2018 TECH TRENDS REPORT — from the Future Today Institute
Emerging technology trends that will influence business, government, education, media and society in the coming year.


The Future Today Institute’s 11th annual Tech Trends Report identifies 235 tantalizing advancements in emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, biotech, autonomous robots, green energy and space travel—that will begin to enter the mainstream and fundamentally disrupt business, geopolitics and everyday life around the world. Our annual report has garnered more than six million cumulative views, and this edition is our largest to date.

Helping organizations see change early and calculate the impact of new trends is why we publish our annual Emerging Tech Trends Report, which focuses on mid- to late-stage emerging technologies that are on a growth trajectory.

In this edition of the FTI Tech Trends Report, we’ve included several new features and sections:

  • a list and map of the world’s smartest cities
  • a calendar of events that will shape technology this year
  • detailed near-future scenarios for several of the technologies
  • a new framework to help organizations decide when to take action on trends
  • an interactive table of contents, which will allow you to more easily navigate the report from the bookmarks bar in your PDF reader



01 How does this trend impact our industry and all of its parts?
02 How might global events — politics, climate change, economic shifts – impact this trend, and as a result, our organization?
03 What are the second, third, fourth, and fifth-order implications of this trend as it evolves, both in our organization and our industry?
04 What are the consequences if our organization fails to take action on this trend?
05 Does this trend signal emerging disruption to our traditional business practices and cherished beliefs?
06 Does this trend indicate a future disruption to the established roles and responsibilities within our organization? If so, how do we reverse-engineer that disruption and deal with it in the present day?
07 How are the organizations in adjacent spaces addressing this trend? What can we learn from their failures and best practices?
08 How will the wants, needs and expectations of our consumers/ constituents change as a result of this trend?
09 Where does this trend create potential new partners or collaborators for us?
10 How does this trend inspire us to think about the future of our organization?




4 Things Experts Want You to Know About Blockchain in Higher Ed — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
The electronic ledger software holds a lot of potential for university data.


At universities, blockchain is poised to help in aspects of data management, credentialing and research. From boosting security to enhancing access, the e-ledger tool has a lot of possibility.

Here are four ways experts think blockchain has a place in higher education:




Virtual reality technology enters a Chinese courtroom — from supchina.com by Jiayun Feng


The introduction of VR technology is part of a “courtroom evidence visualization system” developed by the local court. The system also includes a newly developed computer program that allows lawyers to present evidence with higher quality and efficiency, which will replace a traditional PowerPoint slideshow.

It is reported that the system will soon be implemented in courtrooms across the city of Beijing.




Watch Waymo’s Virtual-Reality View of the World — from spectrum.ieee.org by Philip Ross

From DSC:
This is mind blowing. Now I see why Nvidia’s products/services are so valuable.



Along these same lines, also see this clip and/or this article entitled, This is why AR and Autonomous Driving are the Future of Cars:




The Legal Hazards of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Apps — from spectrum.ieee.org by Tam Harbert
Liability and intellectual property issues are just two areas developers need to know about


As virtual- and augmented-reality technologies mature, legal questions are emerging that could trip up VR and AR developers. One of the first lawyers to explore these questions is Robyn Chatwood, of the international law firm Dentons. “VR and AR are areas where the law is just not keeping up with [technology] developments,” she says. IEEE Spectrum contributing editor Tam Harbert talked with Chatwood about the legal challenges.




This VR Tool Could Make Kids A Lot Less Scared Of Medical Procedures — from fastcompany.com by Daniel Terdiman
The new app creates a personalized, explorable 3D model of a kid’s own body that makes it much easier for them to understand what’s going on inside.


A new virtual reality app that’s designed to help kids suffering from conditions like Crohn’s disease understand their maladies immerses those children in a cartoon-like virtual reality tour through their body.

Called HealthVoyager, the tool, a collaboration between Boston Children’s Hospital and the health-tech company Klick Health, is being launched today at an event featuring former First Lady Michelle Obama.

A lot of kids are confused by doctors’ intricate explanations of complex procedures like a colonoscopy, and they, and their families, can feel much more engaged, and satisfied, if they really understand what’s going on. But that’s been hard to do in a way that really works and doesn’t get bogged down with a lot of meaningless jargon.



