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The Alibaba DAMO Academy Releases its Top 10 Tech Trends for 2020
COVID-19 and China
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At the beginning of 2020, the Alibaba DAMO Academy (阿里达摩院) forecast the top 10 tech trends for the year, while in October 2019, Gartner released its prediction of the top 10 strategic tech trends in 2020.

The Alibaba DAMO Academy is a Chinese answer to X Development (formerly Google X). It is an organization that strives to explore more possibilities for humans via technological research and innovation. Alibaba DAMO Academy is composed of 15 laboratories.

Both Alibaba DAMO Academy and Gartner believe in the development and application of AI tech in data protection, blockchain for practical use, cloud and IoT. Compared to Gartner, the research and advisory firm, Alibaba DAMO Academy, an institute incubated by the e-commerce giant Alibaba, has determined to be more concrete and closer to practical business.

Computing and connection are the keywords of 2020’s tech trends. We have entered a data boom era, which is expected to accumulate over 175 ZB in data by 2025. All words ever spoken by human beings can be stored in 5 EB – 1,000 EB equals 1 ZB. With such myriad data accumulating, how to interpret the data and use it for a better good in both our life and work is the objective of many big data companies and research institutes. That brings computing and connections to the center of tech development.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is still a tech trend in 2020. However, different from previous years, AI is expected to evolve out of perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence, which will integrate neurological science, cognitive psychology, social science and other knowledge into deep learning. Perceptual intelligence is featured by so-called ‘violent intelligence,’ mining and using myriad data to perform simple tasks, but cognitive intelligence is the opposite – employing limited data to make decisions and do more complicated projects. Artificial intelligence will become more active in its interaction with data, rather than passively receiving info from outside, and more intelligent in logical reasoning and decision-making.

Along with big data and deep learning’s development, the tech is restrained by the current integrated circuit’s computing power. New materials are gaining chip developers’ attention. From semiconductors to superconductors, new materials bring more imagination and possibilities to chips.

Besides new materials, scientists are trying to adopt in-memory computing to make computing more efficient. The traditional computing isolates memory and computing, so data must be transmitted back and forth between memory unit and computing unit, a structure which is failing to meet current computing demands – massive data needs faster computing speed. In-memory computing aims to accelerate the computing process.

These tech trends revolve around the center of computing and connection. Improving computing power to make AI more intelligent like humans to learn, decide and execute and stronger. The wider connection enables complicated collaboration among large-scale production units. From both institutes’ prediction of 2020’s tech trends, we can tell that efficiently optimizing the use of data to benefit economic activities is becoming the priority task.

Editor: Luke Sheehan

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