Things look and behave differently at the quantum level: quantum computing, virtual and augmented reality and blockchain are all examples of immersive technologies
Emerging technologies; the 2020s will be the decade that they come of age. Augmented and virtual reality will transform communication, training and education. Quantum computing’s implications are at once both tremendously exciting and scary. Blockchain could transform the way we securely store and transfer records of the ownership of assets.
Emerging technologies: virtual and augmented reality
According to a report from P&S Market Research and available from Research and Markets the global market for augmented and virtual reality is expected to reach $94.4 billion by 2023.
The revolution in the immersive reality market is led by games and other consumer applications such as leisure — with the National Museum of Singapore for example applying AR to enhance tours of its museum.
But the business applications are emerging too. Recently, Jeremy Dalton the head of AR and VR at PwC told Information Age that AR can be a powerful tool for training, it can “inform you how to perform a certain procedure more accurately and more easily,” he said. Kelly Goetsch, chief product officer at commercetools said: “VR is a great way to take tours of very expensive things before you buy them.”
Full interviews with both Jeremy Dalton and Kelly Goetsch will be published next week.
There is an important difference between virtual and augmented reality. Virtual reality provides a fully immersive experience, transporting you into a new environment, divorced from your existing environment, as if you are really there. For games, education, training, maybe even for applications such as surgery, it is formidable technology. Facebook has made a big bet on virtual reality with the purchase of Oculus Rift, it is calculated that we will conduct much of our future social media in virtual space — games and social interaction moulding together.
Apple, by contrast, has argued that augmented reality — in which information, computer graphics or even digital images and video are superimposed over reality — has a bigger future.
“In a few years, we’re not going to be able to imagine our lives without (AR). It’s that profound a platform,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said on US TV platform HBO.
Augmented reality will support long distance communication — hologram to hologram, supporting business meetings, even remote working, in which our holograms work side by side. It’s implications are staggering.
The stars are aligned for the augmented reality shopping revolution
Of all the emerging emerging technologies described here, quantum computing is the furthest away from mass market commercial viability, an emerging technology for the latter years of the 2020s, perhaps. The key to powerful computing is going small, but the quantum scale is really really small, atomic level and smaller — at the protons perhaps, or even quarks level. At that scale, particles behave differently — a particle can be in two places at once.
Digital computers deal in zeros and ones — either on or off. A quantum computer could theoretically deal with one, zero, both or any one of infinite possibilities in-between.
The brain does not process in zeros or ones either. It is able to operate via neurons forming synapses with other neurons, via chemical reactions, but these synapses can be of various levels of strength, in a similar way to quantum computing.
There are problems with quantum computers, to operate they normally have to be kept in extremely cold temperatures, typically minus 273 degrees, absolute zero. Quantum states can only be maintained for very short periods.
But the quantum computing world is subject to its own version of Moore’s Law: Rose’s Law, named after Geordie Rose, former CEO of D-Wave and now CTO. Rose suggested that the number of qubits in a scalable quantum computer should double every year. . Consider the implications: should quantum computers double in speed every year, within ten years they would see a one thousand-fold increase, and within 20-years, a million-fold increase. If they were to double in speed every six months, as some believe, their increase in power over 20 years wound be a trillion-fold.
IBM achieves highest quantum volume to date
Although, quantum computers will be enormously expensive for many years, the cloud will democratise access to them.
The most well known application of quantum is of course its ability to hack into any security system — which is why a market is emerging in creating quantum ready security systems — if they are proof against quantum computers they are proof against anything. Information Age is looking at various quantum security technologies over the next few weeks.
Machine identities, Venafi, and why being quantum ready is good strategy for today, and not just when quantum computers arrive
Quantum computing maybe be a few years off, but there is more to being quantum ready than preparing for that day. It boils down to machine identities, and finding a way to automate the process of changing these identities. We spoke to Venafi’s Kevin Bocek, an expert in threat detection, encryption, digital signatures and key management. He enlightened us further.
A more spectacular use of quantum computers could be in the field of protein folding — a fundamental process in the creation of living organisms from DNA. A breakthrough in this area wound be revolutionary indeed, it could, for example, enable us to create healthcare treatments genetically customised.
The third of our emerging technologies is blockchain — technology for storing a ledger on an asset, its ownership and modifications — without necessarily the need for a central authority, with the details of this ledger stored on each computer in the particular blockchain network. In this way, it’s nigh on impossible for cyber criminals to change a ledger, as to do so they would need to hack into all the computers (or maybe a majority) that make up the blockchain simultaneously.
Blockchain supply chain initiatives will face fatigue by 2023 — Gartner
To give a practical example of how a blockchain might work — the history of a car, it’s ownership, servicing record, maybe even its mileage, taken at regular intervals. No need to keep the servicing record in the car’s glove department— it’s stored in the blockchain. No fear that the record has been tampered with, blockchain is immutable.
There are multiple issues — what are the business uses, what is the difference between enterprise solutions such as Ripple, Ethereum, Hyperledger fabric, JP Morgan’s blockchain and Corda? What about the right to be forgotten, how can data relating to an individual be removed from an immutable blockchain? These are among the issues we will be considering in immersive technology month.
Mindtree joins Hyperledger to accelerate blockchain development
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