Amazon CTO predictions for 2021: Eight tech trends changing the world
“On December 18, 2020, as the three-week Amazon re:Invent global conference draws to a close, Dr. Werner Vogels, Amazon’s global vice president and chief technology officer, delivered a final speech, sharing his predictions for technology trends in 2021. Werner also looked back on 2020, saying that 2020 is so different, that the way businesses and government agencies work and operate has changed completely.
On December 18, 2020, as the three-week Amazon re:Invent global conference draws to a close, Dr. Werner Vogels, Amazon’s global vice president and chief technology officer, delivered a final speech, sharing his predictions for technology trends in 2021. Werner also looked back on 2020, saying that 2020 is so different, that the way businesses and government agencies work and operate has changed completely. And it is technology that helps us cope with the drastic changes. Online classrooms help children continue their education, online meetings replace business meeting rooms, bar-café meetings, online video allows people to continue having movie nights, technology helps people support their families, educate children and work together, and isolate themselves at home. happy. Instead of slowing us down, the 2020 pandemic has accelerated our march toward the digital world. In his view, thanks to this accelerated change, 2021 will be the launch pad for all kinds of changes. Here are his predictions for next year and beyond.
Cloud will be everywhere (2021, the cloud to the edge will further accelerate)
The days when all cloud functions were centralized in the data center are starting to disappear. You’ll find cloud applications that help ships at sea improve performance, planes fly across the sky, and cloud applications are embedded in cars and into home life. Not only equipment-intensive data centers, but also rural areas, wild areas, and even air and low-Earth orbits can obtain powerful cloud storage and computing capabilities. Clouds are everywhere.
From the perspective of AWS, AWS has deployed a large number of cloud data center regions and access points, making cloud technology increasingly accessible to customers around the world. AWS Snowballs are deployed to research centers on the edge of volcanoes in Hawaii and Antarctica, collecting petabytes of data. AWS Outposts extends the reach of the cloud to customers’ local computer rooms. AWS Local Zones deploy curated cloud infrastructure closer to customer needs, helping customers in urban areas quickly trim their cumbersome data centers. In the kitchen, on the bike in the gym, edge devices can connect to each other with AWS IoT Greengrass. With the expansion of 5G networks, operators have begun to deploy AWS Wavelength Zones, so that applications on 5G terminals can take full advantage of the low latency and high bandwidth of 5G networks. Great things happen when the furthest ends of the network are connected to the cloud at high speed.
When latency is eliminated, some operations that require extremely low latency, from autonomous driving to natural speech processing and translation, and active management of critical infrastructure, will no longer need to commute between remote corners of the planet and a central server, and can operate at the most Do it in place where results are needed. What happens in the end? Self-driving cars become a reality, you can start a more natural conversation with Alexa, and factories, homes, and office spaces become more efficient and flexible. And, if you like to play games, no matter where you are, you don’t have to worry about lag affecting the gaming experience, and you can use your gaming skills to the extreme.
The concept of cloud extends from a central point and enters people’s daily life and work environment. There will be more and more software originally running in the cloud running around to improve people’s lives, from healthcare to transportation, entertainment, manufacturing and so on. In 2021, the cloud’s push to the edge will further accelerate.
The Internet of Machine Learning (machine learning extends from the cloud to the edge)
Data is exploding. Today, one hour produces more data than the entire year in 2000. More data will be produced in the next three years than in the past 30 years. In 2020, scientific researchers, pharmaceutical companies, governments, and medical institutions are turning all their resources toward vaccine development, new treatments, and other means to help us fight the pandemic. Whether you’re a data scientist or not, you’ll have an idea of the data growth curve. We need the ability to handle massive amounts of data. Whether it’s medical or whatever, the only practical way to process all this information is to use data ingestion and aggregation tools combined with machine learning models to help us make sense of it. So, it goes without saying that machine learning has gone mainstream in 2020.
Machine learning has historically been a computationally intensive workload that can only run on the most powerful hardware. But that’s changing as software and chip technology advance. By combining multiple AWS technologies, software and hardware can be adapted at the edge to play a greater role than ever before.
