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Cornerstone Business Solutions boss Chris Petty focuses on the technology trends for the year ahead…

As you’ve probably noticed, technology is changing on an almost daily basis, making it tough to keep up-to-date with the latest advances and trends.

AI – or artificial intelligence – is something I’ve written about in the past and continues to dominate, with four out of five people in the Western world now using it in one form or another – whether it’s the latest smartphone personal assistant, an impressive smart home device, streaming service or even a navigation app.

As we move into 2019, it’s a good time to look ahead to consider what the next 12 months might bring in terms of technology trends. AI remains something we should look out for but there’s so much else to push our tech buttons in the year ahead.


AI refers to computer systems built to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks such as recognition of images, speech or patterns and decision making. AI can do these tasks faster and more accurately than humans.

Machine Learning

This is true Terminator territory.

Machines (that’s computers to most of us) are now actually teaching themselves. World domination awaits… Machine learning is a subset of AI.

With machine learning, computers are programmed to learn to do something they are not programmed to do. They literally learn by discovering patterns and insights from data. They are now basically learning to do things themselves. Scary, huh?

Robotic Process Automation

Like AI and machine learning, Robotic Process Automation – or RPA – is a technology that’s automating jobs. RPA is the use of software to automate business processes such as interpreting applications, processing transactions, dealing with data and even replying to emails. RPA basically automates repetitive tasks, giving us more free time.

An example of how AI, machine learning and RPA working together is nicely illustrated by a customer service situation in which the customer first communicates with an AI customer service representative through a chat function or simply by talking.

During the process, the customer is given recommendations and suggestions on products with the help of machine learning algorithms. Finally, a software robot handles the customer’s order automatically and sends an order confirmation which accounts for the customer’s profile and the service situation in a natural way.

Cyber Security

It’s not necessarily new but many people are talking about cyber security and yet don’t really understand why we need it.

Cyber security consists of technologies, processes and measures that are designed to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack (which is conducted through the deliberate exploitation of systems, networks and technologies).

A strong cyber security stance is a key defence against cyber-related failures and errors, and malicious cyber-attacks.

Most cyber-attacks are automated and indiscriminate, exploiting known vulnerabilities rather than targeting specific organisations, so it’s vital to have the right cyber security measures in place to protect your organisation.

Internet of Things

This is the future. Many “things” are now being built with WiFi connectivity, meaning they can be connected to the internet and to each other. Hence, the Internet of Things enables devices, home appliances, cars and much more to be connected to and exchange data over the internet.

And we’re only at the early stages of IOT. The number of IOT devices reached 8.4 BILLION in 2018 and is expected to reach 30 billion by 2020.

These technologies will certainly improve how we work, live and play – and they are exciting and cool. But is there a scary part to all of this? Is Terminator becoming a reality or – maybe even more frightening – will we be needed for future jobs? Discuss!


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