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Predictions for exciting, eerie, and emerging tech in 2020

(TECH NEWS) We all want to be right on top of any new tech, it can help in so many ways. So here are the predictions of growing tech for the coming new year.

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predictions for the year

DaVinci predicted flying machines. Arthur C. Clarke imagined iPads. And, Ray Bradbury envisioned earbuds. All of those ideas were way ahead of their time. Now that we are in the year of vision – 2020, let’s consider some of the expert predictions for the coming year in the areas of social, finance, healthcare, tech and the cloud.

SOCIAL
In 2020, The Verge says it’s likely metrics keep dropping off social, people are back as curators leaving algorithms behind, Discord hits mainstream, Facebook’s Oculus hits its prime and Congress legislates misinformation. Oh, and, some experts question whether regulators will seek to break up Facebook and Google. TikTok’s time is up as the new big thing with competition heating up with other short-form video apps entering the market. And, the internet continues to splinter into European, American and Sino-Russian-authoritarian internet, which will limit the size of any one social network.

FINANCE
Hold onto your hats as foldable phones (note not flip) and dual-screen laptops become en vogue and find a niche market as price remains a deterrent, according to The Street’s Real Money. 5G phones will become more available but won’t impact the market. Microsoft stock was strong the last two years, but in 2020, may slow its growth and continue slowing as the majority of its corporate office has migrated over to Office 365. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) sees interest from major internet/cloud giants with lots of cash and with major cloud storage needs and those companies will most likely be the key buyers of AMD’s Rome CPU. And, China starts buying local for chips, hardware and software since the US implemented restrictions.

HEALTHCARE & SCIENCE
Fast Company has many tech predictions, but we’re sticking to healthcare and science. Gene therapy will play an increasing role in the treatment of cancer as the technology was already approved for B Cell treatment and the goal is to use it for other cancers. And, AI will help make medical care less costly while also providing more access to excellent care. A new voice app will allow doctors to actually interact with patients while the virtual assistant takes notes. One expert is betting on biosensing and sees wearables predicting colds, interacting with pharmacies and getting you medicine before you are actually ill.

THE CLOUD
Companies will see the cost savings and safety of using the hybrid cloud and more will turn to it over private cloud in the coming year, according to expert predictions on TechRepublic. Meanwhile, Nextcloud, already the largest on-site deployed solution, is going to have a great year as more companies move toward the hybrid cloud approach. Open source already plays a huge role in the cloud, but in 2020, it’s predicted that by the end of the year it will run completely on open source software. Oh, and to top that, it’s expected that the biggest cloud breach ever will occur putting billions of users’ data at risk, but which could lead to new security features.

TECH
Libra will remain a horoscope sign as Facebook kills plans for its cryptocurrency, according to the folks at Fortune. Protesters afraid of being identified through facial recognition will be using fashion and special makeup, along with masks that look like other people, all designed to confuse the technology. So, may the odds be ever in your favor. Remember when cable was cheap? Sometime around 1982. As streaming gets pricier by the second, it’s expected piracy will make a comeback with people pissed about paying so much and getting “streaming fatigue”. In an election year, I think most folks are hoping we don’t have a repeat of 2016, with hackers impacting results. Hackers beware, you are on the radar of the U.S. Cyber Command. While WeWork was a fail, the office space leases may be taken over by none other than Amazon, who knows a bit about making lemonade.

A few other tech predictions from TechRepublic: An Android smartwatch will triumph over the Apple Watch. Also, Android phones, (Samsung) will lose the notch on the phone, offering full screen phone functionality. And, the Samsung Galaxy S11 will become the must-have device and skyrocket the company into the stratosphere.

So, here’s to 2020. Let’s hope the advances in technology make work smoother, life easier and all of our pocketbooks a little fatter.

What are your tech predictions for the next year?

Mary Ann Lopez earned her MA in print journalism from the University of Colorado and has worked in print and digital media. After taking a break to give back as a Teach for America corps member and teaching science for a few years, she is back with her first love: writing. When she's not writing stories, reading five books at once, or watching The Great British Bakeoff, she is walking her dog Sadie and hanging with her cats, Bella, Bubba, and Kiki. She is one cat short of full cat lady status and plans to keep it that way.

Tech News

Get all your digital organization in one place with Routine

(TECH NEWS) Routine makes note-taking and task-creating a lot easier by merging all your common processes into one productivity tool.

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A desk with a laptop, notepad, smartphone, and cup of coffee settled into an organized routine.

Your inbox can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Without organization, important emails with tasks, notes, and meetings can become a trash pile pretty quickly. Luckily, there are a lot of tools that aim to help you improve your efficiency, and the latest to add to that list is Routine.

Routine is a productivity app that combines your tasks, notes, and calendar into one easy-to-use app so you can increase your performance. Instead of having to switch between different apps to jot down important information, create to-do lists, and glance at your calendar, Routine marries them all into one cool productivity tool. By simply using a keyboard shortcut, you can do all these things.

If you receive an email that contains an actionable item, you can convert that email into a task you can view later. Tasks are all saved in your inbox, and you can even schedule a task for a specific day. So, if Obi-Wan wants to have Jedi lessons on Thursday, you can schedule your Force task for that day. Likewise, chat messages that need follow-up can also be converted into tasks and be scheduled.

