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What Technology is Going To Dominate 2022?

The decade will see unbounded technological advancements

The age of technological breakthroughs is well and truly with us, and with 2022 underway, we take a look at some technologies we can expect to make great strides before the year is out. To be fair, most of these technologies are not ‘new’ but they are still fairly niche industries. Most however, are starting to gain serious momentum and the attention of the masses. We tip that the year 2022 is going to act as a springboard for some of these technologies to really take-off and come further into the mainstream. High technology is growing at an ever faster rate, and the thought of we might have by the year 2030 is really eye-opening.

Artificial Intelligence

One area of advanced technology that has already made great strides in recent years is that of artificial intelligence, or AI for short. Machine self-learning is at the heart of AI, and this is an area that is expected to grow exponentially this year and beyond.

But what really is artificial intelligence? It is a meaning that has changed as technology has evolved. For those unfamiliar with it, here’s a short explainer of what AI is:

“Artificial intelligence is the ability of a computer or a robot controlled by a computer to carry out tasks that would otherwise require intelligent beings, i.e. humans. This goes beyond a digital process that is programmed to perform its task, and requires ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience.”

With software development becoming more cutting edge by the day, we assume that this year alone will see large advances in the field of machine learning. AI is an investment hotspot right now as it has huge growth potential, which could see it be worth around $300 billion by 2026. In 2020 it was worth approximately $50 billion dollars. Needless to say, that’s a pretty impressive year-on-year growth.

There is one things that is certain though, and that is AI divides opinion. For some people, AI is the future and will be a necessary part of our lives as we become an ever more technologically sophisticated species. Others think that AI is just a fad, and there are indeed some people who hope this. The ones who see it as a threat to humanity or a world that’ll be taken over by machines if robots learn to think for themselves.

Although AI is a technology that’s been around for some time, it’s really starting to gather pace and if all the recent hype is anything to go by, 2022 will see it evolve to new levels.

So what do you think about artificial intelligent? Do you think it might just be what we humans need as we evolve into a more advanced species? Do you see it as a threat? Or do you see it as a passing fad?  Let us know in the comments below.

Lithium Metal Batteries

A type of battery that has actually been around a while but is poised to become the next-best thing in the battery world, is the lithium metal battery, which is being touted by some as the Holy Grail of batteries. The term however is slightly confusing—seeing as lithium is a metal—how does it differ from current lithium batteries such as lithium-ion?

A lithium metal battery is described as being a lithium battery with an anode of lithium metal. Still confused? Yeah, so are we. Let’s a take a further look…

The main difference is that Lithium-ion batteries contain ions from lithium but not the actual metal itself. Lithium-ion batteries generally use cobalt as the electrolyte substance, or polymer as with lithium polymer batteries. With lithium metal batteries however, the battery itself contains an anode made from lithium metal.

Let’s look at what the benefits of lithium metal batteries:

Firstly, lithium metal batteries feature a high capacity due to their energy density level. This results in a higher watt-hour per kilogram specific energy rating, giving a longer runtime than any other battery. Secondly, they aren’t reliant on the increasing hard-to-procure metals associated with lithium-ion batteries, such a cobalt and nickel—an industry which has in recent years, been the focus of less-than ethical mining methods and harsh slave-like conditions of workers in the poorest countries. The only downside is that most lithium metal batteries, unlike their lithium-ion counterparts, are not rechargeable. But rechargeable lithium metal batteries are in development, and this is where the industry growth lies. If a commercially viable rechargeable lithium metal battery comes into production, then expect this to take off on a big way.

Driverless Cars

While true fully-automated driving is not yet with us because current laws do not permit it, we have for some years now had some form of autonomous driving features in electric cars, and to a lesser extent in combustion engine models. The famed Tesla Autopilot for example, can perform full self-driving capabilities, it is however, marketed as a driver assistance tool designed to reduce the workload of a fully-attentive driver. 2022 is expected to bring a wave of new vehicles with autonomous driving features, with Nissan and BMW among manufacturers with projects in the works for release in 2022.

Are self-driving cars safer? It has been calculated that if all vehicles on the road were fully automated, crashes would almost be eliminated as it has been estimated that at least 91% of vehicle accidents are due to human error. With that said however, and to the contrary, current automated driving is not without it’s faults and the rate of collisions (9.1 per million miles) is higher than human driving (4.1 per million miles), but with drastically fewer fatalities. So we can assume most accidents involving self-driving cars are relatively minor crashes, and not the devastating kind.

