Smart Home, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence

Featured Photo Credit: abdullah.khan2012, https://flic.kr/p/bo1R92

A new year means a new season for advancements in technology. Some of the most anticipated advancements are in Smart Home tech, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence.

Smart Home Technology

Smart Home tech functions like a Siri in your house – Current examples normally respond to a voice command and speak back. They can tell you the weather, news, and play music on command. Some examples that people already use are:

  • Alexa
  • Echo

The Forbes website listed Smart Home technology as a trend likely to dominate the market in the upcoming year. From where it is now, Smart Home tech can grow exponentially. Potentially, Smart Home tech could be used to order groceries when the fridge is low, change the temperature based on the weather outside, and even work as a sort of technological servant. Think of the Black Mirror episode – it could be in charge of everything from your schedule to your toast.

The current version seems unnecessary to me. Then again, I don’t actually have one of my own. If future adaptations of the technology advance as far as expected, then I could see the appeal.

Virtual/Augmented Reality

Virtual or Augmented reality is a computer generated three dimensional environment according to virtualrealitysociety.org. Most people think of gaming potential, but there are other practical applications. It could be used in:

  • Video games
  • Architecture
  • Medicine
  • Therapy

The technology is so new that there is almost endless room for advancement. One of the most promising areas of potential is in fear exposure therapies. Oftentimes people with fear or anxieties face small amounts of exposure proctored by a professional to help become used to the stimuli.

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Photo Credit: William Cromar,  https://flic.kr/p/8CGdTH

Virtual reality is a way to accomplish this without the potential risk of physical interaction. For example, a person with a fear of spiders could be in a virtual room with spiders but physically be completely safe. This opens doors for advancements in this field and many others that are similar.

Virtual Reality sounds like a really good tool for everything from entertainment to therapy. There are a lot of interesting uses for Virtual reality outside of gaming, and I can see it being a beneficial part of everyday life in the future.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is the technology where a machine is programmed to work in a way that mimics human thought. Stanford University explained that it is the idea of creating computers with intelligence. We already use some examples today:

  • drones
  • siri
  • face recognition
  • spam filtering

There has been a lot of buzz in the media about self-driving cars and the potential they hold. While the technology is not quite ready yet, companies continue to test prototypes and implement smaller aspects into modern cars already on the market. Self-parking cars have already hit the roads.

A more practical application is in the world of medicine. The website medicalfuturist.com cites artificial intelligence as a future benefit to medicine. It could act as a tool for organizing patient schedules and  creating a treatment plan without the lengthy paperwork. It is already being used in some hospitals and doctors offices.

In addition to these practical uses, artificial intelligence has a future in social media as well. Snapchat has become an excellent example of this. The Snapchat filters use facial recognition already, and users love them. This could be a cue other platforms to use the tech too.

I’m normally open to technological advances, but in this case I’ve seen Avengers: Age of Ultron. That movie plot revolves around artificial intelligence going rogue and becoming a threat to the world. Then again, this seems far-fetched and artificial intelligence has the potential to help the world in a lot of ways. For now I’m trying to stay open-minded and not worry about the future machine overlords. Time will tell.

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