ARTEMUS NOTE:  The article below appeared in on December 30, 2017.  

Regardless of whether you’re a diehard tech fanatic, always after the latest devices, or a laid-back “average” consumer, if you’re like me, you can’t help but look forward to the tech developments and trends that lie ahead. After a year with surprisingly high sales for smart speakers and virtual reality, as well as the debut of several new phones and tablets, I’ve spent the last several weeks looking ahead to the possible trends that will unfold in 2018.

As a marketer, my perspective often turns to how we can use these new technologies and trends to better communicate and connect with our audiences, but general tech trends hold much more potential than that—they have the capacity to change how we live and interact with each other.

So what will the biggest tech trends of 2018 be, and how will our lives change, accordingly?

1. AI permeation. Artificial intelligence (AI), largely manifesting through machine learning algorithms, isn’t just getting better. It isn’t just getting more funding. It’s being incorporated into a more diverse range of applications. Rather than focusing on one goal, like mastering a game or communicating with humans, AI is starting to make an appearance in almost every new platform, app, or device, and that trend is only going to accelerate in 2018. We’re not at techno-pocalypse levels (and AI may never be sophisticated enough for us to reach that point), but by the end of 2018, AI will become even more of a mainstay in all forms of technology.

2. Digital centralization. Over the past decade, we’ve seen the debut of many different types of devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and dozens of other “smart” appliances. We’ve also come to rely on lots of individual apps in our daily lives, including those for navigation to even changing the temperature of our house. Consumers are craving centralization; a convenient way to manage everything from as few devices and central locations as possible. Smart speakers are a good step in the right direction, but 2018 may influence the rise of something even better.

3. 5G preparation. Though tech timelines rarely play out the way we think, it’s possible that we could have a 5G network in place—with 5G phones—by the end of 2019. 5G internet has the potential to be almost 10 times faster than 4G, making it even better than most home internet services. Accordingly, it has the potential to revolutionize how consumers use internet and how developers think about apps and streaming content. 2018, then, is going to be a year of massive preparation for engineers, developers, and consumers, as they gear up for a new generation of internet.


4. Data overload. By now, every company in the world has realized the awesome power and commoditization of consumer data, and in 2018, data collection is going to become an even higher priority. With consumers talking to smart speakers throughout their day, and relying on digital devices for most of their daily tasks, companies will soon have access to—and start using—practically unlimited amounts of personal data. This has many implications, including reduced privacy, more personalized ads, and possibly more positive outcomes, such as better predictive algorithms in healthcare.

5. White collar automation. Is your job likely to be replaced by a machine? How certain are you of that answer? AI has been advancing enough to replace at least some white collar jobs for years; even back in 2013, we had algorithms that could write basic news articles, given sufficient inputs of data. Is 2018 going to be the year all humans are finally replaced by their new robot overlords? Almost certainly not, but I do think we’ll see the fledgling beginnings of radical job transformations throughout the United States. I think it’s naïve to think that jobs will be fully replaced, but they will be more heavily automated, and we’ll have to adapt our careers accordingly.

6. Seamless conversation. A few years ago, voice search was decent, but unreliable. Today, voice search might as well be flawless; Microsoft’s latest test gives its voice recognition software a 5.1 percent error rate, making it better at recognizing speech than human transcribers. Similarly, robotic speech and chatbots are growing more sophisticated. In 2018, with these improvement cycles continuing, I imagine we’ll see the manifestation or solidification of seamless conversation. We’ll be able to communicate with our devices, both ways, without any major hiccups or mistakes.

7. UI overhauls. I also think 2018 is going to be a major year for UI; we’re going to have to rethink how we interact with our apps and devices. The onset of smart speakers and better voice search has made it so it’s no longer necessary to look at a screen to input data. Desktop devices are becoming less and less used as well, with mobile continuing to take over. New types of visuals and more audible clues will likely be included in next-generation UI, and consumers will adapt to them quickly, so long as they serve their core needs.

It’s hard to say how fast these trends will manifest, or what types of devices and upgrades will dictate their development, but I’m confident we’ll see increased exposure on all these fronts as 2018 develops.

Regardless of how you feel about technology, or your primary motivations for using it, I think we can all be excited about the new gadgets and infrastructure that await us next year.