As the cloud continues to move to the edge, more industries and government agencies will accelerate the adoption of machine learning next year. In manufacturing, machine learning will be incorporated into production lines to spot production anomalies in real time. In agriculture, machine learning can help farmers use valuable resources, such as soil and water, more wisely.
In parts of the world dominated by smallholder farmers, such as throughout South-East Asia and Africa, pushing the use of machine learning models into new areas of application, collecting data at more marginal locations, will be revolutionary and there will be Help farmers increase their harvests and help them raise prices.
Werner said he once visited an AWS customer in Southeast Asia called HARA. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, HARA uses machine learning to analyze data from thousands of smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia. People and equipment collect data in the field, including the seasonal growth cycle of the farm, how much input is required to grow the crop, and how much income can be earned from it. This analysis helps farmers obtain reasonable credit. With the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, HARA is using its platform to identify the places and people who need food the most, match farmers who have it, and figure out the best logistics between the two. The COVID-19 pandemic has created tough problems for humanity, but technology can help solve them.
Machine learning continues to expand, and machine-to-machine connections will explode. According to Cisco’s annual Internet report, in 2018, only 33 percent of connections on the Internet were machine-to-machine connections. If you have an Echo smart home product, or are following the rapid developments in the automotive industry, you should have seen what’s on the horizon, with a proliferation of cloud-connected sensors and devices. Werner expects that to exceed 50% by 2021.
Machine-to-machine connectivity continues to increase, more data is injected into machine learning models, and more custom chips for machine learning will emerge. With AWS Inferentia, machine learning costs can be reduced in terms of power and computing. Costs continue to decrease and performance continues to improve, and more and more machine learning application scenarios perform operations at the edge and build new models at the edge. This is a game-changing innovation for applications that require low latency.
Real-life examples are the wildfires that have swept through the Australian bush or the west coast of the United States this year. In the future, machine learning models running on edge devices can help people predict fire hazards by simulating current conditions on the ground second by second, based on historical fire conditions, without going back to a central data center. The data generated by edge devices can help disaster relief agencies prevent and extinguish fires, allowing us to see more accurate and faster versions of “Today’s Fire Risk” alerts around the world.
As above, machine learning is used in healthcare to feed those who need it most, and to combat the effects of climate change such as wildfires. Technology, experts, working with policymakers and communities can have a positive impact on the world around them.
In 2021, images, video and audio will overtake words
In an article for Wired a few years ago, Werner talked about the meteoric rise of voice-activated computing, emerging user interfaces that allow humans to communicate with machines and with humans in more natural ways. With this trend going into 2021 and beyond, Werner believes keyboards will continue to decline, being phased out in an incremental fashion.
Over the past year, the global pandemic has kept people isolated from the outside world and increasingly communicated via audio, video and images. As people use more multimedia to communicate, the amount of text generated on the screen is relatively reduced. On Twitter, an average of 80% of daily messages contain images or videos, or just images or videos. This summer, Twitter began rolling out audio tweets for iOS users, further clarifying the trend. Rapidly falling costs and the ability to store data in the cloud have contributed to this trend.
Businesses need to stay in touch with customers and be keenly aware of these changes in habits. Customers will no longer rely on keyboards, mice or other mechanical means to interact with the company’s products and services. So businesses should explore moving from keyboards to more natural user interfaces. Alexa, which allows customers to make Amazon purchases with their voice, has an exciting use case.
The shift to more natural forms of communication also makes access to services and information more equitable. For those who have never learned to read or write, voice may be the only way they get information. In Ghana, for example, Cow Tribe distributes vaccines, feed and veterinarians to herders through simple voice commands. People with disabilities who can’t operate a touchpad or keyboard can use their voice to make a screen Display a photo from last summer, order food from a nearby restaurant, or have a smart speaker call a child.
In addition, all video, audio and imagery from Twitter and elsewhere will become data sources that can provide new insights and lead to new products and services. Take music, for example, as people transition to digital music, audio has become a source of analytical data that not only plays your favorite songs, but also helps you track trends and discover new artists; combining the histories of compositions, genres and artists, Match music to moods, snippets of speech or locations.
