When things work in new ways they also break in new ways. When we invented the ship, we also invented the shipwreck. The same holds true for new technologies – and the stakes are high.Paul Virilio
Innovation in 2023 is at a major pivot point. There are several major technologies about to rise up and push themselves to the forefront of our human lives.
These technological innovations include:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Quantum Computing
- Hyper Connectivity
- Green Technology
These technologies are all disruptive to the way that things get done. They can potentially change our world. If these changes are for the better or not is yet to be determined….
Since late last November when OpenAI introduced ChatGPT to the world, it has sparked a reaction like no other. Almost instantly Microsoft made a $10 billion investment into OpenAI to stake a claim in this exploding AI universe. OpenAI is among the many companies, academic labs, and independent researchers, working to build more advanced chatbots. These systems cannot exactly chat like a human, but they often seem to. They can also retrieve and repackage information with a speed that humans never could. They can be thought of as digital assistants — like Siri or Alexa — that are better at understanding what you are looking for and giving it to you.
ChatGPT is a big deal. The tool seems pretty knowledgeable in areas where there’s good training data for it to learn from. It’s not omniscient or smart enough to replace all humans yet, but it can be creative, and its answers can sound downright authoritative. A few days after its launch, more than a million people were trying out ChatGPT.
And it’s becoming big business. In January, Microsoft pledged to invest billions of dollars into OpenAI. A modified version of the technology behind ChatGPT is now powering Microsoft’s new Bing challenge to Google search and, eventually, it’ll power the company’s effort to build new AI co-pilot smarts in to every part of your digital life. OpenAI has also announced a $20 per month ChatGPT Plus service that responds faster and gets new features sooner.
But be careful, OpenAI warns. ChatGPT has all kinds of potential pitfalls, some easy to spot and some more subtle.
“It’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now,” OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman tweeted. “We have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness.”
What is Quantum Computing? That is a very hard question to answer. Or, at least to answer in a manner so the average person can understand it. For the past 4-5 years, I have struggled to find an explanation that helps me to understand it all. It is still a puzzle to me. So, it is difficult to simply define it for you.
Quantum mechanics is the area of physics that studies the behavior of particles at a microscopic level. At subatomic levels, the equations that describe how particles behave is different from those that describe the macroscopic world around us. Quantum computers take advantage of these behaviors to perform computations in a completely new way. Are you still with me?
Quantum Computing makes use of something called a qubit.
Quantum bits, or qubits, are represented by quantum particles. The manipulation of qubits by control devices is at the core of a quantum computer’s processing power. Qubits in quantum computers are analogous to bits in classical computers. At its core, a classical machine’s processor does all its work by manipulating bits. Similarly, the quantum processor does all its work by processing qubits.
In classical computing, a bit is an electronic signal that is either on or off. The value of the classical bit can thus be one (on) or zero (off). However, because the qubit is based on the laws of quantum mechanics it can be placed in a superposition of states.
A quantum computer works using quantum principles. Quantum principles require a new dictionary of terms to be fully understood, terms that include superposition, entanglement, and decoherence. Let’s understand these principles below.
Superposition states that, much like waves in classical physics, you can add two or more quantum states and the result will be another valid quantum state. Conversely, you can also represent every quantum state as a sum of two or more other distinct states. This superposition of qubits gives quantum computers their inherent parallelism, allowing them to process millions of operations simultaneously.
Quantum entanglement occurs when two systems link so closely that knowledge about one gives you immediate knowledge about the other, no matter how far apart they are. Quantum processors can draw conclusions about one particle by measuring another one. For example, they can determine that if one qubit spins upward, the other will always spin downward, and vice versa. Quantum entanglement allows quantum computers to solve complex problems faster.
When a quantum state is measured, the wave-function collapses and you measure the state as either a zero or a one. In this known or deterministic state, the qubit acts as a classical bit. Entanglement is the ability of qubits to correlate their state with other qubits.
Decoherence is the loss of the quantum state in a qubit. Environmental factors, like radiation, can cause the quantum state of the qubits to collapse. A large engineering challenge in constructing a quantum computer is designing the various features that attempt to delay decoherence of the state, such as building specialty structures that shield the qubits from external fields.
So, does that make any sense yet?
Based on quantum bits that can be zero and one at the same time and instantaneous correlations across the device, a quantum computer acts as a massive parallel device with an exponentially large number of computations taking place at the same time.
So, to say it a very basically, it can calculate answers really fast, it can look at data from different perspective – through different lenses, both simultaneously and in parallel, and it can compare and contrast these different perspectives against each other – in the blink of an eye. Classical computing is very linear, step by step processing. Whereas quantum computing is an array of parallel calculations that are compared and contrasted to derive the best results fast.
Beyond that description, I am still at a loss. But, anything that is better, faster, more accurate, and less costly is a good thing – right?
All of the great innovations need connections. We must sense our world and get inputs to process and then provide outputs and derive new data. Connections are critical. As the overall speed of things gets faster and faster, so must the connectivity. So, a major innovation to impact us all is ‘hyper connectivity’.
Hyper connectivity is the use of many systems and devices so that you are always connected to social networks and other sources of information.
It is not just one thing. It is many things connected, maybe all things.
Hyper connectivity is a trend in computer networking in which all things that can or should communicate through the network will communicate through the network. This encompasses person-to-person, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication.
Imagine seeing the whole world at one glance. It is local, regional, national, and international. It is centralized and distributed harmonized into a hybrid universe. It is a myriad of platforms, so you can see many perspectives at once.
