Pandemic will drive AI, biotech in 2022

We continue our look ahead at some of the biggest trends forecast for the year ahead. This week, the spotlight falls on the technology industry, which like many others, has been hit and has had to adapt to the evolving pandemic. 

 AI-driven biopharma – and AI-driven cyberhacking. The rapid development of mRNA vaccines to combat Covid-19 in the previous year signals that the world may be at the advent of a new revolution in industrialised bio pharmaceuticals. Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud technology, faster drug testing and other factors will help to drive breakthroughs in products and services across the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, likely bringing more products and services to market, faster.  On the flip side of this, security experts warn that cyber hackers are likely to leverage the same AI technologies to hit companies and governments through mass-personalisation phishing campaigns and by generating realistic facial features that could defeat anti-hacking defences.

 Forget 5G, 6G will serve the next stage of internet usage. As governments ease restrictions and companies see more workers returning to the office, it is likely that hybrid computing balancing remote work with office networks will emerge as the new normal. This year, 1.4 billion more people will use the Internet, up from 3.4 billion in 2017, and consume 4.8 zettabytes of data – that’s 11 times what all global users consumed in 2012.  This will need robust capacity and high speeds, which is why 5G networks, still in their infancy, are likely to be eclipsed as nations such as China, the U.S. and European countries join with tech giants to push research into sixth-generation (6G) networks. 

 Expect more scrutiny and regulation, especially for AI. As technology, particularly AI, becomes more pervasive in our lives through everything from facial recognition technology to automated hiring and firing software at companies, there will be more pressure on governments to scrutinise and regulate technology developers to ensure that their products and solutions are more transparent, accountable and do not violate rights such as individual and data privacy. For example, the EU’s proposed Artificial Intelligence Act which calls for companies to show that their software do not cause harm to subjects or users, be it physical or psychological. Even this legislation has been criticised as not going far enough, while companies such as Google have publicly called for a “balance” to regulation to avoid stifling innovation. 

 Will the benefits of AI-driven technology for society outweigh the risks?

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Marie Teo
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Spire Research and Consulting
Phone: (65) 6838 5355
E-mail: marie.teo@spireresearch.com