Society is changing at a blistering rate. Regular advancements in technology are so numerous that it’s hard to keep track of everything, let alone comprehend it all. In this modern world, computers have the biggest impact on our daily lives, and technologies such as mobile Internet and cloud storage are changing the way we live. These disruptive technologies allow humans to do things more efficiently and create new market value, but they also negatively affect the economy by causing older technologies to become obsolete. Here are sometechnologies that are causing the biggest disruptions—both good and bad—in 2013.
Smartphones are used every day by a huge chunk of the population because they are simply so useful. These devices give users the power of a computer in the palm of their hand, and that’s why they’ve become so mainstream. One of the most beneficial features of the smartphone is its ability to access the Internet from anywhere you phone gets service. Mobile Internet has revolutionized business because everything from sending emails and checking bank accounts to having a video conference and doing research online can be done on the move. Mobile Internet also provides smartphone users with hours upon hours of entertainment. You can listen to music online, stream movies and videos, play video games, and download thousands of other fun apps to keep boredom at a distance. Thanks to mobile Internet that’s fast and reliable, smartphones are making laptops see less and less daily use.
Remember when you had to purchase an external hard drive or flash drive to back-up your data? Well, those days are over. Cloud technology allows people to safely store large amounts of data in virtual pools on the Web. Third-party companies are in charge of data centers, and people who need their data to be hosted purchase space from those companies. If you are part of an institution of higher learning or work for certain companies, you may get a limited amount of free cloud storage. Cloud storage is extremely convenient because you can access and download large amounts of data from any device that is hooked up to the Internet. This makes sharing and collaborating with other people much easier than using earlier methods.
Robots are used for a wide variety of applications because they can do things that humans can’t. While they’re probably most commonly seen in manufacturing plants, robots also have their place in research laboratories, military bases, space stations, and a number of other settings. We see robots in the form of unmanned aircraft and watercraft, weapons of war, and used for applications that are considered to be too dangerous, inefficient, or impossible for human participants. With advanced robotics playing such a huge role in today’s world, it’s possible to see robots taking over many jobs that are currently being done by humans. Unfortunately, that also means that robots can put many people out of work. Some experts are afraid that robot technology will become so advanced that the need for human work will gradually decline.
3-D printing refers to the creation of solid objects from a digital model using a materials printer. Unlike traditional machining processes, which typically remove material from existing pieces, 3-D printing involves forming objects by fusing many different layers together. Since this amazing technology can be used to create just about anything from cars to firearms to organs, it’s gained an incredible amount of popularity over the last several years. In fact, the worldwide 3-D printing market increased by 29% from 2011 to 2012 and was valued at well over two billion dollars. Clearly, 3-D printing will play a much bigger role in the future of manufacturing, healthcare and many other industries.
Internet of Things
If you think that mobile Internet is mind-blowing, you’ll be blown away by the Internet of Things. This phrase is used to describe the connectivity between devices such as smartphones and computers to household appliances, watches, entertainment systems, and other electronic devices. The Internet of Things is closely tied to the relationship between machine-to-machine communication, or “smart” devices, that can communicate with one another. These machines are able to communicate with each other using sensors and the Internet, and you can change settings and activate or deactivate them wirelessly at your convenience–even when you’re away from home.
As you can see, technology constantly reshapes our world. We may get used to a certain lifestyle for a number of years, but everything can change drastically in the blink of an eye. These disruptive technologies might be big in 2013, but they might be swept aside by others in the near future.