At the beginning of 2022, the key themes from 5 and 10 years ago – 3D integration, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), and ubiquitous needs for more connectivity driving 4G and 5G networks – clearly have exceeded expectations and forecasts from that time. Now, they all coexist and thrive to varying degrees to construct worldviews of information and to make sense of raw data.
In a hyper connected world, millions of sensors per square kilometer will share data. As network speed increases, then the volume of connections can also increase, exponentially. However, with all of these sensor and endpoints generating data, we need to send it someplace to make sense of it all. So, quantum computing and artificial intelligence are needed to tell stories to us from this tsunami of data.
Hyper connectivity is pretty useless unless we can comprehend the meaning that underpins the data.
Green technology, also known as sustainable or clean technology, refers to the development and application of products, services, and processes that have a minimal negative impact on the environment and promote the efficient use of resources. It encompasses a wide range of practices and innovations across various sectors, including energy, transportation, waste management, agriculture, and more.
There are several reasons why green technology is important:
- Environmental Benefits: Green technology aims to reduce the environmental impact of human activities. By promoting renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, it helps to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. It also encourages the conservation of resources, minimizes pollution and waste, and protects ecosystems and biodiversity.
- Mitigating Climate Change: Green technology plays a crucial role in addressing climate change. By transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy sources, it helps to reduce carbon emissions, which are a primary cause of global warming. By adopting energy-efficient technologies, improving energy storage, and developing sustainable transportation systems, we can significantly mitigate the impacts of climate change.
- Economic Advantages: Green technology offers numerous economic benefits. It drives innovation, creates new industries and job opportunities, and contributes to economic growth. Investments in green technologies stimulate research and development, leading to technological advancements that can improve productivity and competitiveness. Additionally, energy-efficient solutions can lower operating costs for businesses and households, saving money in the long run.
- Energy Security: Green technology reduces dependence on fossil fuels, which are finite resources and often sourced from politically unstable regions. By diversifying our energy sources and promoting renewable energy, we can enhance energy security and reduce the vulnerability associated with volatile energy markets.
- Public Health: Green technology has positive implications for public health. Traditional energy sources such as coal and oil contribute to air and water pollution, leading to respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and other health issues. By transitioning to cleaner energy options and reducing pollution, green technology helps to improve air and water quality, creating healthier living environments for communities.
- Sustainable Development: Green technology aligns with the principles of sustainable development, which seek to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. By promoting sustainable practices and resource management, green technology supports long-term social, economic, and environmental well-being.
Green technology is important because it addresses pressing environmental challenges, mitigates climate change, stimulates economic growth, enhances energy security, improves public health, and promotes sustainable development. By embracing and investing in green technologies, we can create a more sustainable and resilient future for ourselves and future generations.
In 2023, several technological trends have continued to evolve and shape our world, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Quantum Computing, Hyperconnectivity, and Green Technology.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has progressed rapidly, driving innovation across various sectors. Its integration into applications such as healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and transportation has become more prevalent. AI-powered systems and algorithms are utilized for data analysis, automation, and decision-making, contributing to improved efficiency. Efforts are also being made to ensure ethical AI practices, focusing on transparency, fairness, and accountability in AI systems.
Quantum Computing has made significant strides, albeit still in its early stages. Quantum computers are becoming more powerful and accessible, and researchers are exploring their potential to solve complex problems beyond classical computers’ capabilities. Quantum algorithms and simulations are being developed to address challenges in cryptography, optimization, drug discovery, and materials science. However, wider adoption of quantum computing remains a few years away, as technical and practical challenges still need to be overcome.
Hyper connectivity, the increasing interconnectedness of people, devices, and systems, continues to expand in 2023. The proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the rise of 5G networks have resulted in greater connectivity. This has brought convenience, efficiency, and new opportunities for communication, automation, and data sharing. However, it has also raised concerns regarding privacy, security, and ethical use of data. Consequently, efforts are being made to establish robust cybersecurity measures, data protection regulations, and ethical frameworks to address these challenges.
Green Technology remains a critical focus area as the world addresses environmental challenges. In 2023, sustainable practices, renewable energy, and resource conservation are increasingly recognized as vital. Governments, businesses, and individuals are adopting green technologies to reduce carbon emissions, promote energy efficiency, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Investments in clean energy sources like solar and wind power, as well as advancements in energy storage and sustainable transportation, are driving the transition towards a greener and more sustainable future.
In conclusion, in 2023, we have witnessed the continued advancement and integration of AI, ongoing progress in Quantum Computing with promising applications, the expansion of Hyperconnectivity through IoT and 5G networks, and a growing global focus on Green Technology to address environmental challenges. These trends continue to shape our technological landscape, influencing various aspects of our lives and contributing to a more connected, intelligent, and sustainable future.
Metz, C. (2022). The New Chatbots Could Change the World. Can You Trust Them? The New York Times. Retrieved on February 12, 2023 from, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/10/technology/ai-chat-bot-chatgpt.html
Shankland, S. (2023). Why the ChatGPT AI Chatbot Is Blowing Everybody’s Mind. CNET, Retrieved on February 12, 2023 from, https://www.cnet.com/tech/computing/why-the-chatgpt-ai-chatbot-is-blowing-everybodys-mind/
Unknown. (2023). What Is Quantum Computing? Amazon Web Services. Retrieved on February 12, 2023 from, https://aws.amazon.com/what-is/quantum-computing/
About the Author:
Michael Martin is the Vice President of Technology with Metercor Inc., a Smart Meter, IoT, and Smart City systems integrator based in Canada. He has more than 40 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies. He is a business and technology consultant. He was a senior executive consultant for 15 years with IBM, where he worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX). Martin served on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has completed over 30 next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, Indigenous Canada awareness, and more.