Alibaba DAMO Academy (DAMO), the global research initiative by Alibaba Group, presented its forecast of the leading trends the company believes will shape the tech industry in 2022.
Founded in October of 2017, Alibaba DAMO Academy explores the unknown through scientific and technological research and innovation to serve humanity. By analyzing millions of public papers and patent filings over the past three years, and conducting interviews with around one hundred scientists, DAMO came up with its Top 10 technology trends for the next two to five years expected to make impacts across sectors in the economy and the society at large.
"Over the past century, the evolution of digital technologies has accelerated technological progress and industrial development. The boundary of technologies is extended from the physical world to mixed reality, while more and more cutting-edge technologies find their way to industrial applications," said Jeff Zhang, Head of Alibaba DAMO Academy.
Considering this, Alibaba expects to see a surge of applications running on top of the new computing system in the next two years, as well as the following tech trends:
- Cloud-Network-Device Convergence
The rapid development of new network technologies will fuel the evolution of cloud computing towards a new computing system of cloud-network-device convergence. In the next three years, Alibaba expects to see AI broadly applied in the research process of applied science, the widespread use of silicon photonic chips in large-scale data centers, AI paving the way for integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid, people-centric precision medicine becoming a major trend, ground-breaking improvements in the performance and interpretability of privacy-preserving computation, as well as a new generation of XR glasses.
- AI for Science
AI will be broadly applied in the research process of applied science and be used as a production tool in some basic sciences.
- Silicon Photonic Chips
A widespread use of silicon photonic chips in high-speed data transmission in large-scale data centers.
- AI for Renewable Energy
AI to pave the way for integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid and contribute to the safe, efficient, and reliable operation of the power grid.
- High-precision Medicine
People-centric precision medicine become a major trend that will span multiple fields of healthcare, including disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
- Privacy-preserving Computation
Ground-breaking improvements in the performance and interpretability of privacy-preserving computation and witness the emergence of data trust entities that provide data sharing services based on the technology.
- Extended Reality (XR)
A new generation of XR glasses that have an indistinguishable look and feel from ordinary glasses entering the market and serving as a key entry point to the next generation of Internet. In the next five years, the company expects to see perceptive soft robotics replacing conventional robots in the manufacturing industry, and satellites and terrestrial systems working as computing nodes providing ubiquitous connectivity.
- Perceptive Soft Robotics
Perceptive soft robotics will replace conventional robots in the manufacturing industry and pave the way for wider adoption of service robots in our daily life.
- Satellite-terrestrial Integrated Computing
Satellites and terrestrial systems will work as computing nodes to constitute an integrated network system providing ubiquitous connectivity. In addition, Alibaba expects to see the future AI shifting to the co-evolution of large- and small-scale models via clouds, edges, and devices.
- Co-evolution of Large- and Small-scale AI Models
The future AI is shifting from the race on the scalability of foundation models to the co-evolution of large- and small-scale models via clouds, edges, and devices, which is more useful in practice.