Technological developments in 2016 offer guidance as to how 2017 will unfold, characterized by the continued evolution of virtual and augmented reality, the arrival of an Internet for artificial intelligence (AI), and the generation of personalized digital assistants, writes Tom Garner, a research fellow at the University of Portsmouth's School of Creative Technologies.
Garner says virtual reality (VR) is currently on the brink of the "peak of inflated expectations," where hype surpasses reality and novelty is prioritized over quality. Some experts anticipate precipitous consumer disillusionment with VR while others expect a gradual decline, but the more persuasive argument is mobile phone-based VR platforms will help the technology reach equilibrium next year.
Meanwhile, augmented reality (AR) promises to make strides in 2017 via its versatility as a digital information delivery platform, potentially giving people new and enhanced ways to access essential content and services. With current investment tapping breakthroughs in underlying AR technologies, the implication is the industry is preparing hardware to ensure the realization of this potential.
Another forecast for 2017 is the domination of Internet of Things applications, as manifested by Cloud Robotics, in which robots performing specific tasks can share solutions to problems with each other.
The convergence of these trends is expected to culminate in the advent of intelligent digital assistants that enable a naturalistic human-digital interface.
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