Wednesday, October 27

The digital leap of the last decade

Did you know that 4G telecommunications networks –the most widespread today– have barely been in existence for less than ten years in Spain? And is that putting filters on photos of meals or feet on the beach recent? Yes, in fact, 4G and Instagram are two of the most striking irruptions of the past decade.

4G networks came to life for Spaniards in 2013, when the large operators working in the country launched this fourth generation of telecommunications technology. But now it begins to be forgotten with the emergence of 5G. This better connection, although in some places in Spain they are still browsing on 3G, caused applications to take over smartphones and calls were relegated to a message platform, WhatsApp.

In 2009, this ‘app’ saw the light for the first time. Its creator was Jan Koum, a Ukrainian emigrant who months later was joined by his friend Brian Acton. But its commercial success didn’t explode until the middle of the last decade, right after its purchase by Facebook and Mark Zuckeberg.

A very similar story lived Instagram. Life with filters came in 2010 and within a few years the owner of the great social network fell in love, becoming one of the Facebook family. Now, that universe is used by more than 2 billion users.

Although if social networks have upended the way we communicate in recent years, mobility has also taken a 180 degree turn. Lyft, Uber and in Spain, Cabify, have added new ways for citizens to get around. It has been the entry of technology into mobility, which is aimed at achieving autonomous driving in, perhaps, the next decade.

Currently there are still numerous companies improving this technology due to the different problems that this revolutionary advance has presented. In 2017, during the test of an autonomous service, a fatal accident occurred. However, in 2019, New York carried out different tests that were successful, which allows us to believe that the era of autonomous cars is coming to stay.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already in mobile phones and in large computers and, in addition, it has become one of the family with the arrival of voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri or Google Home. But it is not only present in homes, but also increasingly makes its way into operating rooms and medical consultations. “AI is much more dangerous than nuclear weapons, so why don’t we have regulatory oversight; This is crazy, ”Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, admitted in 2018. And the authorities are in it, although without harmonizing their work.

Along with algorithms, under the shelter of AI, facial recognition has also grown. The fear of living in a giant and international Big Brother has been installed in recent years. However, privacy concerns and especially the racial biases of this new technology have cast doubt on its actual efficacy.

The cloud, the future

The digital cloud has proven to be efficient, as was evident during the pandemic caused by covid-19. It has already transformed the way many companies operate, because it gives the possibility of having more accessible technology. Thanks to it, many businesses have tools and technology that were previously only available to large companies that had the economic possibility of acquiring them.

Multiple reports predicted this and the balance sheets of large technology companies for the last quarter of 2020 confirm it: cloud services are growing strongly spurred by teleworking and health restrictions caused by the virus. In the cases of Microsoft’s ‘cloud’, Azure, and Alibaba Cloud, second and fourth in world market share according to various studies, growth has been 50% compared to the same period in 2019.

But the big leap forward in the last decade has been 3D printing. In the harshest months of the pandemic, which has served as a necessary test bed for many advances, these printers put themselves at the service of society with the construction of visors and even respirators. Over the years its evolution has become evident, from printing small pieces to serving as support for building constructions. The next step, building organs and bones, and designing food.

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