AI, Cryptography and more: Microsoft’s top 16 predictions for 2016

Microsoft's Research, which was founded in 1991 by the company, has put out 16 predictions for the year 2016.

By: Tech Desk | Updated: December 30, 2015 4:22:53 pm
Microsoft, Microsoft Research, Microsoft 2016 Predictions, 2016 Predictions Microsoft, Quantum Computing, Quantum Computers, AI, Aritificial Intelligence, AI, technology, technology news Microsoft’s 16 tech predictions for the year 2016. (Source: Reuters)

Microsoft’s Research, which was founded in 1991 by the company, has put out 16 predictions for the year 2016, which also marks 25 years of the unit.

Microsoft Research looks at futuristic technology that might one day be a reality.  Here’s a look at the 16 predictions put out by Microsoft Research‘s key team members.

New Silicon  Architecture and more powerful computers: According to Chris Bishop, the Managing Director of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, 2016 will see the emergence of new silicon architectures in computers, offering a major performance boost over GPUs.  

He also says that 2016 will be the year that we could see “new applications of depth camera technology on mobile phones.”

Reconfigurable Computing in datacentres: Doug Burger, the Director of Hardware, Devices, and Experiences at Microsoft Research NExT says, there will successful and large-scale inclusion of specialised compute in the cloud. He also thinks that Reconfigurable computing (i.e. FPGAs) will go mainstream in datacentres for 2016.

Stylus: Bill Buxton, who is the Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, feels 2016 will finally be the year of the Stylus, “as drawing, annotation and note-taking will assume a broadly supported and appropriate place.”

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Conversation Assistants in 2016: Smarter AI with conversation assistants who might actually make us laugh, is what Lili Cheng, Distinguished Engineer & General Manager at Microsoft Research NExT, predicts for 2016. She adds that 2016 will be the year that more first jobs for kids will be virtual rather than in a physical place.

Data ethics curriculum: According to Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher, “every data science program will have a data ethics curriculum, giving greater understanding the human implications of large-scale data collection and experimentation.”

Improvements on natural language processing: Li Deng, Partner Research Manager at Microsoft Research NExT, predicts improved natural language learning by machines based on deep learning methods and state-of-the-art machine translation.”

She adds that 2016 will the year deep-learning makes “inroads into business applications including predictive analytics,” and its scope will expand.

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Health and technology: Jasmin Fisher,  Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, says that 2016 will see main advances in health and well-being thanks. She feels that the use of “innovative interdisciplinary technologies” will extend, improve patients’ lives.  She also says that cloud will be used extensively in 2016 to help empower patients’ lives.

AI adoption:  2016 will see significant adoption of artificial intelligence in China, says Hsiao-Wuen Hon, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Research Asia. He also says that 2016 will be the year that video distribution on the Web overtakes TV broadcast.

Computational Intelligence: According to Eric Horvitz, who is the Technical Fellow & Managing Director at the Microsoft Research Redmond Lab, AI machines that can converse more naturally will be the big trend in 2016.

He also says that 2016 will be the year that personal assistants become actually helpful by understanding the task you are working on or any commitments you might have made to others.

Cheap sensors, better for environment monitoring: Lucas Joppa who is a Conservation Scientist at Microsoft Research, says that  “cheap, long range, low-power sensors and radios” will allow for better, faster environmental monitoring .

He also thinks that 2016 will be the year that “the world realises the potential for technology to help avert the 6th mass extinction and transform the way we monitor, model and manage life on earth.”

Cryptography: Brian LaMacchia, who is Director for Security & Cryptography at Microsoft Research, feels that in 2016 we will see the “demonstration of an end-to-end encrypted TLS connection using quantum-resistant public-key algorithms for both key exchange (for confidentiality) and digital signatures (for authentication).”

With quantum computers being the future, the current system of encryption will have to upgrade, he says.

He adds that 2016 will be the year that “continued advances in quantum computing will draw broad attention to the threat it represents to all of today’s widely used public-key cryptosystems.”

Economy: Preston McAfee, Chief Economist, Microsoft feels that in 2016 economists will be able to answer if the current low productivity is a new normal, and holds important implications for government policies in order to boost growth.

He says that 2016 will be the year that “Silicon Valley recognises that the value of Uber is its marketplace, not the data.”

New levels of security: Sriram Rajamani, Assistant Managing Director, Microsoft Research India, feels that 2016 will see a “new generation of systems solutions that guarantee security even if the operating system or other infrastructure gets compromised by hackers.”

He also says that in 2016 a “new generation of security solutions based on trusted hardware (such as Intel SGX and comparable features from other hardware vendors) starts to hit the marketplace.”

Quantum Computing: Krysta Svore, Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research NExT feels that in quantum computing in 2016 will see the “confirmation and demonstration of a topological qubit”. which is a “key technology breakthrough” for the field.

Low-cost access technologies: Chandu Thekkath Managing Director, Microsoft Research India, says that “low-cost access technologies like TV white spaces and affordable mobile devices will make the Internet more widespread in India,” in 2016.

He adds that 2016 will be the year that rural connectivity takes off in India and significant portions of India come online.

More sensors, Scientific Breakthrough: Jeannette Wing Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research, has two predictions for 2016.

In scientific breakthrough, “László Babai will publish his proof that graph isomorphism will go from nearly-exponential to nearly-polynomial time, invigorating research in algorithms and complexity theory.”

In IT,  “more sensors and devices for monitoring metabolic state so individuals can track their health and wellbeing beyond heart rate.”

In 2016, she thinks encrypted communication will debated by US Presidential candidates.

For the full text of Microsoft’s predictions, go here.

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