Cybersecurity guarantees to be main tech theme for 2017, however what are the others?

If 2016 appeared politically tumultuous, 2017 guarantees to be equally tumultuous.

The tempo of change is accelerating at a dizzying charge, with profound implications for the best way we work, play and talk. So what are the massive expertise tendencies to be careful for in 2017?


Cybersecurity will undoubtedly be the dominant theme of 2017, as all tech improvements may very well be undermined by information thefts, fraud and cyber propaganda. Neglect Kim Kardashian, it is hacking that might break the web - and way more apart from. As accusations of Russian interference within the 2016 US presidential election proceed to reverberate all over the world, hackers - whether or not non-public or state-sponsored - would appear to be getting the higher hand. Prof Richard Benham, chairman of the Nationwide Cyber Administration Centre, provides a dire warning: "A serious financial institution will fail on account of a cyber-attack in 2017 resulting in a lack of confidence and a run on that financial institution." In November final 12 months, hackers stole £2.5m from 9,000 Tesco Bank customersin a raid the UK's Monetary Conduct Authority described as "unprecedented".
Woman withdrawing cash at Tesco Bank ATMPicture copyrightPAUL ELLIS
Picture captionFinal 12 months Tesco Financial institution appeared to be providing free money withdrawals to hackers, too
And the extra related the world turns into - suppose related vehicles, sensible houses, sensor-laden cities - the extra alternatives for hackers to interrupt into the system and wreak havoc. "The web of issues (IoT) and industrial web of issues (IIoT) will play a bigger position in focused assaults in 2017," says Raimund Genes, chief expertise officer at cybersecurity firm Pattern Micro. "These assaults will capitalise upon the rising acceptance of related gadgets by exploiting vulnerabilities and unsecured techniques to disrupt enterprise processes, as we noticed with Mirai." The agency additionally predicts that all through 2017 criminals will proceed renting out their ransomware infrastructures - the instruments that allow hackers to interrupt in to your system, encrypt all of your information, then demand a ransom to decrypt it. Hackers can obtain the identical consequence by knocking out your web site or manufacturing facility management techniques in a DDoS [distributed denial of service] assault - flooding your laptop servers with so many requests that they stop functioning. And hackers should not simply inquisitive about stealing information and creating wealth from it, warns Jason Hart, chief expertise officer in control of information safety at Gemalto, a digital safety firm.
Skulls head image made from binary codePicture copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Are hackers starting to get the higher hand?
They're altering it, with doubtlessly dire penalties. "It is scary, however information integrity assaults have the ability to deliver down a whole firm and past; complete inventory markets may very well be poisoned and collapsed by defective information. "The facility grid and different IoT techniques, from visitors lights to the water provide, may very well be severely disrupted if the info they run on had been to be altered," he says. In addition to poorly secured gadgets, gullible people will proceed to be focused, with so-called "enterprise e mail compromise" fraud persevering with to reap wealthy rewards for criminals, specialists predict. Merely tricking workers in to transferring funds to criminals' financial institution accounts is lo-tech however surprisingly efficient, with Pattern Micro reporting that the common payout within the US was $140,000 (£114,000) final 12 months. "Cybercriminals are concentrating on human vulnerabilities," says Prof Benham. "Hundreds of thousands is being spent on expertise, however nothing on consciousness coaching."

Synthetic intelligence

AI was the buzzword of 2016 and appears set to dominate 2017 as nicely - for higher or worse. Enabling machines to study, adapt to new circumstances and make choices for themselves, relatively than merely obeying pre-programmed directions or algorithms, appears to current as many disadvantages as benefits. The pessimists envisage self-programming machines operating amok and breaking freed from human management, with doubtlessly apocalyptic penalties.
However optimists imagine that making use of a extra restrictive, much less autonomous type of machine studying to the wealth of information we at the moment are producing and storing within the cloud might assist establish correlations and patterns that had been unimaginable for people to see earlier than.
And as extra gadgets and sensors turn into related, we'll study much more in regards to the world round us. This capability to make sense of all this information might assist us treatment illness, deal with local weather change, develop meals extra effectively and customarily run our lives in a a lot smarter, extra sustainable means, proponents imagine. Heaps was fabricated from customer support chatbots final 12 months, typically described erroneously as AI in motion, however most of those had been really fairly dumb, merely guessing the more than likely reply to suit the query. Actual AI, underpinned by pure language processing, neural networks and machine studying, will perceive how people suppose, discuss, and categorise ideas, making it smarter and simpler to work together with. And the extra individuals who use it, the extra information it must study from and the higher it is going to turn into. So we're prone to see a proliferation of smarter digital assistants, equivalent to Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, Apple's Siri, and newcomers like Viv. Media captionOlly the robotic develops a special character to go well with every of its customers Companies will use their very own variations of those AI assistants to make sense of all the info they now have to deal with. "With AI we now have the chance to construct decision-support techniques that see, hear, perceive and collaborate with us to assist make choices quicker, extra related and higher knowledgeable," says Gayle Sheppard, normal supervisor of Saffron Expertise, an Intel-owned cognitive computing agency. After all, these always-on listening gadgets related to the cloud pose one other potential safety menace, to not point out privateness issues over what occurs to all the info they're hoovering up. And one other fear about AI is that hackers could have entry to it as nicely - it is a cybersecurity arms race. "AI will energy malware, and can use information from the goal to ship phishing emails that replicate human mannerisms and content material," warns Andy Powell, head of cybersecurity at Capgemini UK, an IT consultancy. "Seeming extra lifelike, these AI powered assaults will resonate with the goal higher than ever earlier than, that means they will be extra prone to fall sufferer." There's merely no escaping the cybersecurity situation in 2017.

Augmented and digital actuality

Whereas Pokemon Go confirmed how augmented or combined actuality tech might take the cell gaming world by storm, 2017 is prone to see extra companies adopting the expertise, too. The advertising and marketing alternatives are apparent, with corporations like BMW linking up with Accenture and Google Tango to create an app that lets clients visualise what varied automotive fashions would seem like in real-world conditions.
Man holding smartphone showing virtual BMW car in a streetPicture copyrightBMW
Augmented actuality purposes ought to grown in reputation this 12 months
Numerous different retailers will probably be utilizing it to reinforce their advertising and marketing. However there are many industrial and academic purposes, too, with sensible glasses and head-up shows enabling employees to observe directions, learn manuals and navigate workplaces extra effectively. Digital actuality continues to be primarily for gaming, however when lighter, quicker headsets are mixed with haptic technologies, coaching and educating purposes will turn into extra viable, too.


As AI more and more takes over from name centre and customer support employees, and automation continues its takeover of producing, the massive query is what new jobs there will probably be for all these redundant employees. We have already seen how the results of globalisation and automation have stirred up voters within the US and doubtlessly throughout Europe this 12 months.
Humanoid robot graphicPicture copyright THINKSTOCK
If robots are going to take a lot of our jobs, what are we going to do as an alternative?
Might there be a brand new Luddite revolution brewing? In spite of everything, who advantages most from cheaper manufacturing? It is actually not the poor. "We'll begin confronting some onerous truths about expertise and the labour pressure," says Tien Tzuo, founding father of subscription expertise platform Zuora. "We'll have to determine how you can create jobs for individuals on this new financial system, and if there actually are going to be fewer jobs, then we'll want to determine some kind of residing commonplace or fundamental earnings for individuals." So 2017 is also the 12 months the world is compelled to deal - lastly - with the tangible impacts of expertise upon human society.