Technology created over the last century has improved our lives tremendously; the invention of cars, airplanes, phones, and the like have connected us in ways our ancestors could have never expected. With anything, though, good is never good enough. Inventors have known that since the beginning of time and, even though we are in the age of invention, they still haven’t stopped making the world better. These five technological breakthroughs promise to do that and more.

Tiny AI

AI is already one of the most significant advancements of the decade. Companies of all shapes and sizes are competing to create the most advanced AI. The drawback is that the more advanced an AI is, the greater in size it becomes, and the more it relies on the Cloud to send data. To combat this, companies have been working on shrinking the AI’s size while still increasing its potential. Companies like Google and Apple have already reached this goal with AI capabilities that only rely on the user’s phone. Tesla has even reduced its AI to two chips that control the car’s reaction based on the situation.

Cybersecurity will have to change along with these advancements. With anything new, it can quickly become a target of hackers. If they continue to improve in productivity and decrease in size, these tiny AI chips might become as common as memory cards. Companies even believe that this technology will become standard in smart offices in the wake of COVID.

Quantum Computers

Quantum Computers can seem more fantasy than reality. These kinds of computers boast the potential of solving problems in moments that our current supercomputers could only solve after a millennium. These problems typically center on solving cryptographic codes or simulating molecules. Google and IBM are currently the front runners in the Quantum Computer race. Google says they are on track of creating a computer with 100-1,000 qubits. IBM published their roadmap, stating they will have a 1,000-qubit machine by 2023.

A qubit is two bytes, while a single byte is 1E-12 (1,000,000,000,000) terabytes of storage. Most non-professional computers today only have around 250-320 megabytes of storage. Essentially, when quantum computers are released on a consumer scale, this will rapidly change how the world works with technology.

Cheaper Satellite Launches

Launching a satellite into space is a very costly venture that very few companies have the financial stability necessary to handle. During the space shuttle era, sending a satellite into space could cost around $24,800 per pound. For an example of how expensive this is, a small satellite around 4 tons would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to send into space. Luckily, companies such as SpaceX and OneWeb have figured out how to create cheaper and lighter satellites and plan to send up dozens of satellites at a time. SpaceX even boasts the ability to send up 60 satellites every two weeks.

A young happy businessman in elegant suit drawing helmet, satellite and rocket in empty space with a chalk illustration concept

What does this mean for the tech world? SpaceX and OneWeb want to create a global solution to Wi-Fi accessibility. By sending up enough satellites, the companies hope to deliver fast Wi-Fi to everyone on Earth. People in areas where they can’t get internet, such as rural and poor areas, will get access thanks to this technology.

Digital Money

In June of 2019, Facebook accidentally triggered a backlash on a global scale when they announced their own digital currency called Libra. Due to this backlash, Facebook immediately pulled the plan back for reconsideration. The idea, though, was out, and other organizations and countries have started developing their own digital currency. For example, the People’s Bank of China implied that they would create their own digital currency as a replacement for physical cash.

Libra is now working along with the US government on creating a trial run. So far, the company has made digital money based on the dollar value of multiple countries, such as the British Pound and the Swiss Franc. There is no telling when the digital currency might be pushed out to the public, but it will bring up interesting questions on security and financial safety when it does.

Unhackable Internet

Quantum computers are not the only thing scientists want to use quantum physics for. To create unhackable connections, Stephanie Wehner at the Delft University of Technology is attempting to connect four cities in the Netherlands with quantum technology. This technology would allow secure messages to be sent and received without the possibility of interception. Any breach of the line would disrupt and corrupt any message the hacker managed to get to, making it incomprehensible. These particles are hard to create and harder to transmit over long distances, but Wehner is confident they can set up these links by the end of the year.

This is of particular importance to companies that focus on cybersecurity, especially since the US Department of Energy has declared that they plan on winning the quantum race by being the first to widely use these quantum highways. The DoE is already looking into ways to make the unhackable internet sustainable by planning on using it alongside the standard internet and researching its vulnerabilities.

Technology is ever-changing as people look into newer and better ways to make life easier. While the thought of the internet being widespread, affordable, and safer might seem futuristic, this list is proof that the future is not as distant as we think. Computers that can solve our most challenging problems and digital currency promise to change the way our businesses run, hopefully for the better. With all this to look forward to, the future is certainly looking bright.