The future is here. What information technology will change our lives tomorrow?

Prosthetic arm on blue background

What we are about to tell you now, ten years ago, could only meet in fantastic films, and even if the writers had a developed imagination. But the future is near, so most of these information technologies are not that close – they are already changing our lives. Choose which of them you like.

Everybody wants to look into the future and find out what awaits us in years to come (type in the number yourself). It is true that progress is now faster than Usain Bolt in a Formula 1 car, so to look beyond the next decade is a thankless thing.

Close up photo macbook pro

But what information technology will help us live better and more fun in the next couple of years – it is already more interesting. Especially since they have already been told about them by experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who presented an annual list of technological advances that have already affected our lives. The list is fresh, 2018. True, there are some sketches from Jules Verne with Isaac Azimov inside: the fighting neural networks, artificial intelligence in cloud services, feeling the city. We decided to land a little bit the list of information technologies of the future, making it a little clearer, and tell you about something that will change your and our lives very soon.

Sync and corrections by honeybunny

It was about time! We imagine, somewhere now crying numerous English teachers at home, promising to join you to the famous London aristocrats’ talk for only 99 rubles per hour! Although, the idea has long been on the surface, and it was just necessary to slightly improve the existing online voice translators.

Why is it important? Despite the fact that people are increasingly traveling and learning foreign languages, it is the language barrier (thanks, the builders of the Tower of Babel!) that remains the key problem on the way to the friendship of nations. More recently Google has invented special headphones Pixel Buds, which cost about 150-200 dollars. They work only on Pixel smartphones with Google Translate installed, which allows almost immediately translate what you hear. One person should be wearing headphones and the other should be talking on the phone. The scheme is simple. The one wearing headphones speaks his own language (as long as it is English by default), and the application translates the speech, sends the result to the phone. When you answer, the smartphone translates it into headphones. While the application is very raw, confusing accents, distracted by noise and works only for English-speaking people on Earth, but the fact remains that after a while we will stop learning the phrase “Landan of Ve Capital of Britain”.

Face as password

Why? The scanner reads an image of your face and accepts payment, orders a service or issues the necessary documents. A person is not a passport or ID card, you will not lose it or break it (though Botox and not like this).

Already now in a number of shops, restaurants or government agencies in China, you can get a service just by scanning the face, write local media. For Europeans, it sounds funny (Chinese faces are different!), but in the Celestial Empire, tied to themselves, loved ones, bank account and personal information. He came up, looked strictly, paid for the purchase. Considering the potential of these technologies to ensure public safety, we think that they will find their application in all developed countries. Truth is, it’s not clear what to do with the aging process.

Smart City

We once wrote about smart stuff and smart home. They’re just flowers. Even the cities are smarter now. No, the square won’t do math for you, and the lamppost will write your candidate’s thesis. It’s just that it’s like the city will tell you what the people want.

The integration of digital technology and space planning can lead to a fundamentally new way of life in the cities of the future. Sensors and sensors that will flood cities will monitor pollution levels, noise levels and traffic density in real time and shift some of the troubleshooting tasks to automated programs and robots that will be able to take the necessary regulatory measures at such a speed that residents will never again have to stand in traffic or write a complaint about noise near a residential area.

And this is a close reality. Alphab’s Sidewalk Labs will do it all in the suburbs of Toronto. The project plan talks about automated vehicles and robots working in the subway. In addition, the company will place the software in the public domain so that developers can create and implement their services.

I wish we had sensors like that that would tell us about the level of dirt on the roads, or suddenly the authorities don’t guess…

Neural networks with imagination

Artificial intelligence is very good at objects. Show a million pictures and it will determine with extraordinary precision where a pedestrian crossing a road and where a dog is. It’s another thing that the AI can’t create itself. A graduate student at the University of Montreal, Ian Goodfellow, has proposed a solution to this problem. He described a method called the Generative Competitive Network, or GAN. The algorithm is based on the interaction of two neural networks, a generator and a discriminator. Experts already compare this eternal struggle with confrontation of left and right hemispheres of human brain.

At first, neural networks are trained on identical data. But then the generator adds some new feature to the already familiar image: for example, such element can be the third leg of a person. Assignment of the discriminator to understand if she has seen a similar image before or if it is a fake. The closer to the original, the less likely the criticizing neural network is.

As a result, by adding minor details, leaving the overall picture unified, the generator has learned to fake images so well and so quickly that the discriminator could not distinguish them from the authentic ones. It turns out, in the end, that the neural network organizes and creates something realistic and new. Experts are most proud of the paintings created by Van Gogh, which the Dutchman has never painted, but which have all the features of the great artist.

GAN is rightly considered a technological breakthrough. Some experts believe that with this algorithm, artificial intelligence will learn to better understand the world around them. Is Skynet close?

Supermarkets without cashiers…

In spring 2017 the world’s first supermarket without cash registers, cashiers and cash was opened. Amazon Go, in the center of Seattle, is like any other supermarket, only in it the word self-service has acquired full meaning. You need to install a special app on your phone and tie a bank card to it. And then there’s magic. You take what you need, you just walk out of the store through turnstiles. You don’t need to take out your credit card – the funds are automatically deducted from your Amazon account at the exit.

Thanks to product and camera sensors everywhere, every time customers pick up a product from the shelf it’s automatically added to their Amazon online shopping cart and removed if the customer has returned it. The only employee for the entire store is the person who checks the passport of the liquor shoppers.

Within a year, the idea has healed up and stores of this format have already started using it in Europe (Sweden in particular) and even in Moscow. “What about…”, you ask. They don’t steal.

Artificial intelligence for everyone

AI is an expensive toy used by the world’s giants. But it seems that everyone who can improve it and use it can now access it. Why would they want to do that? To make money! Here’s what the experts write: “Until now, AWS, a subsidiary of Amazon, has dominated this area. Google did not stand aside and developed TensorFlow, an open source AI library. It is used to develop programs with machine learning. The search giant recently announced Cloud AutoML. It’s a set of systems that will make AI easier to use.”

Today, the artificial intelligence system helps to create new products and services in the technical field, but it is less involved, for example, in medicine and energy. With the involvement of market leaders, this problem will be solved. And users will get new solutions.

Look at all the interesting things! And this is just the beginning, because MIT is preparing a selection for 2019…