To enrich your tasks, notes can be attached to them. In your notes, you can also embed checkboxes, which are tasks of their own. And if you have tasks that aren’t coming from your inbox, you can import them from other services, such as Gmail, Notion, and Trello.

To make sure you can stay focused on the events and tasks at hand, Routine makes it easy to take everything in. By using the tool’s keyboard-controlled console, you can access your dashboard to quickly see what tasks need to be addressed, what’s on your calendar, and even join an upcoming Zoom session and take notes about the meeting.

Routine is available for macOS, iOS, web, and Google accounts only. Overall, the app centralizes notes and tasks by letting you create and view everything in one place, which helps make sure you stay on top of things. Currently, Routine is still in beta, but you can get on a waitlist to test the product out for yourself.

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Tech News

The paradox of CAPTCHAs: Too smart for humans vs AI?

(TECH NEWS) AI is catching up to our cybersecurity technology and often tricking humans too — so what’s next for CAPTCHAs and the internet?

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Person using phone with laptop to verify CAPTCHAs and code.

We’ve all encountered it before: The occasional robot test that feels impossible to beat. If you’ve felt like these tests, also known as CAPTCHAs, have gotten harder in the last couple of years, you aren’t wrong—and the reason is as ironic as it is baffling.

Simply put, AI are just as good as—and often better than—humans at completing CAPTCHAs in their classic format. As machine learning and AI become more advanced, the fundamental human attributes that make consistent CAPTCHA formats possible become less impactful, raising the question of how to determine the difference between AI and humans in the future.

The biggest barrier to universal CAPTCHA doctrine is purely cultural. Humans may share experiences across the board, but such experiences are typically basic enough to fall victim to the same machine learning which has rendered lower-level CAPTCHAs moot. Adding a cultural component to CAPTCHAs could prevent AI from bypassing them, but it also might prevent some humans from understanding the objective.

Therein lies the root of the CAPTCHA paradox. Humans are far more diverse than any one test can possibly account for, and what they do have in common is also shared by—you guessed it—AI. To create a truly AI-proof test would be to alienate a notable portion of human users by virtue of lived experience. The irony is palpable, but one can only imagine the sheer frustration developers are going through in attempting to address this problem.

But all isn’t lost. While litmus tests such as determining the number of traffic cones in a plaza or checking off squares with bicycles (but not unicycles, you fool) may be beatable by machines, some experts posit that “human entropy” is almost impossible to mimic—and, thus, a viable solution to the CAPTCHA paradox.

“A real human being doesn’t have very good control over their own motor functions, and so they can’t move the mouse the same way more than once over multiple interactions,” says Shuman Ghosemajumder, a former click fraud expert from Google. While AI could attempt to feign this same level of “entropy”, the odds of a successful attempt appear low.

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Tech News

Move over, Clubhouse: Slack adds their own audio chat rooms

(TECH NEWS) Slack planning to co-opt Clubhouse’s synchronous audio rooms has lead to mixed response. Did it really need to be done?

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Woman in green cardigan and headphones listening to audio chat room on mobile, where Slack becomes a competitor.

Slack is adding a synchronous audio chat room feature similar to what Clubhouse already has. While not everyone is happy about it, the addition is true to Slack’s ongoing form—if a little redundant.

Slack’s audio rooms would work similarly to Clubhouse’s current feature of the same persuasion. The rooms themselves would be ongoing for as long as they were open, and users would be able to drop in and out of calls at their leisure, even joining the conversation when permitted by the host or settings. In theory, it’s a cool way to round out Slack’s platform and make for yet another way for people to engage during the work day.

But not everyone is stoked about the addition. Pocketnow’s Nadeem Sarwar makes a strong point about the redundancy of adding a Clubhouse feature to the already-packed Slack deck: “…from a regular remote worker’s perspective, I’d rather use services such as Telegram, Discord, or Google Meet that we’ve grown accustomed to using for jumping into a group call with my teammates.”
“…[T]he need for audio chatrooms to get in a chaotic chat with colleagues, with whom you already chat over work and share memes five days a week, doesn’t make much sense,” he adds.

Sarwar also references research about remote meeting fatigue from Stanford and The Washington Post, positing that—since video conferences are already played out at this point—adding another quasi-conference option to Slack doesn’t serve much of a purpose.

He isn’t wrong. There are multitudinous conference options on the market now, many of which are free. One could argue that Slack, having marketed itself as a text-first communication hub, has no business entering the audio chat landscape.

That argument falls on its face when you consider Slack’s model—something both Sawar and the Slack CEO himself mention—involves “stealing” and implementing “good ideas” from others in order to make their own platform as comprehensive as possible. If one is able to use Slack for the majority of tasks that Google, Discord, and Clubhouse offer, that makes the platform a lot more attractive to users who are on the fence.

And, perhaps more importantly, it ensures that current users won’t migrate to a comparable platform in the future—especially if their colleagues are making the same choice.

It’s a smart move for Slack, especially given Clubhouse’s lack of Android support at this time—something Clubhouse has said probably still won’t launch for a couple of months.

The Clubhouse team, for their part, continues to add new features in efforts to maintain the platform’s upward mobility. One such feature is the option for paid subscriptions to content creators, allowing for people to monetize their presence on the platform. At the time of this writing, Clubhouse is valued at around $1 billion.

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