Moneypenny’s Top Tech Predictions of 2020

Friday, 3rd January 2020

Guest blog by Pete Hanlon – CTO at Moneypenny

We are living in an interesting time and technology is playing a more and more crucial role in our everyday lives.  Pete Hanlon, shares his top tech predictions for 2020

#1 Assistant technologies will only get smarter

Over the past few years, we’ve seen mass adoption of speech assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant. However, the promise of the smart assistant hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. They can handle simple requests such as “turn on the lights”, but if you want to have a more involved conversation, they don’t work. Amazon and Google are in a battle to create smarter assistants that can engage us, and I expect to see significant movement in this area towards more of a conversational and interactive experience. I believe some recent breakthroughs in machine learning, such as Google’s BERT and ALBERT language models, are impressive. These models are achieving state-of-the-art results in many of the language benchmarks, and I believe they will help to drive innovation in this space.

#2 The Rise in personal health diagnosis

With the introduction of wearable devices such as the Apple Watch Series 5, we can now permanently wear health monitors such as an ECG. Amazon, Samsung and Google are all extremely keen to monitor health and capture health measurements. With the huge quantity of data being captured and processed, it’s increasingly possible to identify trends that were previously impossible to pinpoint. Over the next 12 months, I see more and more hardware being introduced that monitors health with increasingly accurate diagnoses of health issues.

#3 Autonomous vehicles are a step closer

Elon Musk has claimed that Tesla will have a fully autonomous vehicle by 2020. While the legislation may not be moving as fast as the technology, it feels highly likely that Tesla will have a credible answer to autonomy by the end of 2020 – 2021. For me, this is an amazing feat of engineering and persistence.

#4 Cybersecurity will become intelligent

As cybercriminals become increasingly devious in the ways they attack systems, the preventative measures will need to become more creative. Over the next 12 months, we will see an increasing number of AI-enabled security solutions that can analyse user and system behaviour to identify breaches and proactively block attacks.

#5 Quantum Computing research will continue to break new ground

Quantum computing is an exciting field within technology at the moment. These computers are capable of solving certain classes of problems significantly faster than conventional computers and the potential for this technology is vast. Recently, Google announced in the Nature Journal that they have achieved Quantum Supremacy. This means they have solved a problem on a Quantum Computer that would have taken a state-of-the-art supercomputer years to complete. In the test run by Google they were able to perform a series of calculations that took 200 seconds for the Quantum Computer to complete but would have taken a state-of-the-art supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. Over the next 12 months, I expect to see more innovation in this field and hope that within 5 years this game-changing technology will start to become available to us all.

#6 Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will enter the workplace 

While VR solutions like the Oculus Quest are still, for many, a novelty and AR solutions like Microsoft’s Hololense 2 haven’t made it to the consumer market, we will see increased adoption of these technologies in a business setting to train employees. VR is already being used to help people get over the fear of presenting in front of large crowds by allowing people to present to a virtual audience. AR is being used in medicine and high-end engineering to train employees how to perform complex tasks by walking people through complex procedures. This level of expert system and training is a sweet spot for VR and AR, hopefully this will improve the technologies further as they become more mainstream over the coming years.

Pete Hanlon was previously CTO at Moneysupermarket for six years and CTO at Autotrader for 10 years.