Emerging Tech Outlook 2020: Expect Advances in XAI, Mobile and VR

- January 1st, 2020

Experts and analysts share their insight on the top trends to look out for in 2020 across emerging tech industries.

Technology moved into uncharted territory in 2019, and this will only continue in the year ahead.

Newfound advances in mobile, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) and were notable this past year, although unsurprisingly this was coupled with heightened security vulnerabilities.

“Security will be one of the biggest challenges in deploying AI,” said AI and security expert Dawn Song at December’s Women in Machine Learning Workshop in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Similarly, concerns surrounding the future of employment will continue to surface as technological innovation surges ahead.

“Although there are still some understandable concerns, such as job displacements, massive AI adoption will happen whether we like it or not,” Dr. Alex Bogdon, chief scientific officer at Castle Ridge Asset Management, told the Investing News Network (INN).

But even as advances create greater uncertainties, there will be key opportunities. Within the finance field, for example, the juncture between AI and asset management could spawn obvious benefits.

“AI represents a paradigm shift as it allows investment managers to move beyond traditional methods of data analysis and use more sophisticated multi-factor models that rely on machine learning-based algorithms,” Bogdon continued.

With 2019 nearing its end, INN spoke with experts and analysts who shared their key outlooks for emerging technology in 2020. Continue reading for more of what they had to say.

Emerging tech outlook 2020: Mobile

According to Counterpoint Research, despite a slowdown in mobile phone sales in 2019, revenues will pick up into 2020. Although the research firm anticipates that mobile shipments will decline 3 percent in 2019, advances in 5G will help spark mobile sales next year.

In addition, mobile usage from commercial fleet vehicles will likely continue to take shape.

This connection was illustrated by Siyata Mobile (TSXV:SIM) during 2019. In September, the company received a purchase order to provide its connected vehicle devices to a global ride-sharing company.

“Although there currently isn’t a strong incentive for professional drivers to switch from a personal device to a Siyata device, a shift in regulations for ride-sharing companies which may require professional drivers to use a professional device (as opposed to their personal device) may open up a significant opportunity for Siyata,” Colin Tang, equity research analyst at Fundamental Research Company, told INN.

Siyata Mobile reported a 60.12 percent increase in year-over-year revenues for the third quarter of 2019 for a total of C$5.05 million in revenues.

Emerging tech outlook 2020: Virtual reality

Although VR was slow to pick up in 2019, next year has a brighter outlook. “This was a slow year for VR. I believe that from 2020 on it will just get bigger and more stable,” Daniel Japiassu, CEO of YDX Innovation (TSXV:YDX), told INN.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the VR market is anticipated to grow at a 42.2 percent compound annual growth rate between 2018 and 2026. Behind this growth will be significant research and development efforts from technology heavyweights such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Dassault (PA:DSY).

Healthcare, education and corporate training are other key areas where VR is showing signs of growth, added Japiassu. In addition, gaming is a natural industry that VR flourishes within.

“Gaming, of course, is the first big industry to bet in VR, and has seen a huge growth in number of products and content,” said Japiassu. “We will probably see the merger of products and companies since there is no space for everyone to grow.”

Over 2019, YDX Innovation established a number of key projects, including creating a VR Mickey Mouse with Disney (NYSE:DIS). Looking forward to 2020, YDX has an educational exhibition focused on energy slated for development. Immersive VR environments are a core feature of its projects.

Emerging tech outlook 2020: Explainable AI

Overshadowing advances in AI is, unsurprisingly, the question of job replacement.

When it comes to the finance industry, for example, Bogdon noted that AI will act in a supportive role, rather than as a displacement. “It is most likely that AI will augment rather than replace the top-skilled professionals in the financial industry,” he said.

Along with this concern are discussions surrounding how AI models come to their results or decisions. This area is known as explainable AI, or XAI. XAI aims to tackle two main quandaries within the field: black boxes and bias.

“Perhaps a larger concern is AI’s ‘explainability,’ or showing which factor(s) led to a decision or prediction, and how,” said Bogdon. “Transparency of the AI systems is particularly important in applications where trust matters and predictions carry financial risks.”

Currently, these two challenges are being targeted by researchers and academia.

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“Those problems are being addressed as we speak,” said Bogdon. “Some of those efforts, (such as) local interpretable model-agnostic explanations, aim to increase AI models’ transparency.”

Along with this, AI is — naturally — far from perfect.

“Most machine-learning methodologies and algorithms are dependent upon historical data, but there are certain things that happen that are very, very hard to predict,” Rick Roche, managing director at Little Harbour Advisors, told INN.

At the Women in Machine Learning Workshop, New York University academic researcher Margarita Boyarska posed the challenge as an opportunity. “Most methods rely on untestable assumptions,” she said during a presentation.

Emerging tech outlook 2020: Investor takeaway

The bottom line is that in 2019 there was no shortage of innovative companies producing cutting-edge technologies. Going into 2020, like always, the key for emerging technology firms will be sustainability and financial prudence.

Additionally, when it comes to AI in finance, the sheer scale of natural language processing and alternative data could bring new waves of data for finance professionals and data scientists.

Bogdon suggested that current portfolio construction methods are already antiquated.

“It is not just in data and patterns analysis where AI beats human asset managers. AI also helps develop reliable portfolios for the investor,” said Bogdon. “Most of the portfolio managers today still favor the mean-variance portfolio construction, which is a dated and ineffective approach first conceived over six decades ago.”

This poses an opportunity for both investors and fund managers.

“The true advantage of AI is its ability to learn ‘hidden’ patterns in large quantities of data without the use of explicit, top-down algorithmic models,” said Bogdon. “Human analysts are very limited in this respect and can only comprehend the most simple, serial logic-based patterns.”

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Technology for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Dorothy Neufeld, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 

Editorial Disclosure: Siyata Mobile and YDX Innovation are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid for content.

The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence. 

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