New 2017 technology

Future technology looks promising. Photo from Creative Commons.

Future technology looks promising. Photo from Creative Commons.

Ian Dewey '18, Staff Writer

In the past year, there have been little developments in the consumer electronics market, especially in mobile devices.  However, expected improvements have been made: increased RAM, better graphical capabilities, thinner products, etc.  Despite this, the advancement of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) technology has been sufficient.

The virtual reality market, therefore, is likely to expand.  In the past year alone, the Oculus Rift was released, one of the biggest advances in virtual reality technology to date.  As producing such devices becomes more efficient and people start buying them more often, the price of virtual reality devices should decline; perhaps not in the next year, but certainly in the near future.

Despite this, the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality device, isn’t too expensive, going at about $600.

Another market that is likely to grow in size is the streaming market, and on-demand satisfaction in general.  For the past couple years streaming services have dominated media, replacing mp3s and avis.  But that’s not the only thing that will become on-demand in 2017, according to Forbes.

In general,the consumer will see a spike in instant gratification next year.  With the success of services such as Uber, it is now obvious to producers that there is a market for on-demand services.  This means more food delivery options, faster shipping, easier rentals, etc.  If there’s a service someone needs done, there will be an app for that.

Although many of these changes are positive to the viewpoint of the consumer, other advancements won’t be as beneficial.  With the upcoming year, data-mining, a method by which an algorithm gathers data about end-users, will probably “see advancements to humanize big data, seeking more empathetic and qualitative bits of data and projecting it in a more visualized, accessible way,” according to Forbes.

This essentially means that in the near future, it will be even easier for both private and public institutions to data mine a person, and to run targeted ads at that person.  This is the reason many services such as Facebook are free.  Basically, privacy will become an even more rare comfort, due to the advancement of this technology.

Data mining, however, isn’t just negative depending on how one looks at it.  As previously stated, it makes many services free.  In addition, advancements in data mining will help create more personalized search algorithms.

Better searching algorithms are important because the more the website knows the person, the better chance of said person finding the type of article he/she desires.  More accurate algorithms also mean that targeted advertising is better.  Some people may consider this a bad thing, but more optimistic people may see this as a way of learning about new products they otherwise would’ve never dreamed of.

As for more specific devices and technologies being released next year, there presently isn’t very much information on that.  Presumably both Samsung and Apple are going to release their new phones, as they always do, both with minor improvements to them.  In mainstream consumer electronics, there probably won’t be many new improvements.

It seems that many people are eager for self-driving cars, and other advancements in transportation technology.  However, there will be no self-driving cars available in the mainstream consumer market by 2017.  

This doesn’t mean that self-driving cars aren’t in the near future.  By 2018, self-driving cars will be available for taxi services in Singapore, and this will expand to ten other cities by 2020, according to Driverless Future.

Other new developments may include space travel; the company SpaceX has been recently developing auto-piloted rockets and cheaper space travel in general.  And according to Space Flight Now, SpaceX is expected to be launching astronauts next year in 2017.

In the consumer market, there may not be many big developments, but we’ll find out as the year passes about the various minor improvements in the slew of products already available.  Any new leaps in interesting, exciting prospects are prominent in the near future.