The Alibaba DAMO Academy, a research and development institute run by Alibaba Group, published its forecast of the trends that would define the global tech industry in 2020.
The academy predicts that 2020 will see artificial intelligence (AI) breakthroughs from perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence. Having reached and even surpassed humans in the areas including natural language processing, video understanding and speech-to-text, it is still far behind in terms of human-like cognitive intelligence.
In-memory computing is another trend that the Damo Academy expects to dominate the 2020. In short, it addresses the “memory wall” challenges in AI computing. Tackling these challenges could significantly improve computation parallelism and power efficiency, giving rise to the next generation of AI.
Additionally, the Academy believes that Industrial IoT will power digital transformations. In 2020, 5G, rapid development of IoT devices, cloud computing and edge computing are expected to accelerate the fusion of information, communication, and industrial control systems. Advanced Industrial IoT will allow manufacturers to achieve automation of machines, in-factory logistics, and production scheduling, as a way to realize C2B smart manufacturing.
Apart from the three largest predictions, the Academy also outlined seven other trends that would shape the new year in tech. According to Alibaba, modular design will make chip production easier and faster by stacking chiplets together. Large-scale production-grade blockchain applications will gain mass adoption as BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-Service) will further reduce the barriers of entry for enterprise blockchain applications.
On top of that, in 2020, the field of quantum computing will receive increasing investment, and experience enhanced competition. New materials will revolutionize the semiconductor industry which is struggling under the pressure of both Moore’s Law and the explosive demand for computing power and storage. Growing adoption of AI technologies that protect data privacy is also seen as imminent. Finally, cloud will become the center of IT technology innovation as the backbone of the entire digital economy.
“We are at the era of rapid technology development. In particular, technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and data intelligence are expected to accelerate the pace of the digital economy,” said Jeff Zhang, Head of Alibaba DAMO Academy and President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “In addition to exploring the unknown through scientific and technological research, we are also working with industry players to foster the applications of innovation in different industries, making technologies more accessible for the businesses and society at large.”