At Gartner’s Symposium/ITExpo in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this month, the research firm shared a report on 10 strategic trends affecting the Internet of Things (IoT) from 2019 to 2023. In the report, titled Top Strategic IoT Trends and Technologies Through 2023, according to multiple published reports, the firm identified the following as the 10 most impactful IoT trends:

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI) 
  2. Social, legal, and ethical IoT
  3. Infonomics and data broking
  4. The shift from intelligent edge to intelligent mesh
  5. IoT governance
  6. Sensor innovation
  7. Trusted hardware and operating shystems
  8. New IoT user experiences
  9. Innovation on the chip
  10. New wireless networking technologies for IoT

That’s an intriguing and comprehensive list, but not all the points come with of equal certainty or importance, and some — AIwireless networkingedge computing and mesh computing — are already on the radar of many industry observers. So, let’s take a closer look at a couple of the most interesting and under-appreciated factors affecting the future of the IoT: social concerns and user experience.

Social issues will be pivotal in the world of IoT

For me, Gartner’s noting the importance of social, legal, and ethical IoT and IoT governance were perhaps the most unexpected. Research firms most often focus on hard numbers and core technologies, not squishier social issues. But I think Gartner is on to something here, especially when it comes to the IoT.

The IoT is a very broad-based technology, transforming everything from consumer devices to large-scale manufacturing and industrial applications. How these large-scale shifts are handled will go a long way toward determining the future of the technology. More to the point, perhaps, it’s not certain that the public — or the enterprise — is fully prepared for the IoT’s impact. As the IoT grows in importance — Gartner predicts the number of connected things in use will hit 14.2 billion in 2019, and grow to 25 billion by 2021 — increasing numbers of formerly human-run processes will be automated using devices and algorithms not easily understandable by the folks affected by them in areas such as data ownership, algorithmic bias, privacy, and regulatory compliance.Nick Jones, research vice president at Gartner, said in a recent Gizbot article, "Successful deployment of an IoT solution demands that it's not just technically effective but also socially acceptable. CIOs must, therefore, educate themselves and their staff in this area, and consider forming groups, such as ethics councils, to review corporate strategy. CIOs should also consider having key algorithms and AI systems reviewed by external consultancies to identify potential bias."

That’s a really big deal, and it's a potentially huge burden for technologists who don’t often have to consider unintended consequences. But if the industry doesn’t step up, governments and regulatory agencies appear ready to step in. Gartner noted that as the IoT grows, governance frameworks will likely emerge to establish and enforce rules around the creation, storage, use, and deletion of information around IoT implementations. Those rules could range from regulating technical issues such as device audits and firmware updates to deeply complex questions around who controls IoT devices and the data they generate.

IoT and the user experience

The IoT is profoundly changing the way individuals and enterprises interact with technology. Just as important, the conventions for human/IoT interactions — usually without screens and keyboards — are still being established. How that plays out will go a long way toward determining the role IoT plays in both consumer and business applications.

Gartner pointed out that the IoT user experience (UX) comprises a wide variety of technologies and design interactions. How the IoT UX evolves depends on four key factors, Gartner said: new sensors, new algorithms, new experience architectures and context, and socially aware experiences. And so far, the track record for truly useful IoT devices and interfaces is decidedly mixed.


ARTEMUS NOTE:  videos and images associated with this article can be found here

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army is investing millions of dollars in experimental exoskeleton technology to make soldiers stronger and more resilient, in what experts say is part of a broader push into advanced gear to equip a new generation of “super-soldiers.”

The technology is being developed by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) with a license from Canada-based B-TEMIA, which first developed the exoskeletons to help people with mobility difficulties stemming from medical ailments like multiple sclerosis and severe osteoarthritis.

For the U.S. military, the appeal of such technology is clear: Soldiers now deploy into war zones bogged down by heavy but critical gear like body armor, night-vision goggles and advanced radios. Altogether, that can weigh anywhere from 90 to 140 pounds (40-64 kg), when the recommended limit is just 50 pounds (23 kg).

“That means when people do show up to the fight, they’re fatigued,” said Paul Scharre at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), who helped lead a series of studies on exoskeletons and other advanced gear.

“The fundamental challenge we’re facing with infantry troops is they’re carrying too much weight.”

Lockheed Martin said on Thursday it won a $6.9 million award from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to research and develop the exoskeleton, called ONYX, under a two-year, sole-source agreement.

“You get to the fight fresh. You’re not worn out,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell, who demonstrated a prototype, said each exoskelelton was expected to cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

B-TEMIA’s medically focused system, called Keeogo, is sold in Canada for about C$39,000 ($30,000), company spokeswoman Pamela Borges said.

