Tag Archives: aerial drones

The Essential Eight technologies that matter now

In Tech breakthroughs megatrend: how to prepare for its impact, PwC has evaluated more than 150 technologies globally and developed a methodology for identifying those which are most pertinent to individual companies and whole industries. The result is a guide to the “Essential Eight” technologies that PwC believes will be the most influential on businesses worldwide in the very near future:

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI): Software algorithms that are capable of performing tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation. AI is an “umbrella” concept that is made up of numerous subfields such as machine learning, which focuses on the development of programs that can teach themselves to learn, understand, reason, plan, and act (i.e., become more “intelligent”) when exposed to new data in the right quantities.
  2. Augmented reality (AR): Addition of information or visuals to the physical world, via a graphics and/or audio overlay, to improve the user experience for a task or a product. This “augmentation” of the real world is achieved via supplemental devices that render and display said information. AR is distinct from Virtual Reality (VR); the latter being designed and used to re-create reality within a confined experience.
  3. Blockchain: Distributed electronic ledger that uses software algorithms to record and confirm transactions with reliability and anonymity. The record of events is shared between many parties and information once entered cannot be altered, as the downstream chain reinforces upstream transactions.
  4. Drones: Air or water-based devices and vehicles, for example Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), that fly or move without an on-board human pilot. Drones can operate autonomously (via on-board computers) on a predefined flight plan or be controlled remotely. (Note: This category is distinct from autonomous land-based vehicles.)
  5. Internet of Things (IoT): Network of objects — devices, vehicles, etc. — embedded with sensors, software, network connectivity, and compute capability, that can collect and exchange data over the Internet. IoT enables devices to be connected and remotely monitored or controlled. The term IoT has come to represent any device that is now “connected” and accessible via a network connection. The Industrial IoT (IIoT) is a subset of IoT and refers to its use in manufacturing and industrial sectors.
  6. Robots: Electro-mechanical machines or virtual agents that automate, augment or assist human activities, autonomously or according to set instructions — often a computer program. (Note: Drones are also robots, but we list them as a separate technology.)
  7. Virtual reality (VR): Computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or a complete environment, within a defined and contained space (unlike AR), that viewers can interact with in realistic ways. VR is intended to be an immersive experience and typically requires equipment, most commonly a helmet/headset.
  8. 3D printing: Additive manufacturing techniques used to create three-dimensional objects based on digital models by layering or “printing” successive layers of materials. 3D printing relies on innovative “inks” including plastic, metal, and more recently, glass and wood.

Visit http://www.pwc.com/techmegatrend to download the paper and read related content.


Responsible wide usage of military technology innovations. Is it possible?

The moment ARPANET was formally decommissioned in 1990 seems to me like yesterday. Most of the students today were not even born at the time but it marked the beginning of what we are all using every day and they cannot imagine their life without – the internet. When I’m thinking of ARPANET, however, I remember it was a military invention since it was initially funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Many of the commercial products today are based on military innovations. Let’s only think of semiconductors or telecommunications if not at automotive and aviation. However, I did start with the internet example for a reason: there is a point where such technologies available on consumer use sometimes lead to being against individual freedom. It’s only a few months since the European Parliament has rejected ACTA, making the controversial trade agreement effectively gone – at least for the moment. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which has been called “more dangerous than SOPA,” at one point had support from many governments around the world, including the U.S., the UK and Japan.

And now let’s look at one of the latest military innovations:

The image above shows an “Insect Spy Drone” already in production. It can be controlled from a  great distance and is equipped with a camera and  microphone. It can land on you and use its needle to  take a DNA sample with the pain of a mosquito bite. Eventually, it can inject a micro RFID tracking device under your  skin. You may even take it home without noticing it or, alternatively, it can fly into your house through a window. Of course, at this point it’s only for military use but once the technology gets cheaper, mass production would not be a problem.

The New York Times mentions that the Pentagon has about 7,000 aerial drones (there may be even more now, this figure was released last year), compared with fewer than 50 a decade ago. On one hand, commercial spying can be taken to worse peaks than we imagined but, on the other hand, the individual freedom and our individual right to privacy may soon become history.

How do you think this particular innovation will change our world?