Six tech trends that will shape society and education in the coming decade

It’s tempting to think the digital revolution is well advanced. In fact, it’s only just beginning.
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The tech revolution has only just begun

When you consider how embedded technology is within our daily lives, it’s tempting to think the digital revolution is well advanced. In fact, it’s only just beginning.

Despite all the incredible advances and widespread adoption of technology, modern society has only scratched the surface of what is possible. In the next decade, progress will be exponential and this will have a major impact on the education sector.

This rapid and inevitable technological transformation brings both opportunities and challenges. New ways of learning, working and interacting with technology and global entities will emerge, and new legal frameworks will be required to maintain security throughout the user experience process.

Six of the most important key trends that will shape the coming decade are:

The rise of 5G
If you consider the internet to be pervasive now, just wait until 5G. Offering ubiquitous, high-bandwidth connections, millions of devices will be connected at all times. For consumers, 5G will offer download speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second – enough to allow an HD movie to be downloaded in seconds.

For enterprises, 5G is likely to hasten the demise of traditional corporate networks. Rather than having to use VPNs over the public internet, remote and mobile workers will enjoy much better performance over 5G links. The challenge will be finding new ways to keep applications and data secure with this increased access and use.

A reshaped workplace
Thanks to technologies such as 5G and the rapid evolution of mobile devices, the way in which people learn will inevitably change. Rather than travelling to a traditional campus, increasing numbers might complete tasks from remote locations around the world.

Since early in the millennium, telecommuting has grown dramatically and, according to the Upwork Future Workforce Report1, by 2028 73% of all teams will have remote employees. This will create significant changes in the way organisations operate and access data and applications as both continue to move to the cloud.

Security challenges
Unfortunately, this evolving digital world will bring ongoing security challenges. There is likely to be a rapid increase in attacks on government agencies and private-sector institutions and organisations.

The signs are already there. In 2019, attacks were mounted against a wide variety of Australian organisations including the Australian National University, Australian Institute of Sport, Optus, and the Victorian Health Department.

In the coming decade, we can expect the attacks to become even more widespread. Taking steps to boost security will become a critical item on every educator’s to-do list.

The rising importance of identity
The widespread use of 5G networks and cloud services in coming years will make the issue of identity even more important. A global standard will have to be developed that determines how an individual’s online identity is created, used, stored, updated, and protected.

In addition to improved security processes, the industry will require improved regulations. Europe’s GDPR laws are a great example of what can be achieved, and other countries will have to follow a similar path.

Ongoing evolution of AI and machine learning
If the world is still in its infancy when it comes to innovation in the digital era, it’s in nappies when it comes to artificial intelligence and machine learning. The rate of development will accelerate dramatically during the next decade, and capabilities will far surpass the expectations of today.

Within 10 years, AI will have advanced to the point where it can help to increase the global food supply, cure cancers and resolve other seemingly intractable societal problems. The data is already out there, and AI is what we need to make sense of it all.

Within the enterprise space, machine learning algorithms will also help security organisations sift through data and identify threats based on behaviours. While criminals are using AI and automation themselves, security specialists will also find it an increasingly powerful protection.

IoT bonanza
Closely tied to the 5G trend is the rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT) space. During the next decade, billions of devices will be connected to the internet, allowing them to share data and be remotely controlled.

In the workplace and in educational research institutions, these devices will include printers, video conferencing systems, digital kiosks, diagnostic tools and industrial control systems. As well as improving efficiencies and allowing vast new quantities of data to be collected, these connected devices will also bring significant security concerns.

Together, these key technology trends will help to shape the world and how we learn during the 2020s. The pace of development and change will only increase, meaning that those educators with a firm eye on the future will be best placed to grasp new opportunities.

Looking back a decade, it’s impressive to see just how far the world has come. However, in the words of an old pop song, “You ain’t seen nothing yet”.