Ambient experience, exponential intelligence, and quantum are three technologies that are waiting in the wings and will likely become macro forces toward the end of the 2020s, according to Global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.

“Like cloud technologies before them, they will evolve over time and perhaps cross-pollinate with other forces to create something wholly new,” reads Tech Trends 2020, Deloitte’s 11th annual examination of the emerging technology trends.

Here is a look at these three technologies and how they are poised to make significant business contributions in the coming years:

Ambient Experience

According to Deloitte, ambient experience represents a world where the physical and the digital are intertwined in such a simple and elegant manner that humans shift to natural, intuitive, and increasingly subconscious—maybe even unconscious—ways of engaging with complex technologies.

“Ambient experience envisions a future in which technology is simply part of the environment. Computing devices continue to increase in power and shrink in size. These ever-smaller devices are evolving our input from unnatural (pointing, clicking, and swiping) to natural (speaking, gesturing, and thinking) and their interactions from reactive (answering questions) to proactive (making unanticipated suggestions),” the report reads.



Humans and devices are becoming increasingly inseparable as devices become seamless and ubiquitous. In an ambient experience, tiny, connected, context-aware devices are embedded throughout the office, home, and beyond. They will in fact function as part of the background.

Read more: How to Keep an Edge in the Era of Pervasive AI?

Also, direct brain and neural interaction could be made possible using neurofeedback technology, which today enables game-playing through brainwave analysis. Such an experience will allow humans to think a question or request and have an appropriate response or action delivered right away.  

“For example, thinking, ‘I need to leave for the airport in an hour’ could trigger a cascade of background activity, including arrangements for automated flight check-in, a virtual boarding pass for biometric screening, a self-driving car programmed to activate at the correct terminal, setting your home smart system to ‘away’, and halting deliveries for the duration of the trip.”

The impact of the ambient experience will be felt across a wide range of areas, including:

  • Internet of Things
  • Machine-to-machine interfaces
  • “Smart” devices
  • Computer vision
  • Intelligent conversational interfaces
  • Beacons
  • 5G
  • Edge computing
  • 3D object modeling
  • Spatial computing
  • Dynamic digital content management
  • Digital identities
  • Brain-computer interfaces
  • Extrasensory computing

Exponential Intelligence

Exponential intelligence is defined by Deloitte as a general-purpose superintelligence, which can build confident predictions, algorithms, and automated responses across complex, dynamic, and constantly evolving domains.  

“Exponential intelligence will build on today’s cognitive capabilities. Today, machine intelligence can find patterns in data but can’t interpret whether those patterns have inherent sense. It can’t recognize and respond to the nuances of human interaction and emotion. And it is also very narrow—it can defeat a human chess grandmaster but can’t understand the need to flee from a room on fire,” says Tech Trends 2020 report.

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According to Deloitte’s analysis, virtual assistants will increasingly be able to recognize—and adapt to—human moods in the future.

“And as researchers make progress at creating broad, not just narrow, expertise, exponential intelligence will be able to move beyond the statistical and computational. It will ultimately lead to more capable AI with, dare we say, personality.”

The impact of the ambient experience will be felt across a wide range of areas, including:

  • Deep learning
  • Neural networks
  • Symbolic AI
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Generative confrontational networks
  • Semantic computing
  • Advanced data management
  • Advanced visualization
  • Data simulation engines
  • Cognitive assistance
  • Autonomics
  • Algorithm exchanges
  • Dynamic taxonomy platforms
  • Quantum algorithms

Quantum

Quantum, in Deloitte’s words, represents the evolution of computing to harness the power of quantum dynamics to drastically unlock new insights and workloads.

“Quantum harnesses the counterintuitive properties of subatomic particles to process information and perform new types of computation, communicate ‘unhackably,’ miniaturize tech, and more. For quantum computing, the special properties of these quantum bits, or qubits, have the potential to create exponential change. By manipulating individual particles, quantum computers will be able to solve certain highly complex problems that are too big and messy for current supercomputers—from data science to material science,” the report states.

According to the analysis, quantum computers will increasingly supplement classical computers as researchers overcome existing technical limitations.

“Data scientists will be able to scan ever-larger volumes of data for correlations; material scientists can use qubits to simulate atoms in ways that are impracticable on classical computers; and fascinating possibilities exist in many other areas including communications, logistics, security and cryptography, energy, and more.”

The impact of the ambient experience will be felt across a wide range of areas, including:

  • Hybrid quantum/classical algorithms
  • Advanced quantum SDKs
  • Native quantum algorithms
  • Quantum machine learning
  • Quantum cryptography
  • Quantum communication
  • Quantum sensing
  • Advanced quantum simulators
  • Quantum computing
  • Quantum annealing
  • Topological quantum computing

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