The Essential Eight

Techweek is a week dedicated to sharing innovation and new technologies to everyone and in light of this, we introduce what is known as the “Essential Eight”, eight technologies PwC predicts will have the greatest global impact in the near future.

Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the development and theory of computer systems that can do things that seem very human like perceiving objects, recognising speech, and making decisions. Systems that do these things learn and improve themselves in a similar way to how our own brains learn. They can be used for predicting the future, helping in research, interacting with humans and much more.

Augmented reality
Augmented reality involves altering elements of the real world, blending both the physical and virtual worlds together. This has many possible applications in many fields, including interactive ways of learning, helping people make things, and visualisation.

Blockchain allows for data to be recorded without it being able to be tampered with. ‘Blocks’ of records are encrypted and decentralised, allowing for reliable and accurate storage of data. One example of its use is recording online transactions, but it leads well to storing any kind of records such as medical records, identity management, and voting.

A drone is a vehicle that operates without a human driver. You may hear about them being under development in the military, however, there are many other exciting uses for them. These range from filming and photography, to agriculture monitoring, search and rescue, and even archaeology.

Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a network of physical objects all connected together. This connectivity allows these devices to coordinate with each other to accomplish tasks, for example using your phone at work to control the AC at home. The scope of this technology can be from personal use to larger scale uses such as transportation networks in cities.

Robots can be made to do tasks that are too dangerous or menial for humans or tasks that some of us are physically incapable of doing. Although there are fears that robots will impact the job market, if used wisely, robots can benefit our economy and the quality of lives of millions around the world.

Virtual reality
If AR is viewing a digitally altered real world, then VR is viewing an entirely new world altogether. This allows you to immerse yourself in situations that may be difficult to experience in real life. One of the exciting uses for VR (other than cool games) is health and safety training. By placing trainees in simulations of dangerous situations, VR can help them learn how to respond to the situation without danger to their physical body.

3D printing
3D printing allows you to build a 3D object from seemingly nowhere (you can try one out here at Unleash Space!). Though plastics are most commonly used, the ability to print with other materials such as metal, ceramic or even biological material (for bioengineering) widens the scope of applications of this technology.

Many of these technologies are playing a role in our lives already, and with further development, they can lead to many possible ways to improve our lives. Technology is the framework for possibility. But to turn these possibilities into reality, creativity and innovation must be applied so that these technologies are developed in novel ways that can help us all.

We will showcase people working with these technologies as well as others, in our Technology Trends Speaker Series over the remainder of the year. To find out how people are creating using this technology and developing innovative solutions to problems, check out our next Technology Trends event by keeping an eye on our newsletter or What’s On section.