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Emerging Technologies

It is impossible to predict the future but there is no doubt that the way we use ICT systems will change
considerably over the next ten years.
Emerging technologies are those developments in technology that are likely to shape the future. Emerging
technologies include nanotechnology, robotics, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and cognitive science.
These will all be looked at along with other technologies that do not fall into this list.
Famous quotes from people as to the future of computers
Trying to predict the future of ICT is very difficult and here are some interesting quotations from people in
posts of responsibility at the start of the development of computers who got it seriously wrong!
Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons
Popular Mechanics, 1949
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you
that data processing is a fad and wont last out the year.
The editor in charge of business books for publishers Prentice-Hall 1957
There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home
Ken Olsen, president, chairman and founder of DEC
Mobile working
Many workers now work more flexibly and this includes working while on the move (on planes, trains) or
while waiting in cafes, bars, airport lounges etc.
The way business is done has changed over the last few years with more people working from remote
locations using mobile device such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. Business has changed in the
following ways:

Business can be done anywhere, anytime


It is much easier to do business internationally businesses need to cope with the different time
zones
Workers have more flexibility and can be more productive
Customers expect services to be available 24/7
There is improved communication between colleagues, customers and suppliers

Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is a scientific technology which is still in its infancy and is set to transform our lives like
electricity or the internal combustion engine. New materials can be invented where standard sized particles
can be reduced to sizes as small as a nanometre. A nanometre is about one-hundred-thousandths the
thickness of a human hair. At these sizes materials start to exhibit strange properties. For example gold
melts at room temperature and carbon is 100 times stronger than steel.

Nanotechnology will have the following uses in ICT:

Personal computers with the power of todays computer centres


Chips containing films with over 1000 viewing hours
Miniaturised data storage systems with capacities equivalent to a whole libraries stock
Flexible display technologies and e-paper
Printable electronic circuits

Did you know?


Inside many computers including the Apple iMac is an Intel chip containing transistors which are so small
that 100 of them would fit in a single human cell.

Cognitive science
Cognitive science is the study of the mind and it concerns how knowledge is obtained and used. Cognitive
science embraces philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology.
By understanding how the mind works scientists can buld computers which behave in a similar way.

Robotics
Robots have been widely used in manufacturing for years especially for painting and welding in car factories.
Robots are also used for picking and packing goods in large warehouses.
Robots have been developed for use on farms and these robots can perform a variety of farm tasks such as
planting, weeding in-between crops, spraying crops and picking the crops.
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is technology based on biology. Biotechnology seeks to turn aspects of biology such as
genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology and cell biology into useful forms of ICT or robotics.

Problems and abuses of new technology


The people who create new technologies are often more influenced by the commercial benefits than to worry
about any social problems that could be caused. Many of these problems and abuses could not have been
envisaged at the time. For example at the time of the development of the first computers people did not
envisage others creating viruses.
Here are some recent problems caused by new technology

Violent videos being posted on social networking sites.


People doing very dangerous things such as a workman being swung around in a digger or people
running across a motorway.
Use of encryption techniques allowing terrorists or criminals to have conversations which can be
kept secret from the police and security forces.
Illegal sharing of copyright material such as software, films and music.
The ease by which people can sell stolen goods on Internet auction sites.

Problems with addictions people may become addicted to chat rooms, social networking sites,
pornography, gambling, playing of computer games etc.
Irresponsible internet sites promoting terrorism, drug taking etc.
Loss in privacy everywhere you go you are videoed by CCTV cameras and your internet access
can be monitored.
Risk of identity theft.
Encourages a throw-away society mobile phones and computers become obsolete after a short
period of time.