The technology world moves at a fast and furious pace. It certainly doesn’t stand still. Here are some of the top emerging technologies that are not only here now but are also set to become mainstream.

Artificial intelligence

It was Netflix, Amazon, Google and Facebook that pioneered artificial intelligence (AI) by developing tech that could predict customer preferences based on previous choices. We accept this today without even thinking about it.

But AI use is moving well beyond the tech giants. Estate agents have begun using it to match buyers with specific properties, financial services to identify potential new clients even before they know they want to buy, and law firms are getting on board by using it build stronger cases for their clients at a fraction of previous costs. Some applications are spooky but it‘s here and it growing.

Wearable clothes

The concept of wearable technology has been around for a while. If only Massimo Osti, the well-known fashion designer famed for introducing cutting edge materials into his designs, was still around he would have been one of the first to incorporate it into his iconic coats.

Despite early forays into wearables it’s still very much a technology looking for a practical application. But hold up, it is finding a niche. When people are attending events in which there is lots of choice, wristbands synched with an app can help make choosing a lot easier. It’s like a constant guide and one cruise line operator has used to provide a new level of customised service. The result? Customers are happier and less stressed, so it is claimed. Or are they just more controlled? It’s a thought.

Apps for customer service

There are hundreds of thousands of apps available. App development has exploded in the wake of smart phones becoming a must-have tool. But a step change in their functionality has taken place. How would you feel about using an app to deliver petrol to you so you don’t have to go to the garage? Or what about an app that allows you to capture and send all the necessary information if you’re involved in a car accident as well as arrange for a tow truck. Sounds useful, but not getting in an accident in the first place is much better.

Advanced robotics

We’re familiar with robots in car factories with their swinging arms and pre-programmed movements. But there is a hotel in Japan staffed entirely by robots including receptionists and a singing ‘doll’ that supposedly lulls you to sleep, that is if you don’t dismantle it first to stop its annoying bleating. They’re also popping up in other places such as robot bellhops that deliver towels and so on to guests in their rooms. They’re lightweight and carry out repetitive tasks. Expect to see more and more of them. We may initially be creeped out but before long they’ll become everyday objects, like self-service tills in supermarkets. Do we question these? Not any longer.

It creeps up on us

Technology creeps up on us and before we know it, it’s all around and widely used. Given that we live in a relentlessly commercial world it’s hardly surprising that most tech developments are harnessed for commercial purposes.

The above are just some examples of new tech that will become mainstream before you can say ‘my operating system needs updating.’ 

Some advanced tech is very useful but some is decidedly disturbing like the insurance company that detects your web site movements, estimates your age, and hits you with a product pitch before you even know you need or want insurance.

And when it comes to security let’s not go there yet. As the saying goes ‘Profit before anything else’ (we just made that up) security is typically an afterthought. And for certain we’ll inevitably pick up the pieces after it’s too late and until security at the design stage becomes a priority.