Dave Evans - 10 technologies that will change the world in the next 10 years

Thursday, 6 October 2011

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Virtual humans, both physical (robots) and online avatars will be added to the workforce. "Already, animated characters can recognize speech, convert text to speech, and have knowledge of previous encounters," says Evans.

By 2020, robots will be physically superior to humans. IBM's Blue Brain project, for instance, is a 10-year mission to create a human brain using hardware and software. "They believe that within a decade they'll start to see consciousness emerge with this brain," Evans says.

By 2025, the robot population will surpass the number of humans in the developed world. By 2032, robots will be mentally superior to humans. And by 2035, robots could completely replace humans in the workforce.

Beyond that, we'll see the creation of sophisticated avatars. Evans points to IBM's Watson as a template for the virtual human. Watson was able to answer a question by returning a single, accurate result. A patient may use a virtual machine instead of a WebMD search. Or hospitals can augment patient care with virtual machines.

Between now and then, augmented reality and gesture-based computing will enter our classrooms, medical facilities and communications, and transform them as well. "Already, machine vision enables users to take a picture of a Sudoku puzzle with their smartphone and have it solved almost immediately," he notes.

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