Information technology continues to advance at an ever-increasing rate. 2018 has been a big year for advancements in IT. Here are six advancements that have made 2018 a landmark year.
1. Cloud machine learning
Until recently, artificial intelligence has only been available to tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon. However, this is beginning to change because machine learning technology is now available on the cloud for a much broader audience. The biggest player in cloud AI is Amazon’s AWS, but there are also similar offerings from Google and Microsoft.
Google offers an open-source AI library called TensorFlow for building machine-learning software and Cloud AutoML. Microsoft, with its Azure platform, has teamed up with Amazon to create Gluon, a deep-learning open-source library that can be used to easily create neural nets.
2. Creating images from imagination
Although AI has become very good at recognizing objects and faces, it has been unable to create realistic images from nothing, which humans would accomplish by creating images from imagination. The new approach to this problem involves two neural networks that duel with each other until one network can create an image realistic enough to fool the other.
A neural network is a group of machines that work together in a way that mimics the operation of a human brain. The brain uses billions of neurons like tiny parallel processors. With this type of system, a machine learning network can teach itself through billions of rapid iterations.
For example, a program named AlphaZero recently defeated the world’s most powerful chess program, Stockfish. It trained itself for only four hours by playing against itself without any knowledge of theory or strategy except for the basic rules.
3. Zero-knowledge proof
Thanks to a new IT development, complete internet privacy may soon become a reality. Interest in this technology has recently increased because of the rapid growth of cryptocurrency. A digital currency called Zcash uses a protocol named zk-SNARK, which stands for “zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge.” This protocol could be the first of its kind to offer total anonymity in blockchain interactions.
4. Modeling molecules with quantum computing
The complexity of modeling the behavior of electrons in a molecule is far too enormous for classical computers that use traditional bits for processing. Recently, IBM has succeeded in modeling a 3-atom molecule by utilizing a 7-qubit quantum computing machine. As quantum computing continues to advance, it has the potential to model new chemical compounds and proteins that will have a great impact on medicine and other industries.
5. Smart cities
Google is currently working on a technology that places sensors throughout cities to analyze how all aspects of the town interact. The goal is to create a place that is cleaner, more environmentally sound, more affordable and provide a better lifestyle for city residents.
6. Genetic prediction
By analyzing genetic data, new IT systems based on predictive analytics are making it possible to predict the future for unborn humans by analyzing their DNA. Although this raises some ethical questions, it will provide big leaps in preventing diseases such as cancer, low IQ and many other gene-related defects.
These six IT advancements and others are a sign that many changes are just over the horizon for our lifestyles, business and longevity.