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Five technology trends to watch out for in 2022

Five technology trends to watch out for in 2022
Photo Credit: Pixabay
21 Dec, 2021

At the end of the last decade, technologists said that the new decade would be a revolution. As tech like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and more matured, the conversation was quickly shifting from using them to regulating and controlling them. While the pandemic played spoilsport and delayed some of these conversations, like many other countries, India too is pushing ahead from simply being excited about new tech, to deploying, controlling and evolving what we already have. Here are some of the top technology trends that should gain ground going forward.

Privacy gaining ground

After about two years of deliberation, the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Data Protection Bill was finally able to table its report on the bill during the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament. The JPC recommended that India should have one bill to regulate both personal and non-personal data, and stop companies from profiling children’s accounts and using targeted ads for them. The bill also gives consumers rights over their data. But India isn’t the only country looking into such data regulations. India’s bill borrows heavily from the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and governments worldwide are considering such regulations as well. Big Tech firms like Google, Apple and Facebook are fighting lawsuits against government bodies, competition regulations and more, and the outcome of all these cases will have an impact on how our data is used in future.

Mixing and blending realities

In 1964, an animated science-fiction franchise called Jonny Quest imagined a virtual world called QuestWorld. The protagonists would put on futuristic virtual reality (VR) headsets and fight battles in a virtual world. It was futuristic then, but VR and augmented reality (AR) headsets are all too familiar now. In fact, they have been for almost a decade now. But in 2021, Facebook launched a product called Ray Ban Stories, partnering with eyeglass maker Ray Ban for a pair of smart glasses that look and feel almost exactly like regular spectacles. Tech companies have already found ways to remove wired connections between VR and AR headsets and the PCs that power them. Going forward, they aim to make these devices ubiquitous and reach economies of scale that comes from selling millions of devices worldwide. Facebook is even working on a glove-like controller that reads electric signals being sent from the brain through our neurons, to aid gesture controls for ambient computers.

The third generation of the internet comes calling

The hit HBO show, Silicon Valley, imagined a ‘new Internet’, which was void of dominance by Big Tech firms, governments and more. The idea may sound utopian, but that’s exactly what companies building apps for the third generation of the internet (web3) are building today. Companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and others benefit greatly from the fact that a majority of the world’s data flows through their servers. With web3, the power is handed back to the users in a way. It runs without servers, depends on a network of phones, computers and other devices, and bars any one person or entity on the network to wield control on data — in a word, decentralization. For instance, Noida-based Ayush Ranjan has built the world’s first decentralized video chat app. Unlike Google Meet, Zoom or Facebook, the 26-year-old’s Huddle 01 app doesn’t require users to create an account, and the company doesn’t have its own data centres to store your data in, or to record calls. Instead, it stores all the data in a decentralized manner and uses computing power from users’ devices to power the video calls.

Read moreHuddle01 aims to eliminate centralized servers from video calls

Rise of the metaverse

5G, cloud computing, Internet of Things, web3, these are all tools in a larger vision that technologists and technology leaders have right now. And that’s called the Metaverse. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is so confident that the metaverse is coming that he rebranded his company, one of the most valuable in the world, to Meta as an effort to show where his focus is today. Author Neal Stephenson is often credited for coining the term, in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, and it has also been explored in contemporary movies like Ready Player One. The metaverse is not a technology, it is a concept. Zuckerberg and others expect that we will do everything from conducting meetings to hosting parties in a virtual space, and through very realistic looking avatars. Instead of shopping on an e-commerce store, the avatar will walk into a virtual store, try on a product and have the physical product delivered to our homes too. However, hardware veterans like Intel’s Raja Koduri have warned that the computing power we have today is nowhere close to being sufficient for the metaverse Zuckerberg imagines.

Read more: What is the Metaverse and why is everyone talking about it?

 A quantum push

Which brings us to what could be the most transformational trend in technology — Quantum Computing. Any country with any aspirations to be a leader in technology has its sights set on quantum computing. While web3 is a new internet, quantum computing establishes a whole new computer. Our traditional computers can take information in 0 and 1, and the computations they do are limited by this. Quantum computers, on the other hand, use concepts of quantum physics to enhance the amount of computing power we can use. A quantum computer is far from reality right now, and it could be the kind of computing power Koduri says we need for the metaverse. In the 2020 Budget, the Indian government had allocated Rs. 8000 crore over the next five years to the development of quantum computing technologies. The government has also launched a Quantum Simulator, which allows researchers to build quantum applications in the absence of a real computer.