The Biggest Tech Trends of 2016

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What can be said about 2016? Perhaps the one thing this year will be remembered for is being one of the most insane in recent history. From the presidential election, the the Cubs winning the world series to how much we still care about a gorilla, 2016 has left a strong taste in the mouth that won’t be gone for some time.

If there’s something to be optimistic about, the technological trends of the past year are actually quite promising. So let’s take a look at some of the biggest tech trends of 2016.

2016 was quite a big year for robotics. We may not be living in a Jetsons-style future, but we’re getting close. Robots have found their way into almost all areas of life. Earlier in September, a bomb was set off in Manhattan, and there was a legitimate threat that there were more. Officials responded with bomb defusing robots, specifically designed to be used in situations too dangerous for people.

Robots have been used this year to further our understanding of the world. Aquatic robots are robot ships, and this year we’ve seen them travel across the ocean to monitor trends in underwater environments for months at a time. They’ve also been used to augment human ability, in the form of exosuits. Exosuits are being developed for both military and medical use, and we may be seeing more of them in the upcoming year.

Even in the home, companies are developing more and more uses for robots, from chefs to butlers to even chauffeurs. 2016 opened up the robot world to the consumer.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has also gone through major developments in 2016, and often goes hand in hand with the development of robotic automation. One of the most significant uses of AI this year was in social media. Facebook used AI software to learn about its users and identify where their political allegiances lied leading up to the 2016 election. Facebook will continue developing its AI into 2017 to combat fake news stories as a result of the election as well.

AI has been used this past year to help people as well. Joshua Browder developed an intelligence that helps people get out of parking tickets, for example. As we understand more and more about artificial intelligence and how we can use it, expect more and more small developers to come up with software like this in the upcoming year.

As important as it is to look back at past technology trends, it’s just as important to look forward, to see what the possibilities of today’s tech may unlock tomorrow. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is set to be held in January 2017, showcasing all the coolest gadgets and latest gizmos, offering a glimpse into what tomorrow might look like. It will be showcasing everything from life-saving drones to state of the art cars.

It may be too soon to say what we’ll see at the show, or even in 2017, but if one thing is certain, it’s that we will see better bots, smarter computers and more and more helpful gadgets in the next year.