IEEE Computer Society Grades Its 2020 Technology Predictions, Gets a B-

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The IEEE Computer Society (IEEE CS) revealed the scorecard for its 2020 Technology Predictions, which were published in Computer magazine's December 2019 issue. The 2020 Technology Predictions garnered a collective grade of B-.

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"Last year was the least predictable of all years for which we have conducted technology predictions, and--not surprisingly--our grade was B-," said Dejan Milojicic, former IEEE CS president (2014) and current Distinguished Technologist at Hewlett Packard Labs. "The advancement of most technologies slowed due to the ongoing pandemic, but then a few were actually accelerated."

The highest grades were given to AI@Edge, additive manufacturing, adversarial machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) and critical systems:

    --  AI@Edge (graded A-) was driven by the need to automate and filter data
        close to the edge by applying AI; it was critical in collecting
        pandemic-related information.
    --  Additive manufacturing (graded A/B) helped produce critical medical
        components and provided evidence that distributed, local manufacturing
        capabilities can be essential during times of supply-chain upheaval.
    --  Adversarial ML (graded B+) was increasingly used as systems continue to
        incorporate ML, in particular through variants of reinforcement learning
        and neural networks.
    --  AI and critical systems (also graded B+) were deployed increasingly in
        more systems that affect public health, safety, and welfare.

All 2020 Technology Predictions and Grades

     1    AI@Edge (A-). Not surprisingly, the
              adoption of AI at edge dominated the
              predictions in 2020.

     2    Additive manufacturing (A/B). The bulk of
              our predictions for additive
              manufacturing proved valid in 2020.

        3-4  Adversarial ML (B+). We correctly
              predicted that adversarial ML would
              become increasingly important in 2020.

            AI and critical systems (B+). We predicted
              that AI would be deployed in more systems
              that affect public health, safety, and
              welfare (as opposed to, for example,
              entertainment systems) over the next five
        3-4   years.

            Non-volatile memory products, interfaces,
              and applications (B). Non-volatile
              memory enables next-generation computing
              in the data center, at the edge, and
              embedded in industrial and consumer

     5     products.

            Legal and related implications to reflect
              security and privacy (B). We predicted
              that legal and policy responses to
              security and privacy concerns would
              continue to demand the attention of

     6     engineers, the public, and policymakers.

            Digital Twins, including Cognitive Twins
              (B-). Digital Twins are now mainstream
              in business, particularly in the
              manufacturing area with availability of
              industrial platforms to support them (GE
              and Siemens are main players in this

     7     area).

            Reliability and safety challenges for
              intelligent systems (B/C). Intelligent
              systems, which are capable of making
              autonomous decisions based on AI
              algorithms, are becoming increasingly
              widespread in several application fields
              (for example, autonomous robots and

     8     vehicles).

            Applying AI to cybersecurity (B/C). We
              expected that AI/ML would start being
              widely adopted in cybersecurity and even
              envisioned broad participation of

     9     industry, government, and academia.

     10   Practical delivery drones (B/C). Our team
              is largely in consensus that the promise
              of practical delivery drones hasn't
              panned out during 2020.

            Cognitive skills for robots (C+). We
              predicted that recent breakthroughs in
              large-scale simulations, deep
              reinforcement learning, and computer
              vision collectively would bring forth a
              basic level of cognitive abilities to
              robots that would lead to significant

     11    improvements of robotic applications.

     12   Quantum computing (C+). Quantum computing
              gained tremendous visibility in 2020.

Visit the IEEE CS 2020 Scorecard to view the complete analysis and evaluation for each prediction.

The Evaluation Process
Following the established process from previous years, the authors who originally made the predictions in November 2019 evaluated their predictions individually. The averages and standard deviations were used as a basis for the discussion that eventually resulted in the final rating.

The authors' collective rating for the 2020 predictions resulted in a grade of B-, which was a bit lower than the 2019 and 2018 B grades, and lower still than the 2017 A- grade.

The technical contributors for this document are available for interviews. The IEEE CS team of leading technology experts includes Mary Baker, HP Inc.; Tom Coughlin, Coughlin Associates; Erik DeBenedictis, entrepreneur; Paolo Faraboschi, Hewlett Packard Enterprise VP and Fellow; Eitan Frachtenberg, data scientist; Danny Lange, VP of AI at Unity; Phil Laplante, professor, Penn State; Andrea Matwyshyn, Professor and Assoc. Dean of Innovation, Penn State Law - University Park, and professor, Penn State Engineering; Avi Mendelson, professor, Technion and NTU Singapore; Cecilia Metra, professor, Bologna University, and IEEE CS past president; Dejan Milojicic, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Distinguished Technologist and former IEEE CS president; Roberto Saracco, Chair of the IEEE-FDC's Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Initiative; and Jeffrey Voas, NIST.

About the IEEE Computer Society
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