However we look at it, there is no doubt that as we move into the future, there will be more and more self-driving cars on the road.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is a technology that has been trending for a few years now, but what really is it? Augmented reality enhances the user’s real-world experience by incorporating computer-generated perceptual information. This contrasts with virtual reality, which places the user in an entirely simulated environment.

For the most part, AR is essentially placing graphical information on a screen displaying a real-world image. For example, sports broadcasters often display graphics on-screen during a game to display lines, ball trajectories and other game-related aspects that provide the viewer with more insight or information.

AR is all about enhancing the human experience and in a world of ever-smarter handheld devices, coupled with advanced display technologies and clever apps, the uses for augmented reality seem almost endless. Take for example the retail sector, where virtual fitting rooms have allowed users to ‘try’ on items of clothing before they buy. And furniture giants IKEA have developed and app that lets customers see what furniture and other products may look like in their homes using AR technology. In the automotive industry, BMW have designed an AR application that allows customers to experience a new car and its feature without going to the dealership. Indoor navigation and virtual user manuals are also areas where AR is expanding and the education industry stands to benefit from AR technology too.

It certainly looks as if augmented reality is going to be a big part of each individual’s life in the future, and 2022 will see it come further into the mainstream.

Wireless Charging

Wireless charging stands to grow exponentially in 2022 and the years ahead. Although it has been around a while, it is still fairly niche and isn’t used by the masses on a daily basis. But now wireless chargers are becoming more mainstream.

Modern furniture makers are even making desks and table-tops with wireless charging pads embedded into the surface of the unit. This is in addition aided by the industry standard of wireless charging know as ‘Qi’ (chee). Seeing as virtually all devices intended for wireless charging are built to be compatible with Qi, any device that’s capable of wireless charging can be used with almost any charging pad. And with charging pads built into furniture surfaces, it eliminates cables for an even sleeker, tidier look.

And it is not just handheld devices that can benefit from wireless charging. Electric cars stand to gain immensely from wireless charging technology, whereby a car simply parks over a charging station built into the ground and charging starts automatically when the car pulls up. An even more futuristic idea is that there will be wireless charging lanes we drive in, and the vehicle doesn’t even need to stop to charge its batteries as it is being charged while driven.

Home Automation

Home automation, otherwise known as a smart home, is an automation system in the home that monitors and/or controls home attributes such as lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security, such as access and control of locks and alarm systems. These kind of systems often integrate with a smartphone app for ease of control.

Many new homes being built already include home automation systems and more and more people are adopting these kind of features into their homes. With a plethora of app-controlled home automation products available—including light bulbs, thermostats and door locks—it seems anybody can turn their existing home into a smart (or at least smarter) home. It is however still quite a niche market, but it is growing fast and lot of companies are investing in this type of technology, so 2022 will surely see this market expand further.

Space Exploration

Technically not a technology, we just couldn’t do an article on technology in 2022 without mentioning space as there are going to be several ambitious missions launched this year. A European Space Agency probe, with a name we just love - JUICE, will blast off in mid-2022 for Jupiter’s many moons. A failed star, as Jupiter is sometimes called, is made up of all the ingredients needed for star, but lacks the internal mass and pressure required to cause the fusion which creates a star. In that respect, and with it’s many many moons (79 at the last count), Jupiter resembles a mini solar system in itself, and careful navigation is needed to maneuver among it. Indeed, if a maneuver near Ganymede goes to plan in 2032, JUICE will enter its orbit and become the first spacecraft to orbit another planet’s moon.

Continuing the lunar theme back here on Earth will be a host of countries that include India, Japan, Russia and South Korea all planning to launch lunar craft. NASA alone is sponsoring a staggering 18 wide-varying missions into space in 2022. With some of the lunar missions acting as a sort of prelude to returning astronauts to the moon in 2025. All-in-all, there will be a lot of activity regarding our exploration of space in the coming few years.

So there is our take on the technology trends for 2022. The noughties gave us a glimpse of what future technology will be like, the 2010s let us build on that and develop many ‘firsts’, and the 2020s will allow us to really evolve that tech to another level.

But what do you think about the growing amount of technology that is integrating into our lives at a rate faster than ever before? Do you embrace it or are you left feeling a bit overwhelmed? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading, see you next time.

The Kovol Blog Team

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