Augmented Reality in Education — from invisible.toys


Star Chart -- AR and astronomy



The state of virtual reality — from furthermore.equinox.com by Rachael Schultz
How the latest advancements are optimizing performance, recovery, and injury prevention


Virtual reality is increasingly used to enhance everything from museum exhibits to fitness classes. Elite athletes are using VR goggles to refine their skills, sports rehabilitation clinics are incorporating it into recovery regimes, and others are using it to improve focus and memory.

Here, some of the most exciting things happening with virtual reality, as well as what’s to come.



Augmented Reality takes 3-D printing to next level — from rtoz.org


Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work. To use the Robotic Modeling Assistant (RoMA), a designer wears an AR headset with hand controllers. As soon as a design feature is completed, the robotic arm prints the new feature.




From DSC:
How might the types of technologies being developed and used by Kazendi’s Holomeeting be used for building/enhancing learning spaces?





AR and Blockchain: A Match Made in The AR Cloud — from medium.com by Ori Inbar


In my introduction to the AR Cloud I argued that in order to reach mass adoption, AR experiences need to persist in the real world across space, time, and devices.

To achieve that, we will need a persistent realtime spatial map of the world that enables sharing and collaboration of AR Experiences among many users.

And according to AR industry insiders, it’s poised to become:

“the most important software infrastructure in computing”

aka: The AR Cloud.





The WIRED Guide to the Blockchain — from wired.com by Klint Finley
It’s super secure and slightly hard to understand, but the idea of creating tamper-proof databases has captured the attention of everyone from anarchist techies to staid bankers.


Depending on who you ask, blockchains are either the most important technological innovation since the internet or a solution looking for a problem.

It’s too early to say which experiments will work out or whether the results of successful experiments will resemble the bitcoin blockchain. But the idea of creating tamper-proof databases has captured the attention of everyone from anarchist techies to staid bankers.

The Future of Blockchain
Despite the blockchain hype—and many experiments—there’s still no “killer app” for the technology beyond currency speculation. And while auditors might like the idea of immutable records, as a society we don’t always want records to be permanent.

Blockchain proponents admit that it could take a while for the technology to catch on. After all, the internet’s foundational technologies were created in the 1960s, but it took decades for the internet to become ubiquitous.

That said, the idea could eventually show up in lots of places. For example, your digital identity could be tied to a token on a blockchain. You could then use that token to log in to apps, open bank accounts, apply for jobs, or prove that your emails or social-media messages are really from you. Future social networks might be built on connected smart contracts that show your posts only to certain people or enable people who create popular content to be paid in cryptocurrencies. Perhaps the most radical idea is using blockchains to handle voting. The team behind the open source project Soverign built a platform that organizations, companies, and even governments can already use to gather votes on a blockchain.





FREEDOM 2.0 – Blockchain’s Biggest Use Case with Richie Etwaru @richieetwaru — with thanks to Mike Mathews for his posting this on LinkedIn


While the Internet has profoundly impacted global society, new questions must be asked. When the human species reflects on the Internet in 2081 a hundred years after its invention will the Internet be viewed as good for our species, and has the impact of the set of adjacent inventions of the Internet furthered the triumph of the human species? Did we connect the last billion with mobility, did we distribute wealth meaningfully, and was basic healthcare democratized? Or, did social media coupled with mobile cameras create a spike in vanity that affected important social constructs such as love, self-esteem and family? Did AI create a new class system of robo sapiens that constrict freedom? And did we change the core of commerce of trust between citizens, communities and governments? Maybe; the Internet is only 49% of the story of our species, and the remaining 51% of our story is still unfolding. Richie will discuss the other 51% which he believes is blockchain, and how we can change the answers to some of these new types of questions of mankind.








The Advantages of Blockchain Technology — from hortonworks.com by Ryan Wheeler


Blockchain ensures data objectivity—a single source of truth. Blockchain also represents a security layer that ensures that data is encrypted in such a way that only the people you want to can read your data. It makes it next to impossible for people to corrupt or manipulate the data—or even gain wrongful access to it—because the system raises an instant red flag when a problem occurs, and it uses a new, advanced encryption method to secure the data.

Blockchain is both reactionary—alerting users to changes—and proactive, by preventing the security threat. And even if the data is somehow breached, it still can’t be used. The effects have already been seen in the healthcare industry, where technologies using blockchain have provided the proper balance of security and governance for people’s health data.




From DSC:
Interesting to see this new platform developing, one that combines 2 big trends — blockchain and freelancing:




Also interesting to see:


“Peculium: The first savings system in cryptocurrency utilizing AIEVE and Blockchain Technology with artificial intelligence. PECULIUM revolutionizes savings management by deploying immutable Smart-Contracts over Ethereum blockchain.”






