12 tech trends that will define 2018

No one can predict how the future will shake out in terms of upcoming tech trends, but we can make some educated guesses.

No one can predict how the future will shake out, but we can make some educated guesses.

Global design and strategy firm frog has released its forecastsfor the technologies that will define the upcoming year. Last year, the firm correctly predicted that buildings would harness the power of nature and that businesses would continue using artificially-intelligent bots to run efficiently.

Get ready to step into the future.

Artificial intelligence will inspire how products are designed

Companies like Airbnb and Netflix already infuse AI into their products in a host of ways, generally to the customer's benefit.

Senior strategist Viral Shah and technology director Matteo Penzo believe 2018 will see far more companies centering their product design around the best use of AI.

Other companies will join Google in the 'Algorithm Hall of Fame'

Google's PageRank feature — the search engine's ability to display the optimal results consistently at the top — may be the company's greatest achievement using algorithms.

Frog's principal solutions architect, Gonzalo Garcia-Perate, expects other companies to make similar leaps in 2018. They will join Google in the "Algorithm Hall of Fame," he wrote.

He said likely candidates include the first company to achieve full vehicle autonomy or create platforms to make universal basic income a possibility.

Virtual and augmented reality will become communal experiences

Right now, virtual reality is a pretty isolating experience. You put on a headset and immerse yourself in a world that only you inhabit.

Going forward, says frog visual designer Seth Mach, VR (and its cousin, augmented reality, or AR) will allow people to explore untold worlds together. They'll get to play, work, and explore communally — in alternate realities.

Democracy will cozy up to the blockchain

Frog strategists Kristina Phillips and Sally Darby believe the rise of blockchain technology won't be limited to cryptocurrencies in 2018. They see it moving into much larger arenas of society, including government.

Augmented reality will invite questions about intellectual property

Physical works of art are the property of their creators, but with augmented reality enabling consumers to add infinite changes, frog strategist Kristina Phillips wonders how this will change the nature of intellectual property in 2018.

Consumer tech will feel even friendlier

Today's digital assistants and smartphones aren't boxy with sharp edges. They're rounded, soft, and inviting, notes frog strategist Sam Haddaway. That trend will only continue into 2018, as tech starts to play a more integrated role in our daily lives.

Tech will become inclusive for all

Frog knowledge manager Justine Lee suspects 2018 will see a lot more innovation, allowing tech to become accessible to all.

She pointed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as a sign of good things to come: In October, Nadella emphasized his company would prioritize accessibility, having seen the difficulties firsthand in his son, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Anonymous data will make life smarter but still private

Frog CEO Harry West believes the emergent trend in 2018 will be low-fidelity audio and visual sensors that can provide vital information about people's behavior without revealing any identifying information.

Ultra-tiny robots will replace medicine for certain patients

Imagine you have a buildup of plaque in your arteries. Normally, you might take some vitamins to clear the blockage. In 2018, a doctor might slip a nanorobot down your throat to crawl through your system and eat the plaque itself, according to frog interaction designer Tingyu Chen and solutions architect Jona Moore.

The way we get around will fundamentally transform

Electric vehicles (EVs) and ride-sharing are taking over the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle market, and it could reach a tipping point in 2018, wrote strategist Sam Haddaway and vice president of strategy Timothy Morey.

Businesses will use data and machine learning to cater to customers

There are already a slew of companies that cater your shopping experience specifically to you, including Amazon's re-order feature and subscription services that curate items based on your past preferences.

Toshi Mogi, frog assistant vice president of strategy and innovation, along with Madhavi Rao, senior strategist, believe this customization trend will only increase in 2018.

Social media will take on more corporate responsibility

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