January 2022
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Alibaba forecasts Top 10 tech trends
Hangzhou, Alibaba Group's global research initiative DAMO Academy has come up with a list of top 10 technology trends for the next two to five years that will likely impact across sectors.

The list was compiled after analyzing millions of public papers and patent filings over the past three years and conducting interviews with nearly 100 scientists.

"Over the past century, the evolution of digital technologies has accelerated technological progress and industrial development. The boundary of technologies is extended from the physical world to mixed reality, while more and more cutting-edge technologies find their way to industrial applications," Alibaba DAMO Academy Head Jeff Zhang said in a statement.

"Digital technology plays an important role in powering a green and sustainable future, whether it is applied in industries such as green data centers and energy-efficient manufacturing, or in day-to-day activities like paperless office. With technology, we will create a better future," he added.

1. Cloud-Network-Device Convergence

In the next two years, a surge of applications running on top of the new computing system is expected. The rapid development of new network technologies is expected to fuel the evolution of cloud computing towards a new computing system of cloud-network-device convergence.

Three Years

2. AI for Science research

DAMO Academy predicts that in the next three years Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be broadly applied in the research process of applied science and be used as a production tool in some basic sciences.

3. Silicon Photonic Chips

It further predicts that in the same time frame, widespread use of silicon photonic chips will be used for high-speed data transmission in large-scale data centers.

4. AI for Renewable Energy

The academy expects AI will pave way for the integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid making its operations safe, efficient, and reliable.

5. High-precision Medicine

AI aided people-centric precision medicine will become a major trend and will span multiple fields of healthcare, including disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

6. Privacy-preserving Computation

DAMO Academy expects groundbreaking improvements in the performance and interpretability of privacy-preserving computation, and witness the emergence of data trust entities that provide data sharing services based on the technology.

7. Extended Reality (XR)

It expects that a new generation of XR glasses that have an indistinguishable look and feel from ordinary glasses will enter the market and serve as a key entry point to the next generation of the Internet.

Five Years

8. Perceptive Soft Robotics

Perceptive soft robotics will replace conventional robots in the manufacturing industry and pave the way for the wider adoption of service robots in our daily life.

9. Satellite-terrestrial Integrated Computing

DAMO Academy predicts that in the next five years, satellites and terrestrial systems will work as computing nodes to constitute an integrated network system providing ubiquitous connectivity.

10. Co-evolution of Large- and Small-scale AI Models

In its prediction for beyond five years, it says the future Artificial Intelligence would shift from the race on the scalability of foundation models to the co-evolution of large- and small-scale models via clouds, edges, and devices, which is more useful in practice.

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