In 2021 and beyond, the use of audio, video and images will continue to replace text in all areas from social platforms to business operations, and cloud technology will play an important role in meeting this need.
Technology will change the physical world just as it changes the digital world
In 2020, social distancing broke into people’s lives. Quarantine has given people an opportunity to examine and rethink how our cities work, how they breathe, how they flow. Many of the places we live and work were built on assumptions made over decades (or centuries, depending on where you live) that no longer hold, or in this global pandemic Underperforming.
With the help of advanced data analytics, in 2021 people will start thinking about how to better design cities that can be socially isolated without feeling distant from each other. This will be a true fusion of the digital and physical worlds.
For example, using advanced data analytics and machine learning, cities are able to analyze the flow of people to understand how pedestrians move around in different situations, entering and exiting stadiums, grocery stores, and subway stations. Large malls have been using this technology for years to analyze foot traffic at specific times, allowing people to walk past advertisements or promotional signs at the best times. By adding machine learning models to the mix, we can predict bottlenecks and danger points before they arise.
We can predict hourly pedestrian flow and provide advice on safe commuting during peak summer tourist season or winter flu season. Imagine a museum where you can use these technologies to quickly know how best to place art, better design bathroom entrances and exits, prevent people from bumping into each other, and maintain a safe social distance.
Another big shift in the real world, and to a greater extent in finance, is that cash is rapidly disappearing from people’s pockets. One of the biggest changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is the rise of cashless payments. Some bars and restaurants around the world are starting to ban cash. New online payment platforms are on the rise, their businesses are built on the cloud, and in the case of blockchain, the underlying encryption and ledger system (blockchain is a decentralized Electronic ledger system) is cloud-based. There will be more and more payment options like this, and the world will further accelerate the adoption of digital technologies to replace old, centuries-old payment methods.
Distance learning earns its place in education
Almost every industry has fundamentally changed over the past few years, with the exception of education, where most educational institutions still operate the same way I did when I went to school many, many years ago. However, while online course programs like Coursera or the online service Chegg are emerging and some slow changes in education are taking place, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the education world undergo a rapid and irreversible reshaping more so than in almost any other industry.
Werner said he recently spoke with some high school students in Warsaw, Poland, who were using the social learning site Brainly to complete their schoolwork and help each other through online classes. Desperate parents amid the pandemic want to make sure their kids are actually learning in the new distance education environment, so online learning tools like Brainly have exploded.
Technology has played a huge role in children’s education during the pandemic. Next year, when distance learning is proven to be effective, and perhaps a better option for some, distance learning will play a more active and lasting role in education.
Another great example is the project by Black Girl Code (BGC) founder Kimberly Bryant. Like all educators, Kimberly has only been able to offer computer science classes online for girls ages 7-17 during the pandemic. In the past, BGC classrooms could enroll about 5,500 students a year, but in just one month this spring, the number of students has almost reached half of the annual number, with girls from all over the world joining. Kimberly said that BGC is no longer just in-person teaching, she has seen the scale she can reach, and she can help more girls from all over the world.
This year’s pandemic and other visible changes have forced people to adapt. But the significance of online courses goes beyond the global health crisis. Having the option of remote education (and work) at any time means kids can stay home for classes when they’re sick and don’t fall behind their classmates. If there are no schools at all, at least some form of education is possible as long as the internet is available.
There is no doubt that children should be sent back to the classroom for face-to-face interaction, but there may be other events that interfere. Remote classrooms enable the school’s teaching system and students to respond flexibly to various emergencies, ensuring that learning is not interrupted whether it encounters a pandemic, natural disaster or man-made disaster.
Small businesses race to the cloud, with Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa set to be frontrunners
In 2021 and beyond, a big change is that small businesses are starting to take advantage of advanced cloud technologies to serve their customers. There will be plenty of great technology and service providers emerging to serve these small businesses. Technology will help small businesses do everything from launching a chatbot to answer common questions to having an ultra-simple CRM system up and running in minutes. Small businesses can have the benefits of complex architectures and applications without investing the time and money to build them.
