(Yicai Global) Jan. 3 -- Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, chip design, quantum computing and blockchain applications will change the world as we know it, according to a list of 10 trends for this year identified by Alibaba Group's tech research institute.
"We hope that by grasping the pace of revolution of technologies, we can make better use of these 'magics' and be in charge of our own future," the Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook, better known as DAMO Academy, said in its Top 10 Technology Trends in 2020. The report was released yesterday.
1: AI evolves from perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence
AI has reached or surpassed humans in areas of perceptual intelligence. However, in the field of cognitive intelligence that requires external knowledge, logical reasoning, and domain migration, it is still in its infancy. Cognitive intelligence draws inspiration from cognitive psychology, brain science and human social history.
Through advances in techniques such as cross domain knowledge graphs, causality inference and continuous learning, the leap from perceptual to cognitive intelligence can be achieved.
2: In-memory computing addresses AI 'memory wall' challenges
In the Von Neumann computer architecture, memory and processor are separate and calculations need to move data back and forth. This model can no longer serve the needs of data-driven AI applications.
An in-memory computing architecture similar to the neural structure of the brain combines data storage and computing. Such a breakthrough would significantly reduce data handling, improve computing parallelism and energy efficiency.
3: Industrial Internet of Things powers digital transformation to improve efficiency
In 2020, the rapid development of fifth-generation, IoT devices, cloud computing and edge computing will promote the fusion of the Industrial Internet, which is the linking of Big Data, analytical tools and wireless networks with industrial machinery and equipment. This will greatly improve the production efficiency of factories and the profitability of enterprises.
4: Large-scale collaboration between machines becomes possible
Human intelligence cannot compete with real-time perception and decision-making performed by large-scale smart devices. The development of collaborative sensing in IoT and 5G communications technologies will allow machines to cooperate and compete with each other to complete set tasks.
5: Modular, open source design transforms chip making
Traditional semiconductor designs can no longer meet the rapidly evolving, fragmented and customized needs of chip production. Open source system-on-a-chip designs based on a high-level hardware instruction language such as RISC-V and internet protocol-based modular chips have accelerated the development of agile design methods and the ecosystem of open source chips.
6: Large-scale production-grade blockchain becomes widely used
Many innovative blockchain application scenarios with multi-dimensional collaborations across different industries and ecosystems will emerge. This will enable large-scale production-grade blockchain applications with more than 10 million Daily Active Items to gain mass adoption.
7: Large-scale quantum computing enters a critical period
In 2020, the field of quantum computing will receive increased investment which will lead to greater competition. The sector is also expected to experience accelerated industrialization and the gradual formation of an eco-system.
Future milestones will be the realization of fault-tolerant quantum computing and the demonstration of quantum advantages in real-world situations. Achieving either will be a great challenge.
8: New materials revolutionize semiconductor devices
Under pressure from both Moore's Law, which posits that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles every two years, and the explosive demand for computing power and storage, classic silicon transistors are no longer able to sustain development in the semiconductor industry.
Manufacturers still have no real solutions to chips beyond 3 nanometers. New materials with different physical properties are needed to create new storage and interconnection devices that can drive innovation in the semiconductor industry.
9: Growing adoption of AI technologies to protect data privacy
Recent data protection laws and regulations demand greater compliance than ever before. In light of this, there has been a growing interest in using AI technologies to protect private data. This would enable the data consumer to control inputs from different data providers in order to keep certain information private.
10: The cloud becomes the center of information technology innovation
Advancements in cloud-computing technology have meant that the cloud has grown far beyond being a part of IT infrastructure to become the center of all IT technological innovations. The cloud is tightly connected to almost all IT technologies, including chips, databases, self-driving networks, big data, AI, IoT, blockchain, quantum computing and so forth. It also serves to create new technologies.