2022 has been an interesting year. The trends we’ve experienced over the last 12 months say a lot about the times we live in when it comes to technology. Contactless service, for example, has changed the way we do business. We’ve witnessed unprecedented growth in fun online games, home robots are already in mass production, and privacy has become a hot topic social issue.
To keep track of all the surprising changes that have happened in the past year, we’ve put together a list of the seven most significant tech trends of 2022.
Facebook has had a rather tumultuous year. After a damning exposé by the Wall Street Journal, the tech giant hasn’t been doing too well in terms of public image. The latest blow to their PR comes from whistleblower Frances Haugen, an ex-employee who leaked thousands of pages of internal documents.
The confidential documents reveal that, aside from allowing misinformation to propagate, Facebook has apparently seen fit to manipulate its users as and when they please, regardless of whether that manipulation is detrimental to user health.
In an effort to combat the spread of misinformation, many Facebook users are now migrating to a combination of other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Tik-Tok. YouTube now has regular moderation for controversial content. Google recently implemented a ‘context generator’ for search results. Overall, web users have gained increased awareness of misinformation and are a lot more cautious when browsing any form of social media.
AI is beginning to reach levels of intelligence incomprehensible to the human mind. Machine learning and AI-generated content can produce a standard of work indistinguishable from our own. Sophisticated AI such as Google’s DeepMind and OpenAI’s Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT3) continue to advance in exponential growth and potential.
Quantum computing is one of the latest breakthroughs in AI technology. A quantum machine knows the answer to everything. Not just the right answer, every possible answer. Say you flip a coin; it will either land on heads or tails, but would you be able to guess the right result? Quantum computers will be able to know every result in the past, present, and future. Seeing is believing, but the implications of this type of technology are groundbreaking, to say the least.
The Fight for Privacy
Digital surveillance is an Orwellian nightmare come true. Over the past year, there have been countless stories about whistleblowers, online safety, and privacy violations. We’ve since learned that almost nothing we do digitally is completely private.
Many governments around the world monitor their citizens with extensive surveillance. Companies harvest user data for profit, regardless of whether or not it’s in their clients’ best interests. The aforementioned struggle against misinformation has become a constant worry for web users to the point where, without encryption software or routing protection, Internet users already accept the fact that every letter typed is trawled, tracked, and manipulated.
Privacy software is now a must for many online activities. VPN services help us counter the ever-growing list of cookies and accounts we use. No matter where you look, the age of complete digital freedom is coming to a close. Or rather, it’s been gone for quite a while. We’re only just beginning to realise how truly vulnerable we are online.
Gaming’s Biggest Year
Online gaming has been the biggest entertainment industry for a while now. However, no one could foresee such a dramatic increase in users over the last year. From remote work to self-isolation, more time spent at home has led to massive profit for the gaming industry and virtual escapism on a mass scale like never before.
Mobile gaming is now the most dominant form of entertainment, more ubiquitous than any home console. Smartphones and devices like the iPad and the Nintendo Switch are powerful enough to run the latest video games. The top five most popular mobile games have all been downloaded more than a billion times each, with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) topping the list at 1 million concurrent players.
Unfortunately, the enforced implementation of remote work left a lot of companies treading thin ice. However, on the bright side, decentralised office work led to surprising gains in efficiency and operational expenses, and cloud services such as Google and Dropbox have made it a lot easier to work from home.
Streaming platforms have had a good year. Apps like Zoom and Skype have seen unprecedented growth. Due to its group-friendly design, Zoom, in particular, has grown from relative obscurity to ubiquitous use in an astonishing amount of time. Classrooms and boardrooms continue to remain vacant as the benefits of remote technologies impact our need for communication.
From manufacturing ability to market stability, localised production chains are revolutionising modern industry. Thanks to advances in numerous areas of technology, countries are using centralisation-based business strategies to great effect around the globe.
The ability to respond to crises has been a key feature in the drive for self-reliant production. Global supply lines have become less reliable to the point where local supply is a transformation worthy of implementation in key industries. Technology has assisted this process in numerous ways, such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) logistics management, sustainable energy solutions, and digital fabrication processes.
When it comes to supply chains, ICT systems can save on time and cost without sacrificing quality. Renewable energy is a worthy investment for long-term stability, and digital fabrication technologies make the entire manufacturing process an automated, virtual process.
Zero-touch technology is critical to the health and safety of any population, in particular those of us who reside in dense urban areas. Economic stability and growth is now largely dependent on contactless communication, virtual payments, and E-commerce.
From public transport to food delivery, touchless convenience is a necessity for many forms of service delivery. For instance, the oldest underground railway in the world, The London Underground, has had contactless payments for years now. We use smartphones for almost every facet of daily life these days, and the safety and convenience are hard to beat.
Although a smartphone wouldn’t classify as a basic need, it does provide access to ‘need’ gratification. If you think about it, it’s rather amazing what you can do from the comfort of your couch. You can order food, chat with a distant relative, book a trip, or follow an exercise routine, all without leaving the house. You can even monitor your health, send a query to your doctor, and get feedback in a matter of hours.