Telenor identifies tech trends set to reshape lifestyle

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Bjorn Hansen

KUCHING: After rapid year of tech world advancements, setbacks and successes, Telenor Group’s research arm, Telenor Research, has identified several tech trends to study up on for 2019.

In a press statement, it said, while there is no shortage of staggering high-tech feats identified for the year, the notion of ‘responsibility’ resonates through many of this year’s trends.

“The world of technology is constantly on the go. With exciting innovation – which we point to this year in greater scale than ever – comes the need for reflection, pragmatism and perspective. We think that the tech pendulum is swinging in that direction in 2019. People are taking a step back and assessing ‘what do these deeper developments in technology and connectivity mean to me, to my family, my community?’” Telenor Research vice president Bjorn Hansen, said.

“In the end, we all want the assurance that technology – no matter how many steps ahead of us it might seem – can fit into our lives safely, sensibly and positively,” he added.

One of the trends identified by Telenor Research is the concept of ‘deepfake’.

Telenor Research said: “Masks, shades and filters have been all the rage on social media and messaging apps. The iPhone X took the idea further with facial recognition, but as the technology makes even more advances, why stop there? Remember Tom Cruise’s masks in Mission Impossible? Well, doing this in cyberspace is no longer ‘mission impossible’. It’s made very much possible by something the tech world has coined “deepfake”. It’s when Deep Learning meets Fake News (or doctored photos and videos, for that matter).

“2019 will bring us more deepfake content because a large amount of work is going into algorithms called generative adversarial networks (GANs1). A plethora of variants is emerging, and the systems as a whole are learning a lot faster. It is these algorithms that will enable the creation of deepfake content so advanced that we could have a difficult time differentiating between what’s real and what’s fake in the digital world. If people had trouble telling fake news posts apart from real news on social media between 2016 and 2018, it’s very possible that the boundaries will be blurred even more in 2019.”

It highlighted that 2019 could see internet service providers, operators and regulators look seriously into mitigating ‘deepfake’ content, and widespread public awareness campaigns against ‘deepfake’.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also set to be a notable trend in 2019, Telenor Research said.

“In the coming year, we will see public and private bodies setting AI governance frameworks and adopting new codes of conduct to ensure that they operate with high ethical standards. This will be done in order to ensure that AI systems are non-discriminatory, transparent, traceable and secure, and that there are always humans in the loop who are accountable for its design, development and adoption.

“Enabling this, we will also see new venues for AI dialogues happening at all levels of politics, new platforms for education and training in AI, as well as investments in tools and systems that enable ethical AI development,” it predicted.

Another tech trend is the much-talked-about 5G network.

“In 2018, we saw pioneering uses of 5G – like the 5G drone coverage of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. And coming in 2019, we’ll see ‘5G islands’ emerge across the world as large-scale pilots and trials – from Europe to North America and northeast Asia – connect selected communities and business networks.

“Digitising societies has been buzzword among operators, industry bodies and governments over the past few years, but 2019 will be the first year when communities will experience what this actually means, taking towns like Norway’s Kongsberg, a 5G pilot town, as a first example.

“Though 2020 is the year that 5G’s global standard will release, 2019 will see commercial advances in 5G, which we see in the US and areas of Asia already. We’ll also see some of the first marketing campaigns based on 5G. From the first self-driving, 5G-steered buses to automated fisheries, from 5G-driven TV and fixed broadband to potential applications of 5G-powered remote surgery – the 5G floodgates will open in 2019, paving the way for commercial services to hit the market in 2020,” it said.

The internet of things (IoT) is also expected to take a wider bite out of the market via industrial IoT.

“As the LPWA ecosystem matures and as developers have vetted much of its tech stack, we can expect to see industries to roll out large scale IoT, particularly within the arenas of smart cities, industrial manufacturing and process industries, such as shipping, traffic and transport monitoring and fisheries,” said the research group.

Green tech development could also make a more solid ground in 2019 as consumers grow more aware about climate change.

“As climate change worries and awareness of consumption both skyrocket in society, a wave of mobile-driven green technology will help people live and consume more smartly than ever. In 2019, this wave will reach its much needed crest,” Telenor Group said.

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