Gartner tech trends 2020: the arrival of autonomous things
Earlier this month, Gartner released its top 10 strategic technology trends for 2020. As 2019 draws to a close, Gigabit Magazine is doing a series breaking down the biggest technology trends set to reshape the global business landscape over the next year.
Gartner considers “autonomous things” to be one of 2020’s top tech trends. Autonomy comes on a spectrum, with one of the most profitable definitions coming from the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Levels of Driving Automation Standard. Going from 0 to 5, the first three levels describe assisted driver support features such as adaptive cruise control and lane centering. Levels 3 and above cover autonomous driving in increasing levels of complexity, with the level 5 standard being the holy grail – complete autonomy at all times.
The arrival of autonomous cars will likely not simply result in everyone possessing virtual chauffers. Rather, it will have a transformative impact on the design (why have a steering wheel in a car you don’t drive?) and ownership of vehicles. This last point is being explored by Tesla, which is planning on allowing owners of Tesla vehicles to send out their cars to act autonomously in robotaxi fleets, earning money both for Tesla and the owners.
Autonomous things are not restricted to the land, however. Autonomous drones are already available in commercial settings, in this case used by Exyn Technologies to build 3D maps of remote locations. Drones themselves are an interesting proposition for autonomy. Their relative cheapness makes them perfect for operating as swarms, and autonomy sidesteps the need for pilots.
Gartner cautions that autonomous things perform best with a narrow scope, and should not be expected to be all things to all people. In other words, Gartner isn’t expecting the imminent arrival of machine consciousness, despite Boston Dynamics doing its best to provide that potential consciousness nightmarish robot bodies.
Discord buys Sentropy to fight against hate and abuse online
Discord, a popular chat app, has acquired the software company Sentropy to bolster its efforts to combat online abuse and harassment. Sentropy, monitors online networks for abuse and harassment, then offers users a way to block problematic people and filter out messages they don’t want to see.
First launched in 2015 and currently boasting 150 million monthly active users, Discord plans to integrate Sentropy’s own products into its existing toolkit and the company will also bring the smaller company’s leadership group aboard. Discord currently uses a “multilevel” approach to moderation, and a Trust and Safety (T&S) team dedicated to protecting users and shaping content moderation policies comprised 15% of Discord’s workforce as of May 2020.
“T&S tech and processes should not be used as a competitive advantage,” Sentropy CEO John Redgrave said in a blog post on the announcement. “We all deserve digital and physical safety, and moderators deserve better tooling to help them do one of the hardest jobs online more effectively and with fewer harmful impacts.”
Cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse
Redgrave elaborated on the company’s natural connection with Discord: “Discord represents the next generation of social companies — a generation where users are not the product to be sold, but the engine of connectivity, creativity, and growth. In this model, user privacy and user safety are essential product features, not an afterthought. The success of this model depends upon building next-generation Trust and Safety into every product. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and are humbled to work at the scale of Discord and with Discord’s resources to increase the depth of our impact.”
Sentropy launched out of stealth last summer with an AI system designed to detect, track and cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse. The company emerged then with $13 million in funding from notable backers including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his VC firm Initialized Capital, King River Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global.
“We are excited to help Discord decide how we can most effectively share with the rest of the Internet the best practices, technology, and tools that we’ve developed to protect our own communities,” Redgrave said.