Alibaba Predicts Technology Trends in 2019

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Technology made great advances in 2018. Wireless companies made grand progress in 5G technology; the uses of 3D-printing are expanding; and the first gene-edited twins were born. So what can we expect from 2019

Alibaba Damo Academy predicts a number of technology trends they expect to see this year.

5G (source: Damo Academy)
5G (source: Damo Academy)

Topping the list of predictions is the trending topic of 5G. Since last year, smartphone manufacturers have been competing against each other in being the first to deliver a 5G handset, such as releasing the first 5G tweet, first 5G Wechat video call etc. This year, 5G wireless connection, which is said to be able to up the connection speed of 4G by nearly 100 times, is very likely to become a reality.

Once established, 5G can speed up the development of ultra-high-definition videos and immersive interaction based on AR/VR. As connection capability reaches billions of devices, it will enable communication and connection between machines. Networks will also evolve into the cloud or become software-based.

AI Chips (source: Damo Academy)
AI Chips (source: Damo Academy)

Another technology Alibaba is expecting to develop in 2019 is AI chips. Data transfer between computing and memory has always been a frustrating hurdle for AI training in data centers. And as the demand for data bandwidth in AI chips increases, memory-centric AI chip architecture based on a new 3D-stacked memory technology will become mainstream.

Furthermore, brain-inspired neuromorphic computing chips will rise in popularity this year, while researchers seek killer applications. Specialized AI chips may even challenge the dominant position of GPUs for AI training in data centers. AI chips with an architecture that truly reflect domain-specific features are expected to be used more and more in edge computing.

Self Driving (source: Damo Academy)
Self Driving (source: Damo Academy)

Companies like Google and Baidu have been working on optimizing autonomous driving. It was estimated that vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems will advance the development of autonomous driving. In the coming two to three years, new technological progress should be seen in certain commercial areas, such as logistics and transportation, with fixed-route public transport and unmanned delivery for commercial buildings and campuses.

Alibaba also predicts that data security, blockchain, and speech AI will thrive this year. One can only speculate on whether these predictions will come true or not.

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