3 Emerging Technologies for Engineering Leadership
For Employers

March 26, 2024

3 Emerging Technologies for Engineering Leadership

The future is here, and it's just the beginning. Technological developments in recent years have been quite remarkable. Consider how far we've come since playing snake games on our Nokias in the early 2000s. But it's not just smartphones that are changing; new technology will completely transform our lives in ways we can hardly imagine. 2023 was the craziest year ever, but at the rate things are accelerating, it will pale in comparison to 2024.

“The future ain’t what it used to be” ~ Yogi Berra 

For engineering leaders, staying ahead of the masses in the rapidly changing field of technology is not just an advantage, but a necessity. Emerging technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, and Neuralink present both challenges and opportunities. In this article, we will explore the importance of adopting these new technologies and how they can be applied in different sectors.

Embracing the Power of AI

Artificial intelligence is the capability of a machine to learn and understand data, and then apply its intelligence to solve any problem. This intelligence is built using complex algorithms and mathematical functions. A lot of research is being done in this field by big tech companies such as OpenAI and Google DeepMind. Researchers are working on expanding these models by training them on huge amounts of data to handle more complex tasks that go beyond just image recognition and data processing.

One such large model is ChatGPT, also known as the Large Language Model (LLM). This technology was so revolutionary that big companies saw it and, in desperation, launched their own AI chatbots. One such example we all know is Google, who introduced their AI chatbot named Google Bard, which could be used to perform various tasks such as writing an end-to-end project code for you or designing an itinerary for your next trip. Introducing AI on their website was not only a competitive move but also a strategic one. They have increased their revenue by providing personalized ads to their users. Users are interacting more with the product, and the company is able to collect more data and analyze it to improve user experiences and drive business decisions. Engineering executives must recognize the potential of AI to stay ahead of the curve.

One branch of this AI tree is reinforcement learning, where AI systems learn to make decisions by trial and error and receive rewards for successful outcomes. DeepMind, now acquired by Google, used RL in their AlphaGo program. They used various RL algorithms, which managed to master the Chinese game named ‘Go’. This program was so well-trained that it was able to defeat the world champion Lee Sedol in this game.

Looking into the future, the evolution of AI could have many applications. If achieved, it could perform a wide range of tasks from editing your photos to remixing the music you like. AI could also lead to the development of more intuitive and versatile personal assistants capable of understanding and responding to a wide range of human needs and preferences.

Navigating the Quantum Computing Revolution

Quantum computers, inspired by quantum physicists, have the potential to revolutionize technology as we know it. These advanced machines, rooted in quantum mechanics, operate on subatomic particles like photons and electrons, manipulating and measuring them in ways traditional computers cannot. Unlike traditional digital computers, which use bits to encode information as either 0 or 1, quantum computers harness the behavior of particles to perform calculations in a fundamentally different manner. With their unparalleled computing power, quantum computers offer a promising solution to optimizing complex tasks like large language models more efficiently than ever before.

Corporate giants such as Google, IBM, and Microsoft are investing millions of dollars in quantum computing research and development. In 2024, IBM plans to complete construction on a new quantum data center in Ehningen, Germany, bringing local quantum computing resources to the continent. IBM is also committed to building a skilled workforce capable of harnessing quantum technology, investing in workshops and online programs to educate individuals on its potential applications.

Harnessing the Potential of Blockchain

Blockchain can be described as a collection of records linked with each other in a decentralized way. They are strongly resistant to alteration and are protected using cryptography. It’s a fundamentally different way of looking at peer-to-peer connectivity or communication. These features of blockchain make this technology a game-changer in sectors such as supply chain management, healthcare, education systems, elections, and identity verification.

Blockchain technology has the capability to revolutionize the way we conduct transactions today. Bitcoin, Ethereum, all these cryptocurrencies are based on the application of blockchain. With blockchains, people can do direct transfers of money, which can even lead to cost savings for businesses and individuals because you don’t need any intermediate bank to do your transactions. These transactions are secured because no one can tamper with these records.

Not only are blockchains used in transactions, but they are also used in food supply chain management. One such company using the blockchain concept in their backend is Walmart. It was when the VP of the company asked his staff to track the package of mangoes to its origins. It took around 5-6 days to gather that information when they already had data in their system. That is when they decided to participate with IBM to create a food traceability system based on the blockchain concept. After this collaboration, they could do the same task within 2.2 seconds.

There are various emerging applications of blockchain such as NFTs, also known as non-fungible tokens. Let’s understand this with the help of an example. Suppose you have edited an image which is one of its kind. Now if you want to sell this image to someone, how do you prove the ownership? There has to be some way to prove that you are the owner of that particular image. It can be done by creating an NFT. They are a legitimate way of transferring the ownership of a digital item in such a way that your ownership will always be on records, it will be proven, and it can never be edited or deleted. They are tokenized on blockchain networks enabling the buyers to purchase and collect unique digital assets.

In conclusion, the world is changing rapidly, new research is being conducted every day and it is not only important to learn these technologies—it’s essential. We all are so lucky to see this big tech revolution and It’s high time for you to participate in this marathon.  

About the Author

I am Anshul Saini, currently pursuing my Masters in Statistics and Data Science. With a background in Statistics from my undergraduate studies, I have developed a keen interest in data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Delving into data to extract meaningful insights and uncovering trends where I find my passion. Eager to explore new avenues and continuously expand my knowledge, I am committed to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the field.