Achieving this stems from the ubiquitous trend of the cloud. Over the past year, most small businesses have experienced that, in many cases, the ability to leverage technology can make or break a business. Few people know that only 47% of SMBs in the U.S. have their own website, and that number is expected to grow in 2021. Globally, Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in Africa, are expected to lead this trend.
Before 2020, Werner spent a lot of time talking to clients around the world and listening to their stories of using technology to overcome challenges. In these regions, he saw the great potential of SMEs and was inspired by their stories. In sub-Saharan Africa, 90 percent of companies are small businesses, accounting for 40 percent of GDP and a $700 billion economy. In some important industries in Southeast Asian countries, small and micro enterprises account for 99%, mainly in tourism and handicrafts. At present, the online penetration rate of these countries is among the highest in the world. Even if the world around them is shutting down, these small and micro enterprises can still conduct transactions with the outside world through the Internet.
Take Indonesia’s Warung Pintar, which connects small food stores through the cloud, combining technology services with small businesses. In Indonesia, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world, such street food stalls and small grocery stores are often found on their own, where they can buy cold drinks, buy snacks and recharge their phones. Warung Pintar stores provide all of these features, it’s just that the stores and their operations are connected to the cloud. Warung Pintar’s store operators can implement inventory management and tracking, sales analysis, cashless payments, WIFI connection and more through a small bright yellow box. In the past, the business of these small stores only depended on the flow of people on the roadside. Now the small store owners can start to understand and cultivate their customer base. In the past, their inventory and purchases were mainly based on intuition, but now they can analyze and understand what is most profitable to sell and what is just taking up space.
As these small businesses bring their unique practices and distinctive goods to the world, they are likely to disrupt many business practices in developed countries. They have neither the burden of traditional technology nor the fetters of inherent ideas, so the development space is vast and infinite.
Quantum computing will boom in 2021
It has been proven time and time again in the past that when the most advanced and complex technologies are popularized, affordable, usable, and understandable by the general public, a sea change can happen.
At re:Invent 2019, AWS announced Amazon Braket, a fully managed quantum computing service to help researchers and developers accelerate research and discover the potential of quantum computing. In 2020, AWS made the service available to everyone. Before Amazon Braket, quantum computing hardware was only available to the world’s top research institutions or the most economically powerful companies, but now, anyone can use quantum machines for as little as $0.30.
Undoubtedly, this esoteric calculation method is still in its early stages, but that’s exactly what Braket is all about. It is especially important during the exploration period to get as many people as possible into the field of quantum computing. As enterprises and institutions begin to experiment with quantum technology, this expertise begins to go out of academia, and various business plans, products and service prototypes around the quantum future will emerge one after another. This is also the way for Braket to move from laboratory to application. As we have seen in the evolution of machine learning, thousands of applications will emerge when the software ecosystem can truly serve the hardware.
In the next decade or so, quantum computing will transform many fields, such as chemical engineering, materials science, drug discovery, portfolio optimization, machine learning, etc., but only if more and more people start to envision this future now Only then can these changes be realized. Werner believes 2021 will be the year when quantum computing begins to flourish, given AWS’ experience in making advanced cloud technologies affordable, accessible and understandable to all.
In 2021, cloud technology will make the most progress in space
Werner said that in order to realize the potential of technology and help people all over the world live a better life, we should go above the world when we travel around the world.
In 2019, we launched the AWS Ground Station satellite ground station service. With this service, customers can control satellite communications, process data, and scale operations without having to worry about building or managing ground station infrastructure. The service has already paid off tremendously, but we think this is just the beginning. I predict that in 2021 and beyond, space will be the area where we will make the most progress in cloud technology.
Satellite data access and processing technologies are already being used to help researchers track glaciers retreat, maritime agencies protect vulnerable marine protected areas, and agronomists more accurately predict food supplies. Meanwhile, some startups are exploring the use of space to develop a new generation of fast and secure networks. By making access to space affordable for every developer, I look forward to seeing these innovations come to life and help everyone grow and succeed.
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