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Microsoft founded a separate division within the company, called Microsoft Research, back in 1991 as a global think tank of sorts to move computing, engineering, physics, science, and mathematics forward. It was, and is, a place for scientists, researchers, mathematicians, and otherwise incredibly bright people, to have the freedom to think about amazing ideas and potentially put them into action. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and working with Gordon Bell, an interesting man to say the least, a few years back – to read more about his projects look here.
There are approximately 1,000 Microsoft researchers worldwide and they have helped to create everything from Windows 95 to Kinect. However, the main purpose of the group is to advance computing, and not necessarily create new products. When a group like this stands up to make predictions regarding technology in 2016 I think it’s worthwhile to listen.
Here are there 16 predictions for 2016:
- New silicon architectures will enable faster computers
- Vastly improved cloud performance – meaning both speed and power
- Drawing, annotation and note-taking will go mainstream on tablets (I’ve already had a colleague recently send me notes from his Surface made with a stylus, rather than send me a separate email for the change or update)
- Virtual assistants, such as Siri or Cortana, will become more personable
- People will become more aware of the ethics behind data collection
- Computers will get better at understanding us – through big data
- Health technology will become far more advanced – using tools like Microsoft Azure
- Virtual assistants will take off in China
- We will be able to talk with computers (I just did this the other night – telling my smart TV to record a certain program for me in the future)
- Technology will make it easier to monitor the environment
- Computers will need to become secure against “quantum computing”
- Economists will figure out whether the economic recovery is working
- Security experts will work out how to protect part of a computer completely – cutting down on hacker vulnerability
- Quantum computing will take big leaps forward
- Low-cost computing will help the Internet take off in India
- Technology will help people remain aware of their own health
These predictions were recently published in a Business Insider article found here.
It’s always interesting, and fun, to try and predict the future. I just hope the computer I’m working on now is smart enough to remind me next December to check back and see which of these ideas came to fruition and those that needed more time to mature.