Edgy Labs takes a look at 3 of the most transformative technologies that are set to converge with each other to reshape the digital sphere.

Some futuristic technologies like 3D-bioprinting, space elevators, asteroid mining, and programmable matter could soon be a reality. However, they’re still largely in their development stage and we can’t see the whole picture of their impact on the future.

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Several other transformative technologies are already here. As 2018 begins to unfold, AI, Blockchain, and the growing IoT are set to be among the most influential trends of the year.

Read More: What 2018 Holds for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

Just to clarify, AI refers to artificial intelligence. Under that umbrella falls machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, automation applications and even simpler task-oriented algorithms. We’ve talked a lot about how today’s AI might not be “true AI,” but what we have developed will be extremely useful to the future of industry. What’s more, we probably won’t end up creating Skynet.

Blockchain is the decentralized transaction network behind Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and several other cryptocurrencies.

The IoT (Internet of Things) or IoE (Internet of Everything) refers to the growing network of digital and sensory devices. It starts at the level of a Smart Home, where you can monitor security, climate, and some chores remotely from your smartphone. But the concept goes further. The sensor-laden Nuremberg Bridge, for example, allows engineers to monitor bridge stability and integrity 24/7.

These three data-driven, transverse technologies are becoming more accessible. It’s becoming apparent that 2018 will be the year they start to mesh together.

AI: Tech Foundation

Making headlines as the biggest tech theme of this year, AI will take an increasingly important place in engineering projects across many industries. From robots to autonomous cars, and various software like AI-aided matchmaking apps, AI is set to play a massive role in the tech world this year.

Just like in 2016 and 2017, in its ranking of ten strategic technology trends of 2018, Gartner places AI as a tech foundation. Furthermore, Gartner also emphasized that this trend will be even more pronounced during this year.

“59% of organizations are still gathering information to build their AI strategies, while the remainder have already made progress in piloting or adopting AI solutions,” said Gartner.

While we should not expect a significant disruption to our lifestyle with the evolution of AI in 2018, more machine learning solutions that target specific tasks with optimized algorithms will be available.

This is where some experts argue that our use of the term AI isn’t exactly specific enough. To them, we only create supervised systems that need constant input and updates to continue performing tasks well. If we truly wanted AI, we would create “unsupervised” systems that truly need zero human interaction in order to learn and grow.

Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Well Beyond

After years of testing, Blockchain technology is shifting into high gear with its disruptive reach going well beyond Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

2017 was arguably the year of Bitcoin, ICOs, and token crowdsales. This can be seen in Bitcoin’s per coin price rising to nearly $20,000 USD during mid-December 2017. It was also the year of Blockchain experimentation as different industries started testing the waters with the implementation of innovative solutions based on the decentralized system.

CME and CBOE both started trading Bitcoin futures contracts in late 2017, and this was seen as a huge legitimization in the traditional financial sphere.

In a context marked with a heated debate around net neutrality, this seems to be the time for Blockchain technology to soar as a concept that goes against the very idea of a regulated and centralized Internet.

The debate is still ongoing on how the new rules set out by the FCC would affect Blockchain. Opinions vary, but for one thing, ISPs could throttle Blockchain broadband traffic for their own benefit. However, the same rules could also provide a catalyst for even more innovative Blockchain decentralized solutions.

IoT, Smarter and More Connected Devices

In 2017, there were 8.4 billion connected objects, with the majority of them (5.2 billion) being consumer devices.

In 2018, the global IoT network is expected to keep growing to reach over 11 billion objects and 20.4 billion by 2020.

From smartphones, home appliances, and biotech devices, to vehicles, robots, and drones, IoT will have a deep impact on society.

Not only will IoT reinvent most aspects of the business supply chain and customer experience, it will also reshape daily life and the way we interact with each other as a whole.

AI, Blockchain, and IoT: Convergence Time

On their own, AI, Blockchain, and IoT are all promising fundamental social and economic disruptive waves.

Combine these three technologies together, and a whole new seamless ecosystem emerges to change life as we know it.

Just between AI and the IoT, there are many interlinked benefits. For example, the IoT network will create an ocean of data. Our current AI systems are built around breaking down huge datasets in a fraction of the time it would take the human mind.

Billions of new connected devices and machine learning systems are flooding into the world every year. This will likely cause traditional network security infrastructures and techniques to soon become obsolete.

If security concerns are one of the issues behind IoT and AI mass deployment and adoption, Blockchain technology could offer new ways to seal security breaches and keep data safe.

AI-powered IoT would usher in a new era where connected objects adapt to the behavior of users, anticipate their needs, and inform future product developments.

In this new ecosystem, Blockchain will be the backbone of AI systems which will create a digital ecosystem of devices that will be more connected than ever.

Do you feel that this ecosystem has already arrived? What other technologies you think have the biggest potential to change society?

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