Gartner tech trends 2020: augmented humans
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.
Sometimes referred to as Human 2.0, the field of technologically augmented people covers a wide range of cognitive and physical improvements to an organic workforce.
In principal, humans have been using available technology to augment themselves since the first cave dwellers used sharpened obsidian tied to sticks to poke holes in their dinner from a distance. Humanity’s dominance of the planet Earth is thanks to our ability to use our brains to manipulate and enhance our natural physical abilities. Inventions as old as the abacus have been helping people enhance our physical abilities since the 14th Century.
So, what makes 2020 the year when the unending drive for humans to make themselves better, faster, stronger and smarter using technology finally achieves “Human 2.0”?
The experts at Gartner believe that advances in technology are set to dramatically enhance not only physical and cognitive capabilities, but the decision making process as well.
Physical augmentation falls into four main categories, according to Gartner: Sensory augmentation (hearing, vision, perception), appendage and biological function augmentation (exoskeletons, prosthetics), brain augmentation (implants to treat seizures) and genetic augmentation (somatic gene and cell therapy).
2019 did see a pretty dazzling array of developments in the field of human augmentation. In addition to things like wearables (using AR and VR to create heads up displays and deliver expertise and training remotely) becoming common in the manufacturing and mining industries, French scientists restored mobility to a quadripeligic man who had spent four years paralysed, following an accidental 50 foot fall. Using an exoskeleton controlled by his mind, the 30-year-old subject walked 10 meters using the power of his mind (and a state of the art Iron Man suit). “I felt like I was the first man on the Moon,” he said after the test. “I didn’t move for two years and I had forgotten what it was like to stand.”
Beyond medical and mobility applications, exoskeletons could be applied to the roles of firefighters, soldiers and even workers who constantly move heavy loads (future employees of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation will be pleased I’m sure).
Some industry thought leaders see en masse human augmentation as the next and inevitable step in the evolution of our society and business models. Clark Quinn, executive director at Quinnovation believes that, “In 50 years, we will have mastered the art of human augmentation. Our digital world will interact with our physical world seamlessly, so that our physical actions can have semantics, and vice-versa. Our senses will be amplified, the world will be annotated and there will be guidance and warnings on our actions.”
Searching for the Top 100 Leaders in Technology
The search is on for the Top 100 Leaders in Technology 2021 – nominated by readers of Technology magazine and open to all.
The initiative has been launched and nominations are now open, with the final, prestigious Top 100 due to be announced during Technology and AI LIVE running 14-16 September, beamed from London to the world.
This latest, definitive list of the leading executives and influencers in the industry will be announced at the event and shared across social media channels, this website, and presented in a special supplement that honours all of those named in our annual list.
The Top 100 Leaders follows on from the well-received Top 100 Women in Technology that BizClik Media Group (BMG) – publishers of Technology magazine, AI magazine and a growing portfolio of industry-leading titles – produced in March this year to coincide with International Women’s Day.
“The Top 100 Women recognised the incredible and influential women driving our industry,” says Scott Birch, editorial director, BMG. “The success of that initiative encouraged us to recognise the Top 100 Leaders – individuals championing everything that we love about technology and embracing best practice that’s good for business.”
Nominations are already coming in, with some notable highlights including:
Rhonda Vetere - Herbalife
Bryan Smith - Expedient
Nominate your Top 100 Leader HERE
The deadline for nominations closes on Sunday 1 August 2021, and it is free to nominate. The Top 100 Leaders will be announced across our platforms and at the LIVE event.