can be connected between its devices. Imagine this. Your FitBit has recognised that you have more than reached your fitness goals for the week, and your iPhone has seen that you plan to host on Friday night. This all has been communicated to your smart fridge, which understands it is missing something and communicates this to your Amazon Alexa, which promptly orders a case of your favourite beer to be delivered by Friday. It may seem farfetched but the technology is a reality, albeit unavailable or unaffordable to the common man at this point.
Somewhat separate although still connected to the above technologies is virtual reality. While once upon a time virtual reality was a novelty, it has been developed to a stage where it not only presents itself as a great gift as it was last Christmas season, but a genuine option for marketing and communication. Perceive this as a step further than a skype call, where one day in the future it will be commonplace to talk to a distant loved one as if you were sitting in their living room, all through technology that is available today and continues to develop.
While it is exciting to see where this technology will take our lives in the future, it is just as intriguing to wonder what opportunity such disruptive innovation will bring to the market. While many stocks in such companies exist as speculative and high risk, history says that one of many will one day rise to be the next greatest thing, much like the technology they produce.