Smartware are computing systems that require little active user input, integrate the digital and physical worlds, and continually learn on their own. Now, in this, the final edition of our column on smartware, we’ll consider how the powerful capabilities of smartware will enable new interactions and user experiences that, over time, will become seamlessly integrated into our digital lives. Read More
The push for education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) by governments and in business is now more than a decade old. Over this period of time, society has embraced intelligence and welcomed geekdom—at least on the surface. We see this in aspects of popular culture that demonize bullying, glorify inclusivity, and make it admirable, if not cool, to be smart.
At the same time, scientific research is experiencing a golden age. One reason for this boom: the ubiquity of the Internet, which revolutionized communication and information dissemination in the 1990s and has fostered greater cross-disciplinary involvement among researchers in disparate fields. New tools and technologies have galvanized the cross-pollination of ideas and revealed the intricacies and secrets of the human animal as never before. Over just the last two decades, we have developed plausible solutions for questions that have beguiled us for all of human history. This is an incredible time for scientific discovery and insight—one that will also have profound impacts on the everyday technologies that will surround us in the 2020s. Read More
As recently as 25 years ago, the physical reality in which we lived was an analog world that was becoming increasingly global. While globalization is still very much a factor today, our world is now decidedly connected and is becoming increasingly virtual. However, thanks to a combination of enabling technology and the possible impacts of global warming, some aspects of globalization are shifting back to being local. This connectedness—both virtual and local—is contributing to the emerging world of smartware.
As we detailed in “The Smartware Transformation,” smartware is a convergence of emerging technologies and science. Artificial intelligence (AI) is fueling its rise. The technologies that are enabling smartware include the Internet of Things (IoT), mixed-reality environments, and additive fabrication, or 3D printing, as are incredible advances in sciences such as genomics and neuroscience. Some or all of these advances are core to the emergence of incredible new products that are just over the horizon—products such as self-driving vehicles and neighborhood parts manufacturing. In “Smartware, AI, and Magical Products,” we took a look at the current darling of technology and entertainment media: artificial intelligence. We’ll continue that analysis in this installment, as we look at some other core smartware technologies, before covering the key sciences underlying smartware in our next column. Read More