IBM tech predictions for 2019

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Drawing on IBM’s unmatched capabilities to meet clients’ most pressing needs, here are five of the most important tech predictions for 2019 that cut across AI, blockchain, regulation, quantum computing and hybrid cloud:

Blockchain goes mainstream… quietly

In 2019, consumers will begin to see blockchain applied to a variety of everyday uses, but they probably won’t recognize it as blockchain.

Financial service providers will roll out identity tokens enabling users to log into online banking sites without a user name or password. Permissioned data exchanges will allow consumers to seamlessly share personal data from one party to another. Furthermore, more food retailers will hop on the blockchain bandwagon, which will promote better food safety.

Trusted AI begins making AI more transparent

Organizations will deploy new tools that enable them to better understand how an AI system arrives at a conclusion. AI’s progress has been slowed in large part because people don’t trust what they see as a black box. This year, a number of organizations responded to these concerns by establishing ethics advisory boards, applying AI for social good, and introducing tools and capabilities that give organizations confidence in their ability to understand and manage AI systems. In 2019, we’ll begin to see the fruit of these early efforts, as they become central to how companies build, train and deploy AI technologies, along with an emphasis on encouraging diversity on technical teams to ensure that many voices and perspectives guide technological progress.

Governments clamp down on tech

More regulations are coming in the U.S. and other countries to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens and oversee blockchain technology. GDPR is just the beginning of a new regulatory environment for the tech industry. In the aftermath of major scandals involving social media platforms that spread dangerous information and misused personal data on an unprecedented scale, several major technology company CEOs have come out in support of a new U.S. consumer privacy law.

Commercial quantum computing comes of age

In 2019, the first commercial versions of quantum computing systems and quantum cryptography will hit the market. Quantum computers could one day provide breakthroughs in many disciplines, including materials and drug discovery, the optimization of complex systems, and artificial intelligence. But to realize those breakthroughs, and to make quantum computers widely usable and accessible, we need to re-imagine information processing and the machines that do it. Now, 50 years of advances in mathematics, materials science, and computer science have transformed quantum computing from theory to reality.

Hybrid cloud takes center stage

More companies will adopt hybrid cloud as they seek to move mission critical data and workloads between public cloud and on-premise servers or data centers.

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