Addendum/also see:


The blockchain provides a rich, secure, and transparent platform on which to create a global network for higher learning. This Internet of value can help to reinvent higher education in a way the Internet of information alone could not.




Blockchain and Distributed Web: Why You Should Care — from ideou.com


To help get our heads around emerging tech, we invited our IDEO friends, IDEO CoLab, in for a Creative Confidence Series session about emerging tech (and why you should care).

In this first session, we sat down with CoLab’s Joe Gerber and Gavin McDermott to talk about the distributed web and blockchain and why it’s important to experiment with these emerging technologies. Many people conflate blockchain and bitcoin, but as Joe and Gavin discussed, bitcoin is just the tip of the spear and one small piece of a larger movement of blockchain and the distributed web. In this post, we’ll break down why, as Joe and Gavin say, the web is being rewritten from the inside out.

First, some definitions:

  • Blockchain: A blockchain is a peer-to-peer network that logs shared information about transactions. It’s provable because the transaction is validated by a broad network of computers. Joe quoted Vitalik Buterin likening blockchain to “a database we all agree on.” The magic of blockchain is that it solves the problem of digital abundance and computers’ innate ability for infinite copying by creating scarcity, ensuring that only one copy of something exists.
  • Bitcoin: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that uses blockchain technology, but there are a number of different applications for blockchain including contracts (smart contracts) and other types of information.
  • Distributed web: A movement that’s a complete reimagining of today’s internet infrastructure, it includes new and different protocols. We rely on protocols every day for things like email (simple mail transfer protocol, SMTP, allows Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail to all communicate) or for web browsing (hypertext transfer protocol, HTTP). In the distributed web, new peer-to-peer networks that do not rely on centralization are being built.


These technologies are still in their early days of construction and the blueprints are changing every day. What Joe and Gavin would recommend is that you start to experiment and prototype with these technologies to test assumptions for how they could affect your business. Don’t get ready, get started.






Top 10 Technology Trends for 2018: IEEE Computer Society Predicts the Future of Tech — from computer.org


The top 10 technology trends predicted to reach adoption in 2018 are:

  1. Deep learning (DL)
  2. Digital currencies.
  3. Blockchain.
  4. Industrial IoT.
  5. Robotics.
  6. Assisted transportation.
  7. Assisted reality and virtual reality (AR/VR).
  8. Ethics, laws, and policies for privacy, security, and liability.
  9. Accelerators and 3D.
  10. Cybersecurity and AI.

Existing Technologies: We did not include the following technologies in our top 10 list as we assume that they have already experienced broad adoption:

A. Data science
B. “Cloudification”
C. Smart cities
D. Sustainability
E. IoT/edge computing




Also relevant/see:





18 striking AI Trends to watch in 2018 – Part 1 as well as 18 striking AI Trends to watch in 2018 – Part 2 — from datahub.packtpub.com by Sugandha Lahoti


Artificial Intelligence is the talk of the town. It has evolved past merely being a buzzword in 2016, to be used in a more practical manner in 2017. As 2018 rolls out, we will gradually notice AI transitioning into a necessity. We have prepared a detailed report, on what we can expect from AI in the upcoming year. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride through the future. (Don’t forget to wear your VR headgear! )

Here are 18 things that will happen in 2018 that are either AI driven or driving AI:

  1. Artificial General Intelligence may gain major traction in research.
  2. We will turn to AI enabled solution to solve mission-critical problems.
  3. Machine Learning adoption in business will see rapid growth.
  4. Safety, ethics, and transparency will become an integral part of AI application design conversations.
  5. Mainstream adoption of AI on mobile devices
  6. Major research on data efficient learning methods
  7. AI personal assistants will continue to get smarter
  8. Race to conquer the AI optimized hardware market will heat up further
  9. We will see closer AI integration into our everyday lives.
  10. The cryptocurrency hype will normalize and pave way for AI-powered Blockchain applications.
  11. Advancements in AI and Quantum Computing will share a symbiotic relationship18 striking AI Trends to watch in 2018 – Part 1
  12. Deep learning will continue to play a significant role in AI development progress.
  13. AI will be on both sides of the cybersecurity challenge.
  14. Augmented reality content will be brought to smartphones.
  15. Reinforcement learning will be applied to a large number of real-world situations.
  16. Robotics development will be powered by Deep Reinforcement learning and Meta-learning
  17. Rise in immersive media experiences enabled by AI.
  18. A large number of organizations will use Digital Twin.



