What were the golden periods of innovation in modern history? Significant innovation did not occur during phases of economic prosperity or when business was conducted peacefully.
Contrary to expectations, innovation has always flourished during times of deep economic turmoil or prolonged world conflicts. For example, if we look at the patents filed in the past 250 years, the biggest surge in inventions came during the Great Depression.
Economic historian Alexander Field considers the 1930s to be the most technologically progressive decade of the 20th century. The Great Depression produced several important inventions such as the analog computer, jet engine, frozen food process, the electron microscope, radio telescope, and even the car radio.
Artificial intelligence will transform 2021 by accelerating pharmaceutical drug discovery beyond Covid. It will change the face of telecommuting and will make devices around us truly intelligent through edge computing. Before we look at these trends, we must first recognize three critical changes in how business was done in 2020. This created the foundation for next year’s trends.
- AI will transform drug discovery and development well beyond Covid-19
AI helped fast-track the Coronavirus vaccine tremendously, cutting timelines from 10 years to 10 months. Moderna has used a digital-first approach since its inception in 2010. It accumulated a wealth of drug discovery data and applied algorithms to fast-track its mRNA vaccine. However, this use of artificial intelligence for drug discovery was just a pilot. We will see more significant advances in 2021.
- AI will transform telecommuting and unlock the future of work
We spent a sizable portion of our work time this year on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet. The battle for supremacy will continue amongst these top players into 2021. Startups that aren’t burdened by legacy product features will reinvent this space. For example, Vowel is a venture-funded video conferencing tool that lets you transcribe, search, and share your meetings.
- AI will transform edge computing and make devices around us truly intelligent
We are seeing an explosion of smart devices and IoT (Internet of Things) sensors. Over 35 billion devices are expected to be in use worldwide in 2021. Most of these devices aren’t smart. They depend on a centralized server for their intelligence. Data continuously travels between the devices and the cloud, where all the computing happens. This introduces latency and makes the devices expensive.
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To support for AI technology and development for social impact, Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation (MDI) and Boston Global Forum (BGF) has established Artificial Intelligence World Society Innovation Network (AIWS.net). In this effort, MDI and BGF invite participation and collaboration with governments, think tanks, universities, non-profits, firms, and other entities that share its commitment to the constructive and development of full-scale AI for world society. This initiative is to develop positive AI for helping people achieve well-being and happiness, relieve them of resource constraints and arbitrary/inflexible rules and processes, and solve important issues, such as SDGs.