Agriculture -- IoT is taking this industry by storm. Sensors placed strategically around fields along with image recognition technologies send farmers up-to-date information about their crops in real-time, so changes can be made accordingly, enabling higher food production with less waste. In some vineyards, sensors in the soil determine the exact moment when grapes need water and how much, triggering the irrigation system to activate at just the right time with precisely the right amounts of water for a “very good year” of winemaking.
Automotive and transportation -- One only has to utter the word “Uber,” and the essence of digital disruption and transformation becomes crystal clear. Those of us already enjoying the GPS navigation tools in our cars and the safety features that warn of road hazards can envision the next step of self-driving vehicles. There have been notable snafus as the technology has developed. Yet there may come a day in the not-too-distant future when people shake their heads in disbelief that at one time in history, humans actually controlled vehicles and that hundreds of thousands of lives were lost each year because of human error.
Role of AI and Machine Learning
The evolution of humans takes place over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. Tech, obviously, advances far more quickly. How can we keep up?
With powerful computing and massive volumes of data, it’s possible to do extraordinary things at “web scale.” But we need some AI capability to manage, filter, and interpret all the data. As you get more and more data coming into a system, you can use AI to mimic user understanding and decisions, which provides assistance to humans.
Analysts have predicted a 10-fold increase in the amount of data the world creates by 2025 to 163 zettabytes. It’s hard to envision what such a number translates into in everyday life. But some say much of that data is going to be critical for sustaining life as we know it, such as helping life scientists figure out how to grow enough food to feed the world’s population.
Without AI and machine learning and at least a dash of analytics, the deluge of data residing in all these systems so necessary to making critical decisions would just be a pile of bits, uncorrelated, and unable to tell us the story we need to hear to understand our world and make decisions to help save and improve it.
Can We Ever Unplug?
There are a lot of noble efforts to be made with the data and compute power we have at our disposal. Still, it’s also created an always-on culture, one that doesn’t allow you to unplug without risk. Unplug, and you’ll miss a tremendous amount as the world moves quickly on without you.
There is a very real pressure to remain connected that’s resulting in being quantitatively more connected with a diminished quality of person-to-person relationships. It’s hard to gauge what the results of that phenomenon will be down the road.
What is known is that we’re living in interesting times, in a special period of history for innovation, change, and technology. It’s not a time where the winners will be conservative, doing the best with what they have and limiting their pace of change. All industries need to be in a growth mindset and open to rapid relearning. Over the next 10 to 20 years, the winners will be people and organizations in hyperlearning mode, those that can figure out how tech will change the art of what’s possible and apply it successfully to their organizations.
Ravi Mhatre, Founding Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, an early investor in Nutanix, contributed this article. It first appeared in Next Magazine, issue 4.
Joanie Wexler is a contributing writer and editor with more than 20 years experience covering IT and computer networking technologies.
Feature photo by Sindre Strøm from Pexels.
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