Inside AI — from inside.com
The year 2017 has been full of interesting news about Artificial Intelligence, so to close out the year, we’re doing two special retrospective issues covering the highlights.


A Reality Check For IBM’s A.I. Ambitions. MIT Tech Review.
This is a must read piece about the failures, and continued promise, of Watson. Some of the press about Watson has made IBM appear behind some of the main tech leaders, but, keep in mind that Google, Amazon, Facebook, and others don’t do the kinds of customer facing projects IBM is doing with Watson. When you look at how the tech giants are positioned, I think IBM has been vastly underestimated, given that they have the one thing few others do – large scale enterprise A.I. projects. Whether it all works today, or not, doesn’t matter. The experience and expertise they are building is a competitive advantage in a market that is very young where no other companies are doing these types of projects that will soon enough be mainstream.

The Business of Artificial Intelligence. Harvard Business Review.
This cover story for the latest edition of HBR explains why artificial intelligence is the most powerful general purpose technology to come around in a long time. It also looks into some of the key ways to think about applying A.I. at work, and how to expect the next phase of this technology to play out.

The Robot Revolution Is Coming. Just Be Patient. Bloomberg.
We keep hearing that robots and A.I. are about to make us super productive. But when? Sooner than we think, according to this.




An excerpt from A2Apple.com:



Alexa Wants You to Talk to Your Ads — from wired.com by Ricki Harris


There are few electronic devices with which you cannot order a Domino’s pizza. When the craving hits, you can place an order via Twitter, Slack, Facebook Messenger, SMS, your tablet, your smartwatch, your smart TV, and even your app-enabled Ford. This year, the pizza monger added another ordering tool: If your home is one of the 20 million with a voice assistant, you can place a regular order through Alexa or Google Home. Just ask for a large extra-cheese within earshot, and voila—your pizza is in the works.

Amazon’s Alexa offers more than 25,000 skills—the set of actions that serve as applications for voice technology. Yet Domino’s is one of a relatively small number of brands that has seized the opportunity to enter your home by creating a skill of its own. Now that Amazon Echoes and Google Homes are in kitchens and living rooms across the country, they open a window into user behavior that marketers previously only dreamt of. But brands’ efforts to engage consumers directly via voice have been scattershot. The list of those that have tried is sparse: some banks; a couple of fast food chains; a few beauty companies; retailers here and there. Building a marketing plan for Alexa has been a risky venture. That’s because, when it comes to our virtual assistants, no one knows what the *&^& is going on.

But if 2017 was the year that Alexa hit the mainstream, 2018 will be the year that advertisers begin to take her seriously by investing time and money in figuring out how to make use of her.




8 emerging AI jobs for IT pros — from enterprisersproject.com by Kevin Casey
What IT jobs will be hot in the age of AI? Take a sneak peek at roles likely to be in demand


If you’re watching the impact of artificial intelligence on the IT organization, your interest probably starts with your own job. Can robots do what you do? But more importantly, you want to skate where the puck is headed. What emerging IT roles will AI create? We talked to AI and IT career experts to get a look at some emerging roles that will be valuable in the age of AI.




Getting Intelligent About Artificial Intelligence: 6 Ways Executives Can Start — from forbes.comby Davia Temin


This past June, Fortune Magazine asked all the CEOs of the Fortune 500 what they believed the biggest challenge facing their companies was. Their biggest concern for 2017: “The rapid pace of technological change” said 73% of those polled, up from 64% in 2016. Cyber security came in only a far second, at 61%, even after all the mega hacks of the past year.

So, what does “technological change” entail? For almost all Fortune 500 CEOs, it means, in part, artificial intelligence. And, as we wrote in our piece yesterday on Forbes.com, “Forget The Hype: What Every Business Leader Needs To Know About Artificial Intelligence Now,”  AI is on the lips of almost every global CEO and Board of Directors.

But apart from the Big 8 technology companies – Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba – business leaders, especially of earlier generations, may feel they don’t know enough about AI to make informed decisions.




Artificial intelligence is helping astronomers discover new planets — from wired.co.uk
AI could help us discover planet nine, dark matter and more gravitational waves


For the first time, artificial intelligence has been used to discover two new exoplanets. One of the discoveries, made by Nasa’s Kepler mission, brings the Kepler-90 solar system to a total of 8 planets – the first solar system found with the same number as our own.





