The exponential improvement of technology led to some tech innovations that were quite astonishing in 2018.

Here are some of the most mind-blowing tech innovations of the past year that are expected to make waves in years to come.

En garde!

Duelling AI is one of the best ways to improve this technology’s ability to create believable results and recognise the world around it.

The brainchild of Ian Goodfellow, generative adversarial networks, or GANs, incorporate two neural networks – these are the simplified mathematical models of the human brain that underpin machine learning. These two neural networks are then trained on the same data set, after which one network, called the generator, creates variations on images it has already seen, for example a person with three arms. The second neural network, called the discriminator, then has to decide whether the image supplied by the generator is like the images it has been trained on, or whether it’s fake.

This process continues until the generator is so good at this, that it produces images that might just fool humans. In real life, GANs have been used to create photorealistic fake imagery and realistic sounding speech. Ultimately, pitting neural networks against one another helps them to become smarter and to be able to recognise and understand the underlying structure of the world.

Check out GAN in action in the video below.

Translation technology straight out of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’

In the cult classic, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, getting instant translations is as easy as popping a Babel fish into your ear. Now, that technology is being developed in the real world. Google’s Pixel Buds works with Google Assistant to provide real-time translation to users, and a number of other companies are also working on routes to lead us when we get lost in translation.

Have a look at these translation earbuds from Mars (not the planet).

Quantum computing

The field of quantum computing is expected to grow immensely in as little as the next 5 years. Even so, quantum computers are still being developed, with the huge computer labs that are the embryonic stages of this technology being reminiscent of the development of classical computers in the mid 20th century.

While a universal quantum computer is still in the infancy of its development, this is expected to lead the way towards the next computing revolution. Because the operating system of nature is quantum mechanics and not the binary system that classical computers use, quantum computers may provide us with the opportunity to anticipate what molecules might do in the human body – something that could be groundbreaking in the pharmaceutical industry.

As the amounts of data that we work with has amplified, we now need computer systems that are able to process larger amounts of data quicker and more efficiently, which is why quantum computers are not a far-off possibility, but rather almost a certainty within the next few years. Quantum computers will be able to further the development of artificial intelligence and may be able to help us with optimising solutions top real-world problems like climate change.

Have a look at what some of the industry leaders in this field are doing to develop quantum computers today.

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