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The Future

A futurist reveals the biggest ways tech will transform our lives in the next 5 years



Over the next five years, we’re likely to see significant changes in fields such as artificial intelligence, space exploration, combinations of augmented and mixed reality, and quantum computing, says futurist James Canton.

virtual reality glasses
virtual reality glasses
  • Advancements in artificial intelligence can be particularly impactful when it comes to healthcare.
  • Many large tech companies like Google and Facebook , among others, have been establishing strong presences in these fields, although Canton believes we’ll see promising newcomers that can challenge these incumbents.

In the not too distant future, your next checkup could be conducted by a virtual doctor. And your smartphone will not only have access to digital assistants like Alexa and Siri, but also vastly intelligent artificial intelligence systems that are capable of doing much more than reciting the weather or fetching answers to questions.

That’s according to Dr. James Canton, CEO and chairman of the Institute for Global Futures , a San Francisco-based think tank that advises clients on upcoming business and technology trends.

For years, large tech firms like Facebook and Google have been emphasizing the impact that emerging fields like AI and augmented reality could have on our everyday lives. But because these technologies are still in their early stages, it can be difficult to appreciate how significant they will really be.

That’s where Canton comes in.

In an interview with Business Insider, he described how our lives will change over the next five years as a result of advances in several important technologies.

“There’s so much more innovation that’s available than people are capable of embracing,” Canton said. “So there’s always a lag between the innovation breakthroughs and the actual application in the marketplace.”

Reality will be a “blend” of the physical environment and data streams

Artificial intelligence technology is advancing very rapidly and is going to fundamentally change how we get our healthcare, with virtual doctors and AI-powered diagnostics on the horizon, Canton said.

“We came out of the AI winter,” he said, referring to a period when AI tech fell out of favor within the industry. Canton attributes today’s AI renaissance to advances in how computers can learn such as reinforced machine learning and the abundance of data now available for machines to learn from. Innovations like 3D-printed organs will also have a big impact on healthcare by boosting lifespans, he said.

The AI sector is set to grow financially in the coming years too. Market research firm Gartner predicts that the global business value derived from artificial intelligence could hit $3.9 trillion in 2022.

Another area that’s likely to boom in the coming years is what Canton calls “blended reality,” which is a convergence of augmented reality, virtual reality, and telepresence. This type of technology would make it possible to view digital information in the real world without having to wear glasses or rely on your smartphone, Canton says. “This will be instantaneous,” he said. “Those cumbersome things will disappear, and you’ll be able to moderate how much [digital information] you want.”

Hundreds of startups going to space

The new space race, which involves nations around the globe as well as billionaire-backed private companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, will also be a catalyst of change over the next five years potentially resulting in a new startup scene.

“You’re going to have hundreds of companies around the world that are going to compete for everything from lunar landers to terraforming Mars,” Canton said.

The emergence of supercomputers

Quantum computing is another game-changer, with the ability to process data at blazing fast speeds. That’s because while today’s computer’s use bits in the form of binary 0s and 1s, quantum computers operate through quantum bits.

These so-called “qbits” are particles that are capable of representing numerous combinations of 0s and 1s, as MIT Technology Review explains. Quantum computing can be especially critical when it comes to enhancing cybersecurity, since it will enable us to “encrypt smarter,” says Canton.

New players could challenge the dominance of today’s tech giants

Many of today’s largest tech firms have already been dipping their toes into parts of these fields. Facebook sells virtual reality products under its Oculus brand, while Apple offers tools for developers to create augmented reality iPhone apps and Microsoft sells its Hololens mixed reality headset. Both IBM and Google have also been conducting research in quantum computing.

But it’s too soon to know who will emerge as the industry leader in these platforms, or if it will even end up being one of these high-profile tech firms at all.

“So it doesn’t necessarily mean that today’s tech giants are necessarily going to be the leaders of tomorrow,” Canton said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of new players that come into the game that understand blended reality, understand telepresence, virtual reality, all of that, and can come in and displace folks.”


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The Future

Here’s how much the Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy Z Flip could cost




The Samsung Galaxy S20 series is just weeks away from its official unveiling and, thanks to TuttoAndroid, we now know how much the next-generation flagships are going to cost across Europe at launch.

