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Beyond 2033 – outlooks from Lindholmen Software Development Day

The 2020 edition of Lindholmen Software Development Day took a firm grip on what’s ahead. By setting their eyes on year 2033 a strong lineup of speakers covered upcoming trends and developments in everything from AI and cyber security to the infrastructure and infostructure of society and production chains.
From the left: Anna Honnér, Mikael Jagelid Business Innovation, HiQ, Axel Nordberg, Global Director IQ Solutions at Essity & Christine Bjärkby

The digital version of Lindholmen Software Development Day got a kick-start from Erik Kruse, Partner Manager IoT Ecosystem at Ericsson. He painted a picture of a society on the verge of a possible revolution, with new tech leading the way.

We are now entering a second wave of transformation, where we are moving from an infrastructure with apps and computers, to an infostructure with AI and machine learning where we can get data from everywhere. This will have a profound impact on society – it will change what companies produce and the production chains.” said Erik Kruse.

One of the keys for this change will be 5G, which among other things boosts real-time data, faster connections and higher precision for positioning. It is a real enabler for a wide array of actors. But with these new possibilities come questions about our future. How much are we willing to share, what kind of society do we want to shape and what about the human factor?

With this technology development, we have to ask us the question if we really should develop everything we can. Do we want to replace the human aspects with a tactile internet and how far do we want to go? The biggest risk that we are facing now is RoI – risk of ignorance, of our planet and of our definition of humanity.” said Erik Kruse, who urged us all to form our visions as appeals to our better selves and calls to be something more.

A safe way forward

As the technology develops and more parts of our every-day life and services become digital, cyber security needs to keep up. This was addressed by Kristina Elestedt-Jansson, Head of Cyber Security Fusion Center Gothenburg at HCL Technologies, who talked about an evolving cybersecurity industry.

A few of the things Elestedt-Jansson highlighted as areas to focus on as the digitalization evolves were how automatic personalization can gain traction and how advanced biometrics may enable access to various platforms. For a cyber criminal, getting their hands on the data enabling these features may allow them to understand who you are and access critical information. Therefore, the cyber security industry has a big task at hand.

Solving potential issues calls for a greater awareness among the users and Elestedt-Jansson also called for a global take on cyber security since the security issues and criminals exist in a global setting, new legislation and new ways of balancing the fine line between personal integrity and protection. 

If we should be able protect the people from criminals it is more about protecting them from the cyber criminals than protecting their integrity. And then you can always question if that is what we want.” said Kristina Elestedt-Jansson.

The digitalized society, AI and Amazoogle

One aspect of the digitalized society is, as mentioned, how companies gather data about you to build their businesses by adapting their offer based on your actions. This is not something new, but how will this develop as the digitalization accelerates? Alexander Fred-Ojala, founder and CEO of Predli, gave the audience a glimpse into what these business models might have in store for the future.

To visualize how this field is changing he brought up an example under the name of Amazoogle. This combination of Amazon and Google, two of the giants when it comes to gathering and using data about its users in order to gain insights, have business models completely relying on data. And the data keeps growing, with a changing business landscape as a result. New players specialized on building insights by analyzing data are now dominating companies with older business models and according to Fred-Ojala the core of every business in the future will be data and AI.

The use for AI is almost unlimited and the ways it can help us are countless. But it has its limits. Winfried Wilcke, Distinguished Research Staff Member and Senior Manager at IBM Research Almaden Research Center, dove deeper into just what AI can do for us in the future, making machines more intelligent.

As of today, AI can’t compete with the human brain in all areas and there is still a long way to go in order for AI to, for example, learn to interpret a painting. Which a human finds simple. But new progress enables AI to take new steps and according to Wilcke we might see great progress when the development is moving on to Artificial General Intelligence, AGI.

AGI is not a point goal, but a deep stack of different levels of sophistications. Far in the future there will be things like consciousness, self-awareness and understanding jokes, which might be the hardest of all.” said Wilcke on the potential of AGI.

A key for AGI to reach its potential in high-level concepts is to let neuro-science guide the way and hyperdimensional computing be the tool. During his presentation Wilcke showed how the first is relevant since you can build AGI in a more intricate way and the latter will bring new possibilities by for example being extremely tolerant to errors.

Once this vision has been realized it can be used for everything. It is like asking what is the end application of a human?” said Wilcke.

Back to the future

Closing the day was Staffan Truvé, CTO and co-founder of Recorded Future who took the audience back to the launch of the first iPhone before looking to the future. Truvé pointed out how the iPhone, the internet and most recently the apps have all revolutionized the market and there is more to come.

AI is, for example, moving forward in more ways than the futuristic AGI. Lately we have seen progress within quantum supremacy and AI is evolving through GPT-3 and is working for us by, among other things, fixing problems we still have not noted, which lets us work with “what” instead of “how” while developing new products and services. This is great progress but Truvé is not sure that this is not enough moving forward.

The brain is still winning!” said Staffan Truvé commenting on the fact that a computer or AI still cannot think or act as humans in most cases. But despite the flaws compared to the human mind, the new tech will be useful in 2033, according to Truvé.

If a task is boring and repetitive, a machine will be doing it. Given a narrow enough domain and large enough chunk of money, machine learning or AI will be able to do the job. And maybe ‘search’ will evolve into ‘search and adapt’?” said Truvé and added:

And I think there will be some kind of revolution coming in terms of how we can find a code that does almost the same thing as we want to do and automatically and manually modify that into what we want to do. If this evolves it might revolutionize not only how we do things but also for who will be able to write the code.

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Next years conference will take place October 28, how we will meet we do not yet know, but what we know is that we will meet!