Blockchain, Bitcoin and the Tokenization of Learning — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In 2014, Kings College in New York became the first university in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin for tuition payments, a move that seemed more of a PR stunt than the start of some new movement. Much has changed since then, including the value of Bitcoin itself, which skyrocketed to more than $19,000 earlier this month, catapulting cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

A handful of other universities (and even preschools) now accept Bitcoin for tuition, but that’s hardly the extent of how blockchains and tokens are weaving their way into education: Educators and edtech entrepreneurs are now testing out everything from issuing degrees on the blockchain to paying people in cryptocurrency for their teaching.


Take LiveEdu, for example, a Y Combinator-backed online learning company that touts itself as being the “next-gen Lynda.com,” referring to a platform that offers online courses and skills training. LiveEdu intends to offer user-created, project-based learning videos, and is currently undergoing an presale initial coin offering (ICO), where it aims to sell 8 million “EDU” tokens.





DC: The next generation learning platform will likely offer us such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences such as this “flight simulator for teachers.”

Virtual reality simulates classroom environment for aspiring teachers — from phys.org by Charles Anzalone, University at Buffalo

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Two University at Buffalo education researchers have teamed up to create an interactive classroom environment in which state-of-the-art virtual reality simulates difficult student behavior, a training method its designers compare to a “flight simulator for teachers.”

The new program, already earning endorsements from teachers and administrators in an inner-city Buffalo school, ties into State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher’s call for innovative teaching experiences and “immersive” clinical experiences and teacher preparation.

The training simulator Lamb compared to a teacher flight simulator uses an emerging computer technology known as virtual reality. Becoming more popular and accessible commercially, virtual reality immerses the subject in what Lamb calls “three-dimensional environments in such a way where that environment is continuous around them.” An important characteristic of the best virtual reality environments is a convincing and powerful representation of the imaginary setting.


Also related/see:


  • TeachLive.org
    TLE TeachLivE™ is a mixed-reality classroom with simulated students that provides teachers the opportunity to develop their pedagogical practice in a safe environment that doesn’t place real students at risk.  This lab is currently the only one in the country using a mixed reality environment to prepare or retrain pre-service and in-service teachers. The use of TLE TeachLivE™ Lab has also been instrumental in developing transition skills for students with significant disabilities, providing immediate feedback through bug-in-ear technology to pre-service teachers, developing discrete trial skills in pre-service and in-service teachers, and preparing teachers in the use of STEM-related instructional strategies.






This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry — from Lora Kolodny and Erin Black

  • MEL Science raised $2.2 million in venture funding to bring virtual reality chemistry lessons to schools in the U.S.
  • Eighty-two percent of science teachers surveyed in the U.S. believe virtual reality content can help their students master their subjects.


This start-up uses virtual reality to get your kids excited about learning chemistry from CNBC.



From DSC:
It will be interesting to see all the “places” we will be able to go and interact within — all from the comfort of our living rooms! Next generation simulators should be something else for teaching/learning & training-related purposes!!!

The next gen learning platform will likely offer such virtual reality-enabled learning experiences, along with voice recognition/translation services and a slew of other technologies — such as AI, blockchain*, chatbots, data mining/analytics, web-based learner profiles, an online-based marketplace supported by the work of learning-based free agents, and others — running in the background. All of these elements will work to offer us personalized, up-to-date learning experiences — helping each of us stay relevant in the marketplace as well as simply enabling us to enjoy learning about new things.

But the potentially disruptive piece of all of this is that this next generation learning platform could create an Amazon.com of what we now refer to as “higher education.”  It could just as easily serve as a platform for offering learning experiences for learners in K-12 as well as the corporate learning & development space.


I’m tracking these developments at:



The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV


*  Also see:

Blockchain, Bitcoin and the Tokenization of Learning — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson


In 2014, Kings College in New York became the first university in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin for tuition payments, a move that seemed more of a PR stunt than the start of some new movement. Much has changed since then, including the value of Bitcoin itself, which skyrocketed to more than $19,000 earlier this month, catapulting cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

A handful of other universities (and even preschools) now accept Bitcoin for tuition, but that’s hardly the extent of how blockchains and tokens are weaving their way into education: Educators and edtech entrepreneurs are now testing out everything from issuing degrees on the blockchain to paying people in cryptocurrency for their teaching.





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