My Wishlist for 2015
The year 2014 has ended with several developments in the sharing economy, sustainability economy and the data economy. Last week I posted an article about the progress made in 2014 on all three fronts.This year will see many of these firms become publicly traded entities.
Given below is my wishlist for progress this year:
1. Applications in Deep Learning – i.e. Artifical Intelligence combined with Predictive Analytics.
a)Natural Language and Speech Processing combined with the power of big data analytics create possibilities in a many fields.
Though deep learning has been around for at least 50 years – the availability of computing power and advanced software analytic tools in today’s age has made business applications viable. Several applications of this field include autonomic computing, self healing systems, information search and retrieval, robotics, drug discovery, disease prediction and manufacturing.
b) Machine Intelligence – Business Intelligence could aid human intelligence by enabling real time decision making, reducing wastage and optimizing business processes. Imagine speaking into your predictive system and asking it to predict demand conditions at a particular location in the future OR predicting molecular structure for a medicine that could help cure a particular disease. Deep learning could accelerate innovation across industries and has seen extensive development in university labs. Imagine, using 1 billion parameters on inexpensive GPU harware to create a system, created by Andrew NG’s group at Stanford or to make robots learn and mimic human behavior based on changing environmental conditions as shown in this demo at Georgia Tech. It is time for the industry to adopt the same.
c) The full power of AI + big data analytics will be realized once the internet of things in which devices communicate with other devices become very common. The internet of things creates large volumes of data.It is possible that such large volumes of data are stored and processed using extremely powerful computing systems in real time.
Such processing could lead to variety of insights, affecting all facets of human life – for example driving autonomous vehicles, remote surgical systems used in tele-medicine.
2. Human Transportation
a) Personal transportation despite the ever increasing advances in avionics, space and fuel technologies has remained two-dimensional for over a 1000 years now, except for the aeroplane. I hope that this year will mark the beginning of three dimensional personal transportation, which is technically feasible. It has to be seen whether this is economically feasible. This should significantly ease traffic woes and problems of pollution and overuse of fossil fuel.
Similarly, jetpack technology is about to get its largest push this year when Martin Jetpack goes public. Affordable Mass transportation, is potentially going to see significant prototyping in the form of high speed mass transit systems due to the efforts of Hyperloop Transportation Inc.
3. Sustainable living (and business):
- Zero Waste Living – Any consumerist society is waste-producing society. Harmful toxins are commonplace is such societies and chemicals in the form of preservatives, fertilizers and plastics cause much harm to the average health of the individual. Harmful industrial byproducts are released into the natural habitat also. The true impact of some of these are not fully known or researched, but known effects include cancer and various incurable diseases. Strides are being made to consciously shift toward this form of living. The retail industry is slowly embracing this change, and hopefully over a period of time will see accelerated adoption.
- Social Plastic and metal extraction- “All the plastic that was ever created is still existing on planet earth somewhere”. Mining from waste plastic using technology has been around. However, arriving at a financial model which makes business sense (i.e.profitability for firms engaging in it,) has only recently started seeing traction. Organizations such as socialplastic.org and a profitable business mbapolymers.com have a headstart in this field. Below is an interview with the founders of Socialplastic.org
Similar ventures include mining precious metals from electronic waste. Last year saw the beginning of Venture Capital and private investment into these initiatives. Over a period of time sustainable businesses would make as much financial profits and value to society while making the earth a greener place to live in. I am hopeful that sustainable use of plastics is here to stay.
- Smart Cities and Green Homes – These concepts would get more attention this year, due to the onset of the energy revolution. Many individual houses are slowly becoming energy surplus homes which means these houses would generate more energy than they consume. A good example is GE’s ecoImagination home. Several established industry vendors including Schneider Electric, IBM, Accenture, GE are creating technologies supporting such projects on the city scale – making cities more liveable and self contained.
Overall, I am hopeful that this year will see many more industries transform using technology. This is what makes sustainable living interesting.