“These trends have a profound impact on the people and the spaces they inhabit,” says David Cearley, Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner. “Rather than building a technology stack and then exploring the potential applications, organizations must consider the business and human context first.”
These trends don’t exist in isolation; IT leaders must decide what combination of the trends will drive the most innovation and strategy.
For example, artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of machine learning (ML) with hyperautomation and edge computing can be combined to enable highly integrated smart buildings and city spaces. In turn, these technology combinations enable further democratization of the technology.
Trend No 1. Hyperautomation
Automation uses technology to automate tasks that once required humans.
Hyperautomation deals with the application of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to increasingly automate processes and augment humans. Hyperautomation extends across a range of tools that can be automated, but also refers to the sophistication of the automation (i.e., discover, analyze, design, automate, measure, monitor, reassess.)
“ Hyperautomation often results in the creation of a digital twin of the organization”
As no single tool can replace humans, hyperautomation today involves a combination of tools, including robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent business management software (iBPMS) and AI, with a goal of increasingly AI-driven decision making.
Although not the main goal, hyperautomation often results in the creation of a digital twin of the organization (DTO), allowing organizations to visualize how functions, processes and key performance indicators interact to drive value. The DTO then becomes an integral part of the hyperautomation process, providing real-time, continuous intelligence about the organization and driving significant business opportunities.
Trend No. 2: Multiexperience
Multiexperience replaces technology-literate people with people-literate technology. In this trend, the traditional idea of a computer evolves from a single point of interaction to include multisensory and multitouchpoint interfaces like wearables and advanced computer sensors.
For example, Domino’s Pizza created an experience beyond app-based ordering that includes autonomous vehicles, a pizza tracker and smart speaker communications.
In the future, this trend will become what’s called an ambient experience, but currently multiexperience focuses on immersive experiences that use augmented reality (AR), virtual (VR), mixed reality, multichannel human-machine interfaces and sensing technologies. The combination of these technologies can be used for a simple AR overlay or a fully immersive VR experience.
Trend No. 3: Democratization
Democratization of technology means providing people with easy access to technical or business expertise without extensive (and costly) training. It focuses on four key areas — application development, data and analytics, design and knowledge — and is often referred to as “citizen access,” which has led to the rise of citizen data scientists, citizen programmers and more.
For example, democratization would enable developers to generate data models without having the skills of a data scientist. They would instead rely on AI-driven development to generate code and automate testing.
Trend No. 4: Human augmentation
Human augmentation is the use of technology to enhance a person’s cognitive and physical experiences.
Physical augmentation changes an inherent physical capability by implanting or hosting a technology within or on the body. For example, the automotive or mining industries use wearables to improve worker safety. In other industries, such as retail and travel, wearables are used to increase worker productivity.
Physical augmentation falls into four main categories: Sensory augmentation (hearing, vision, perception), appendage and biological function augmentation (exoskeletons, prosthetics), brain augmentation (implants to treat seizures) and genetic augmentation (somatic gene and cell therapy).
“ AI and ML are increasingly used to make decisions in place of humans”
Cognitive augmentation enhances a human’s ability to think and make better decisions, for example, exploiting information and applications to enhance learning or new experiences. Cognitive augmentation also includes some technology in the brain augmentation category as they are physical implants that deal with cognitive reasoning.
Human augmentation carries a range of cultural and ethical implications. For example, using CRISPR technologies to augment genes has significant ethical implications.
Trend No. 5: Transparency and traceability
The evolution of technology is creating a trust crisis. As consumers become more aware of how their data is being collected and used, organizations are also recognizing the increasing liability of storing and gathering the data.
Additionally, AI and ML are increasingly used to make decisions in place of humans, evolving the trust crisis and driving the need for ideas like explainable AI and AI governance.
This trend requires a focus on six key elements of trust: Ethics, integrity, openness, accountability, competence and consistency.
Legislation, like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is being enacted around the world, driving evolution and laying the ground rules for organizations.