The United States is not the only country looking at exoskeleton technology.

Samuel Bendett at the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded U.S. research and development center, said Russia and China were also investing in exoskeleton technologies, “in parallel” to the U.S. advances.Russia, in particular, was working on several versions of exoskeletons, including one that it tested recently in Syria, Bendett said.

The CNAS analysis of the exoskeleton was part of a larger look by the Washington-based think tank at next-generation technologies that can aid soldiers, from better helmets to shield them from blast injuries to the introduction of robotic “teammates” to help resupply them in war zones.

The CNAS studies can be seen here:

A new partnership among two prominent Israeli venture capital funds, a handful of major private-sector companies and the city’s economic growth development enterprise is hoping to turn New York City into the nation’s leading center for yet one more major industry: cybersecurity.

Cyber NYC, as the project is called, is among the nation’s most ambitious cybersecurity initiatives, which over the next decade could transform New York City into a global leader of cybersecurity innovation and job creation.

The multiyear project would simultaneously create a Global Cyber Center in Chelsea, a cybersecurity innovation hub in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan and an academic cybepartnership with area colleges, such as Columbia University, New York University and City University of New York. At the same time, major corporations such as Goldman Sachs, Mastercard and PricewaterhouseCoopers also are participating in advisory roles or to assist with the project’s training and hiring.

“We are at a seminal moment in the trajectory of the cybersecurity industry,” said James Patchett, president and chief executive of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which is spearheading the Cyber NYC initiative, including assembling and leading public-private partnerships and developing and overseeing six programs to grow New York’s cyberindustry and expand the work force.


Cyber NYC will initially be funded by about $70 million in private investments, including from the two Israeli firms: Jerusalem Venture Partners, a venture capital fund; and SOSA, a corporate innovation specialist, among others Another $30 million is coming from the city. Its goal: to create 10,000 local cybersecurity jobs over the next decade as part of Mayor de Blasio’s New York Works Plan.


Two new cybersecurity centers in separate locations will work in tandem to anchor this project. In SoHo, a 50,000-square-foot cybersecurity investment hub will support cybersecurity start-ups in New York City. In Chelsea, the 15,000-square-foot Global Cyber Center will bring together investors, corporations and start-ups and serve as a virtual testing ground to run simulations. Both are expected to be completed before the end of 2019.

According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, cybersecurity already is a $1 billion-plus industry in New York, with more than 100 companies and 6,000 employees as of 2017.


The real driver behind a project like Cyber NYC is the nation’s urgent need for improved cybersecurity at all levels of corporate and government operations. Nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft, according to a 2018 online survey by The Harris Poll, an increase from 15 million in 2017.

Cybersecurity attacks have become so common that experts worry about the onset of “cyberfatigue” as consumers begun to shrug off their impact. A corporate cyberattack takes place every 40 seconds via ransomware across the globe, reported Cybersecurity Ventures, a research specialist in the global cybereconomy. That figure is expected to be every 14 seconds by next year. Cybercrimes, Cybersecurity Ventures also noted, are predicted to cause $6 trillion in damages by 2021, an increase from $3 trillion in 2015.

Despite the clear need for cybersecurity upgrades and improvements, not everyone is convinced that a project like Cyber NYC is the right solution.

“This sounds like a huge marketing pitch,” said Bruce Schneier, a cybersecurity expert who has written 13 books on the topic. “I’ve worked in this field forever, and I’ve never even heard the term cybersecurity hub.” Such skepticism doesn’t really bother Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners, which is overseeing the creation of the cybersecurity investment hub in SoHo.

“Come and see what we already have done in Israel,” Mr. Margalit said, in response to Mr. Schneier’s skepticism. Jerusalem Venture Partners has raised over $1.3 billion to create and finance more than 130 companies — more than one-third of them in cybersecurity, including CyberArk, which is one of Israel’s largest cybersecurity companies (Israel is second to the U.S. in terms of overall investment in cybersecurity firms). “If someone wants to call this a marketing ploy, O.K. The storytelling part is important. When you tell people a story, they listen.”

Mr. Margalit, who as a former member of Israel’s legislative body, the Knesset, led its cybersecurity task force. Mr. Margalit earned his Ph.D. at Columbia and was living in New York City during 9/11. He says that his company will oversee much of the business end of the venture. “Most innovation occurs when the two disciplines meet: investors and cybersecurity experts,” he said.