Technology is constantly evolving. What exciting developments can we expect to see in coming years? Based on the findings of a white paper by our parent company, NTT DATA, this four-part blog series will delve into the eight trends that will have the biggest influence on our personal and working lives.
Trend 1: Immersive Interaction
A wealth of devices that enrich our perception of reality are emerging. You have probably already tried virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology for yourself. But have you heard of mixed reality (MR) or substitutional reality (SR)?
VR and AR technology is set to become increasingly available in 2016. VR has already had a positive impact in numerous areas, including sports, manufacturing, construction, and health. For example, it has been used in medical operations to increase the precision of surgery and to test specific brain functions. AR is even more readily available to the public thanks to the amount of apps featuring it. Uses range from placing virtual furniture in a room to aid a consumer’s purchasing decision to apps that instantly translate texts into the user’s preferred language.
Creating New Realities
MR essentially combines the two, enabling physical and digital objects to interact in real time. It has been used to project a life-size image of a car so that people can see it from all angles and fine-tune its design. MR also holds great potential for use in communication and next-generation computer interfaces.
Finally, SR deceives the brain by combining live scenes with pre-recorded video, creating an experience that feels completely real. Although still in development, it could expand our knowledge of the root causes of psychiatric conditions and help to improve treatment. Together, these new technologies could transform the way we interact with machines and utilize information.
Trend 2: Precision Life Science
Technological advances have made DNA analysis accessible to everyone. While the very first DNA sequencing of the human genome took 13 years and cost $2.7 billion, a similar effort can now be completed in under a day for less than $1,000. You can even order genetic tests online. This has enormous implications for the future of medicine and health. Firstly, microbiome research is providing deeper insights into the health of individuals. Further research is expected to uncover previously unknown links to health conditions, potentially saving millions of lives.
Putting the ‘Me’ in Medicine
To obtain valuable knowledge from information as complex as DNA, you need huge volumes of data for comparison. Numerous organizations and collaborations, such as the Precision Medicine Initiative, are using shared medical data to expand our understanding of genetics and diseases. This will enable preventative methods and treatments tailored to a patient’s individual characteristics.
However, health depends on more than genetics. Lifestyle and environment also play an important role. Sensor technology and wearables capture data and can provide early indications of lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes. By constantly monitoring the variables, patients and doctors have access to more detailed and precise information than can be gathered from ordinary medical checkups.
So what is the impact of this? Individuals will become more informed about how their lifestyle affects their health and will be able to take measures to reduce risk factors. Doctors will shift into the role of health and wellbeing advisors—not just curing illnesses but also helping to prevent them. The result is a reduction in the cost of healthcare and a boost in the productivity of working individuals.
Preview of part 2
In part two of this blog series we will explore the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence and provide a glimpse into the future of transportation and mobility.