VR, AI Advances Driving 10 Hot Tech Trends for 2018

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VR, AI Advances Driving 10 Hot Tech Trends for 2018

Virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and other “smart” technologies will profoundly redefine our lives in 2018, according to a recent “predictions” survey from Ericsson ConsumerLab. The resulting report, titled “10 Hot Consumer Trends 2018,” indicates that we will soon use our entire bodies to interact with tech, and robots will become increasingly human-like. What’s more, AR/VR will grow so sophisticated that we’ll be able to “walk” inside photos and “relive” the experience. Indeed, tech advancements are arriving so quickly that survey respondents said they struggle to keep up with it all. More than 5,140 global “advanced internet users” took part in the research. Charts and graphics were provided by Ericsson ConsumerLab.

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Trend No. 1: Our Bodies Will Gain Closer Connections to Machines

More than one-half of current users of intelligent voice assistants believe we will use body language, intonation, touch and gestures to interact with tech just like we do with people. Two out of three expect this to happen within only three years.

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Trend No. 2: Many Consumers Will Wear Earphones 24/7

Consumers expect more from their devices’ earphones, with 63 percent seeking those that translate languages in real time. More than four of five survey respondents predict that earphones that charge wirelessly—so you never have to take them out—will emerge as mainstream within five years.

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Trend No. 3: Onslaught of New Technologies Will Complicate Everyday Tasks

As many as 30 percent of survey respondents said new technology makes it impossible to keep their skills up to date, making them feel like “total beginners” even when performing everyday tasks. The modern learning curve is more immediate than ever, as 46 percent said the internet allows them to learn—and forget—skills faster than ever, using them only “in the moment.”

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Trend No. 4: AI to 'Fact-Check' Social Media Postings

A clear majority of survey respondents—55 percent—said influential groups use social networks to broadcast their own messages. One-half would like to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to check whether facts stated on social networks are true.

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Trend No. 5: Via VR, Ads Will Replace the 'Real Thing'

Just over one-half of consumers who use augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) believe that ads that use these technologies could become so realistic that they’ll replace the products being advertised. Ericsson ConsumerLab has also found that 42 percent of survey respondents believe companies will use these technologies to create “intelligent” ads that know exactly how to persuade consumers to buy products and services.

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Trend No. 6: Robots Will Act and Sound More Like Us

As researchers develop AI-enabled robots that mimic human expression, 50 percent of survey respondents said it would “spook them out” to not be able to tell the difference between another person and a machine. Similarly, 40 percent said it would feel “spooky” if their smartphone could tell if they were happy, sad or bored.

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Trend No. 7: Machines Could Create a 'Leisure Society'7

As machines increasingly take on tasks once assigned to man, 40 percent of survey respondents said they’d like to have a robot “alter ego” who earns an income for them. One-third dream of a day when robots handle everything in their lives, so they have all the free time they could ever want.

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Trend No. 8: We'll Relive Events Through VR-Enabled Photographs

Three of four survey respondents predict that it will be commonplace to take photos at life events and then “relive” them using VR. The potential extent of AR/VR functionality is so great that 56 percent would like to have contact lenses with these technologies.

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Trend No. 9: Cities Will Need to Play 'Traffic Cop' for Drones

Nearly two of five survey respondents feel their city needs a road network for drones and flying vehicles. Just as many worry about drones falling on their heads.

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Trend No. 10: New Smart Batteries Won't Need Much Charging

Ericsson ConsumerLab indicates that 56 percent of survey respondents expect smart battery technology to change how we power everything, from phones to cars. For example, 71 percent seek long-lasting batteries that rarely need charging, as well as batteries that can be fully charged in minutes.

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Amazon Adds New Echo Models to Next-Generation Smart Home Lineup

Amazon has introduced an updated Echo smart home device along with three new models, the Echo Plus, the Echo Spot and the Echo Look hands-free camera, all controlled by the Alexa digital assistant.
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