The Galaxy S20 will be more expensive than the Galaxy S10

Starting at the very bottom of the South Korean giant’s flagship spectrum with the standard Galaxy S20, it looks as though Samsung is planning to price this phone at €929 in Italy at launch. Prices in that market are typically around €10 higher than the rest of Europe, which means most consumers will be able to get their hands on the device for €919. 
This model will, of course, be accompanied by a 5G variant marketed as the Galaxy 20 5G. As suspected, Samsung is going to charge consumers €100 extra for the next-generation network compatibility, resulting in a retail price of €1,029/€1,119 on the continent.
To compare, last year’s Galaxy S10 retailed at €899/€909 in Europe, so it appears the company is planning to hike prices yet again.

Here's how much the Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy Z Flip could cost

For those of you that aren’t yet aware, these smartphones will bring a compact 6.2-inch Infinity-O display to the table in addition to the Exynos 990 chipset and a triple-camera setup that includes a 12-megapixel primary camera, a 64-megapixel 3x telephoto shooter, and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor. 
The flagships will also ship with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM as standard, although a 12/512GB configuration is reportedly planned. Other characteristics include a 4,000mAh battery, Android 10 straight out of the box, and support for microSD cards of up to 1TB.

The Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20+ 5G won’t cost much more

Further up the lineup sit the Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20+ 5G. The former is reportedly going to start at €1,029 in Italy while the latter should be priced at a hefty €1,129. For reference, the Galaxy S10+ debuted at €999/€1,009 in Europe last year.
These two devices are virtually to the standard Galaxy S20 models, albeit with some important exceptions. For example, the display is larger at 6.7-inches and the rear camera setup gains a Time-of-Flight sensor.

Here's how much the Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy Z Flip could cost

Software and storage will remain unchanged, but a higher 4,500mAh battery capacity is currently expected in a bid to maintain battery life levels despite the bigger display. 

The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s price is ridiculously high

Completing the extensive flagship series will be the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, which won’t be available in a cheaper 4G LTE variant. This model is expected to replace last year’s Galaxy S10 5G and looks set to carve out an entirely new ultra-premium smartphone segment. 

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra concept render by Ben Geskin - Here's how much the Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy Z Flip could cost

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra concept render by Ben GeskinThat’s because Samsung reportedly has plans to price the phone at a whopping €1,379 in Europe, significantly higher than the €1,249 price tag attached to the Galaxy S10 5G. Fortunately, Samsung is at least going to try and justify the added cost with a long list of upgrades. 
These include an even bigger 6.9-inch variant of the 120Hz display and a totally new quadruple-camera setup on the back. Taking the lead will be a 108-megapixel primary camera that supports 30x hybrid zoom and 100x digital zoom with the help of a 48-megapixel 10x periscope alternative. A 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter and a Time-of-Flight sensor are reportedly part of the setup too.

Samsung Galaxy S20 series colors, release date, pre-order bonuses

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will reportedly be available in just two colors at launch – black and gray – while the Galaxy S20+ is going to add a third color to the list – blue. Where the company is going to offer the most variety, however, is the Galaxy S20 – a mysterious pink version is said to be on the way. 
Samsung is going to announce the Galaxy S20 series on February 11 and it’s believed pre-orders will commence later that day ahead of shipments on March 13. However, customers that choose to pre-order the devices should receive the phones three days earlier on March 10.
As an additional bonus for pre-orders, Samsung reportedly has plans to bundle a pair of wireless earphones with the smartphones. The exact pair hasn’t been confirmed yet but it’s believed buyers of the more expensive models will receive a free pair of the upcoming Galaxy Buds+

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip could undercut the Motorola Razr

Joining the Galaxy S20 series on February 11 is rumored to be the Galaxy Z Flip. This phone should act as a direct competitor to the Motorola Razr, although information published by tipser Max Weinbach suggests Samsung is going to undercut its €1,599 rival by pricing its device in the region of €1,400.

Here's how much the Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy Z Flip could cost

Rumor has it the smartphone will feature a foldable 6.7-inch Infinity-O display that’s covered in a thin layer of glass to improve durability. The Snapdragon 855 chipset used inside the Galaxy Fold is also expected to make an appearance. 
Last on the list of features is apparently a 12-megapixel rear camera and a 10-megapixel selfie camera alongside a tiny 3,300mAh battery.


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The Future

Apple to begin iPhone 9 production in February, announcement coming in March




Apple will begin assembling its lower-cost iPhone 9 in February and make it official in March, as per supply chain sources quoted by Bloomberg.

The assembly will reportedly be split between Taiwan-based manufacturers Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn), Pegatron Corp and Winstron Corp.

The report claims the iPhone 9 will have an iPhone 8-inspired design with a Touch ID home button, 4.7-inch screen and iPhone 11-matching Apple A13 Bionic chipset.

