Technology is something that is advancing so rapidly. In a matter of years, we will see robots who can think for themselves and might even have feelings. We are living in the opening days of a new era that was once only dreamed up by the likes of Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov. From Self driving cars to 3D printers becoming an everyday household item, they’re all things that are changing the way we live. And as business people, it really got us thinking: How are all of these changes going to affect us?
Today one of our colleagues was mentioning that they bought their first ever mug, having recently moved into their first apartment. Like most of us, not being able to have a good cup of coffee wasn’t a nice thing to wake up to in the morning. Day before yesterday was a bank holiday in the Czech Republic. So they couldn’t go get that all important coffee mug, which got them/us thinking. What if we had a 3D printer (and the right material) at home? Wouldn’t it just be easier to print a mug rather than suffering over the bank holiday weekend without any coffee?
While researching this article, we found out that experts reckon that within the next ten years, nearly every household appliance will be accessible by WiFi or Bluetooth. Your Fridge will not only know its contents, but will also be able to order your essentials and have them delivered. With interactive air conditioning and stereos, your apartment will always be just the right temperature and you’ll always have music that matches your mood playing.
Let’s start with the obvious, Smart Cars or Self-Drive Vehicles (SDV). It’s been well known that SDVs have been a pet project of Google in California. It will still be a while yet before we see the introduction of these to our roads. But the resulting change to business could be substantial. SDVs could eventually lead out the need for taxis, Uber, truck drivers, and even revolutionise public transport. What we may see is a slow reduction of the number of human drivers, moving towards a system which could run almost completely independently. If your business is a public bus company this may be the best news you’ve heard. But, we guess it won’t be a while before taxi drivers start panicking as we doubt people will feel very comfortable using SDVs any time soon.
In the past, NASA were extremely restricted in what spare equipment could be sent up. With the invention of 3D printing, the latest generation of astronauts have printable files for most parts of the ship available at the click of a mouse. 3D printers are still falling in price making them more available to everyone. But do we need them? And how damaging is that on local business? Between 3D printers and self ordering fridges, would we ever have to leave home if everything is brought to us so readily?
If you go back in time to 5/10 years ago, machine translation was something that was just making emerging. Translators were freaking out that in a couple of years time, they’d be out of a job. Believe it or not, the same thing happened with CAT tools over 10 years ago. As you can see, this never happened and we’re still here. But technology is making translation a lot more accessible. Let’s take the ability to translate in real time. Using your camera to hover over a menu/road sign and translate what it says. It really is amazing technology, but of course will never replace human translators. The release of Neural Machine Translation even made headline news recently. But even MT experts will tell you that it’s going to be a long long time before it ever gets close to replicating the great job quality translators do.
We could write about this topic for ever. To sum it up you can see that our industry is not the only industry undergoing major changes. But embracing these changes is not something we really feel we have to worry about. It’s going to be years before robots replace humans. So let’s enjoy this new technology – we wonder what’ll be next.