Smart Machines – Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015

Appearing in the top 10 of Gartner’s strategic technology trends for 2015 is the concept of Smart Machines.  Oh yeah baby, the Jetsons will soon become a reality!  According to Gartner, they see Smart Machines as:

Prototype autonomous vehicles, advanced robots, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors already exist and will evolve rapidly, ushering in a new age of machine helpers. The smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.

If we thought we had smart machines now, we better be prepared for 2015 and beyond.  In a world where cars can drive themselves and robots can help with monotonous daily chores, people well become even more productive and efficient.  Your 90 minute commute to work will allow you to have a 5-hour work day as the three hours you spend in the car will now be counted as 3 hours in your mobile office.  You’ll be able to attend meetings, answer emails and video conference while your smart car is weaving you in and out of traffic and finding the closest space to park (which is now automated thanks to sensors being placed in each parking stall).

Advanced robots will be able to not only vacuum your house, but also sweep, fold laundry and do the dishes.  You will have more free time to spend at your leisure while your robot is busy keeping your house in pristine shape.

Robots and Software Will Replace People

According to computerworld.com, in 2025 1 in 3 jobs will be replaced by software or people!  This is a bold prediction and really hits home the fact that we believe we’re smart enough to create advanced software and robots that can handle the majority of jobs performed by actual humans today.

For example, let’s talk drones – the kind that fly high in the sky and are equipped with various sensors and cameras.  Where an insurance adjuster will visit a destroyed crop to assess the damage, an advanced drone complete with advanced software and sensors will be able to fly over a field, assess the damage to the crop and fly on to the next job in a fraction of the time it would have taken a human to drive to the location, do a manual assessment and move on to the next location.  robots and advanced software are serious technologies and will have a huge impact in 2015 and beyond.

Machines are Grading  Papers and Reading Unstructured Text!

According to a recent news story, colleges in the UK are using machines to read and grade hand-written student essays!  The software is to the point where it is advanced enough to actually read-in and comprehend student essays.  How it does this and what the algorithms are I have no idea yet we’re to the point where subjective actions that once required human interaction are being performed by machines.

How To Invest in Smart Machines and Robots

If you want to throw some dollars in the market you could play it safe and invest in:

  1. IBM
  2. Google
  3. Amazon

All three of these companies will be players in the robotics and smart machine movement.  However if you want a more pure play with higher risk but bigger upside, you may look at investing in:

  • iRobot (IRBT)
  • Adept Technology Inc (ADEP)
  • Mazor Robotics Ltd. (MZOR)