The Future of Technology

When we wanted to know what the future held, BigSpeak knew the right people to turn to: the people who are changing our future right now. We reached out to our top speakers in the fields of A.I., cyber security, and work for their personal predictions and trends to watch for in 2018 and beyond.

The Future of A.I. and Digital Voice Assistants

Adam Cheyer is a top technology and A.I. speaker, and also the co-founder and engineer behind two successful digital voice assistants: Siri and Viv. Cheyer shared his predictions with us about A.I. and the state of digital voice assistants.

Current state of digital voice assistants

Despite billions of queries flowing every day through automated assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant and Bixby, I believe you’d agree that Assistants are useful today, but not really important. If I took away your web browser or your smartphone, you’d probably feel powerless in today’s world, whereas if I took away your favorite assistant, you might be a little annoyed but it wouldn’t be a major crisis. And certainly no business or industry is significantly impacted by the emergence of these intelligent assistants.  

The next five years in digital voice assistants

Within 5 years, the Assistant as a user interface paradigm will be more important to both industry and to end users than the web or mobile. Why?

Because for end users, it will provide the best experience for getting things done on any device. If I can ask, “Help me plan my trip to my friend’s wedding next month,” and an Assistant can help coordinate all my favorite brands and services to find the best place to stay and eat, the easiest way to get there, the right gift to buy, and the most fun activities to do while I’m there—then this will be a far better experience than trying to achieve this complex task manually using web forms or a myriad of separate apps, where you must repeat the same information over and over.

For businesses, the Assistant will represent a new channel for bringing users to their services, and will enable them to offer these services in new contexts and situations where a web browser and a smartphone don’t work well—for example, when a person is driving, watching TV, jogging with a smartwatch, washing dishes in their kitchen, and so forth. In the same way that the web, phones, and tablets have revolutionized many industries, the Assistant paradigm will do so even more.

How digital voice assistants will grow

Today’s Assistant ecosystems are not there yet. The developer tools are too primitive, the end-user experience is not good enough, and the monetary incentives are not in place to make it worth the effort for businesses to publish their services in this new channel. However, many billions of dollars are being poured into this problem by the technology giants, and these problems will soon be worked through.

A new user interface paradigm comes along every 10 years (PC = 80s, Web = 90s, Apps = 00s) and we are now ten years past the smartphone….It’s time to prepare yourself and your business for the coming technology trend that will dominate computing for the next decade—A.I. as the next U.I.*

*Artificial Intelligence as the new user interface

The Future of Cybersecurity and Cyber Threats

Eric O’Neill is a cybersecurity speaker, national security strategist at Carbon Black and a thought leader on counterintelligence, cybersecurity, and espionage. According to O’Neill, “We have to make sure the bad guys don’t ruin it for us.” O’Neill shared his predictions with us how the future will continue to have increasing ransomware threats but that cyber security defenses will also evolve.

The benefits of connectivity
The future is already an amazing place. An expansive communication network has collapsed a once-massive Earth into smartphones that fit into our pockets. Cloud computing has made all information available wherever our travels take us. We communicate at near the speed of thought, share ideas with only a few keystrokes and manage global business and financial transactions without leaving our living rooms.

In just a few short years we will see self-driving cars, homes connected to smart hubs that allow us to control everything from an app, and augmented reality overlays that update our vision with constant data at every glance. Solar energy and connected robotics will disrupt ancient business models and require a cardinal change in our global workforce. The stroke of a pen over paper will become a luxury reserved for those with the most antiquated of sensibilities.

Ransomware threat will grow

These miracles will come at a cost. As we connect our lives to the Internet, we open ourselves to those that will exploit a shrinking world and dip their blackened fingers into our confidential communications. Ransomware—a type of malicious software that encrypts our files and requires the purchase of a key from the attacker before we can access them—will continue to rise as the #1 cybercrime. The Ransomware criminal industry grew 2,500% from 2015 to 2016 and will triple by 2018. According to the FBI, Ransomware was a $1 billion crime in 2016.
Attackers will find increasingly innovative ways to attack through our many networked and shared connections. Criminals will hold us for ransom. Spies will access our secrets from Russia and China and North Korea’s computers without having to board a plane to make a clandestine meet. Terrorists will seek to disrupt our power and compromise our homes, manufacturing floors and financial markets without lighting a fuse or firing a single shot. We will pay the price for the rapid pace of connectivity. Unless…

Cybersecurity, cloud defenses, and endpoint security

Cybersecurity will grow to meet the demand created by constant cyber breaches.  Security will move from ineffective-network-and-virus security to endpoint security and collaborative cloud defense that places protection closest to humans that can’t help clicking links in malicious emails. Technologies will evolve to isolate and contain information in ways similar to old counterspy tradecraft. The majority of counterintelligence work will be handled by cyber professionals. We will hunt the threats before they hunt us.

Cybersecurity is all too often ignored or postponed because the discipline is archaic and filled with fear. But solutions exist that can already protect individuals and organizations from the majority of attacks, and cyber technology improves daily. The future is already a remarkable place, we just have to ensure the bad guys don’t ruin it for us.

The Future of Work

Mike Walsh is a top innovation and futurist speaker, bestselling author of The Dictionary of Dangerous Ideas, and a thought leader on his blog on mike-walsh.com. According to Walsh, here are three trends we will see more of in 2018 and beyond.

Customization

Data will make companies customized and personal: Companies can leverage personal data to do more for the customer experience. For example, Walsh revealed that one of his favorite brands, Berluti, “might soon allow its customers to follow in real time as their shoes were handmade and personalized for them.”

Discovery

Travel will be more for discovery: Now that we are all interconnected, wireless, etc., the advantage of travel is to have a “direct lived experience.” Direct experience will help companies understand what global trends and innovations are both relevant and translatable in other markets. For example, why a Hello Kitty phone would be a big hit in Japan but not the U.S., or finding an innovative graphic artist in Istanbul that you cannot find on a Google Search.

Collaborative spaces

Offices will be more for collaboration: Remote work used to be the hottest thing in business. Now the trend is about creating collaborative spaces. Architects, such as NBBJ, are using “parametric design” to simulate how a building’s occupants will actually use a space and then optimize it for businesses.

 

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