We’ve seenconflicting reports, which suggest that the lower-cost iPhone 9 will indeed have an iPhone 8-inspired design but omit the home button in favor or Face ID and thus have a slightly taller 5.4-inch display. That would make more sense in 2020.

Apple to begin iPhone 9 production in February, announcement coming in March

The lower-cost iPhone rumor is a bit long in the tooth now. It first started floating around in 2017, quoting an early 2018 announcement. It got started again in late 2019. Is it finally the year that iPhone 7 and 8 owners will get their long-awaited replacement?


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The Future

Computers With Foldable Screens Will Make Laptops and Tablets Obsolete




At CES last week, Intel revealed its Horseshoe Bend foldable-screen computer prototype. Lenovo demoed another foldable-screen X1 laptop that it co-engineered with Intel. When unfolded, both devices resemble large tablets, but as you bend the screen upward, they feel much more like laptops.

This isn’t the first time companies have attempted to merge tablets and laptops — Microsoft infamously tried with Windows 8 — but with Intel and Lenovo’s new computers, the hardware is adaptable, rather than only the software. And unlike foldable phones, which are great marketing tricks with few realistic benefits, this new segment of computers will change how we use both laptops andtablets: They’ll merge the two categories into one.

Tablets and laptops have remained separate categories largely because their physical design simply can’t do both jobs well — tablets are usually all screen, and a laptop typically has a keyboard glued to the lower half that can’t be changed.

While laptop sales have slowed since tablets arrived, devices like the iPad, which has dominated the category, still aren’t perfect replacements. It’s awkward to hold an iPad and type on it for long lengths of time, so people often buy the keyboard case to make it act more like a laptop or relegate the iPad to watching Netflix. There’s simply no middle ground without awkward cases, attachments, or stands that end up making tablets more like a laptop in the first place, defeating the point.

Owning a tablet and a laptop will feel ridiculous, because a single device will do the job of both devices.

Meanwhile, laptops lack the magic of a tablet. While Windows supports touch and pen input, it’s a tacked-on experience at best, with few apps truly taking advantage of touchscreens. Laptops are also generally much bulkier and have a shorter battery life.

But a foldable tablet’s display size and shape no longer restrict how the device can be used. Adding a fold means you can prop up the device without a kickstand, for example. It also means you can fold it the opposite way to halve its size for use in tight spaces like airplanes or even safely fold the screen inside the clamshell when you’re not using it, like you would a laptop. When the device is folded open, it has a large, glorious screen — the Intel prototype measures 17 inches fully unfolded — with nothing else in the way.

The new generation of foldable-screen devices is a peek at a future where owning a tablet anda laptop will feel ridiculous, because a single device will do the job of both devices.

Naysayers will point out the benefits of keyboards and physical keys and that it’s more difficult to type on a flat display. While that may be true, the iPhone’s success shows that this is unlikely to be a problem; the adaptability and flexibility of virtual on-screen keyboards beat out the need for the physical keys found on the BlackBerry and ultimately opened up new opportunities for developers to use the screen real estate. And for those who remain attached to real keys, there will always be the option to attach a traditional keyboard.

Still, the success of truly foldable-screen devices is far from assured. Manufacturers aren’t yet committing to prices or availability. Lenovo provides just a vague “2020” timeline and says that it “expects” pricing to start at around $2,499.

New categories are risky, as Samsung discovered with the debut of its foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, which was discovered to break easily almost as it debuted. As manufacturers race to be the first to market, we may see one or two foldable-screen laptops become publicly available, but their longevity with remain a question.

And without fundamental overhauls to the way software is designed to adapt to constantly changing screen sizes and layouts, foldable-screen computers will fail. Every demo of a foldable-screen computer at CES was running Windows 10, which isn’t yet optimized for this new world.

Microsoft is building a new version of Windows, labeled Windows 10X, that will address some foldable-screen capabilities. It debuts later this year with the Surface Neo, the company’s own foldable-screen device. The software is specifically designed to adapt to devices that morph in shape and size, like the Neo and X1, but it’s not yet available to manufacturers.

The Neo, as well as larger devices from manufacturers like Asus, will likely arrive much sooner in stores than the CES prototypes since they are a different type of foldable. They sport two distinct displays with a hinge connecting them, rather than a single display that folds — a technology that is much easier to achieve.

Manufacturers of truly foldable screens still need to ensure the devices can reliably fold without breaking over the long haul — but their demos forecast a future where our devices adapt to us, rather than the other way around.


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