Here are high points from the Microsoft researchers:
> Speech and language technology will be increasingly multilingual, predicts Kalika Bali, a researcher in Microsoft’s India lab.
Look for systems, she says, that “understand, process and generate the language that an English-Spanish or a French-Arabic or a Hindi-English speaker uses when she effortlessly switches from one language to another, within the same conversation, chat and sometimes even within the same sentence.”
> “Deep learning” will be huge next year in both search and information retrieval, predicts Susan Dumais, a distinguished scientist in Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., research lab.
Deep learning models, she says, “will continue to improve the quality of web search results and will lead to more general improvements in document understanding and query articulation.”
> Probabilistic programming is the most revolutionary change coming in software, according to Kathryn McKinley, a principal researcher at Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond.
But what is probabilistic programming? “Developers produce models,” McKinley explains, “that estimate the real world and explicitly reason about uncertainty in data and computations.” How real is this? McKinley believes the approach will lead to “exciting new applications” by this time next year.
IDC on Robotics
Meanwhile, over at market watcher IDC, the latest topic is robotics.
Think it’s only a market for solution providers serving clients in manufacturing? Think again: IDC now predicts that more than a third (35%) of leading organizations in logistics, healthcare, utilities and resources will explore the use of robotics in their operations by 2019.
What else does IDC expect for robotics?
Would you believe Robots as a Service? Following the popular software, platform and infrastructure “as a service” models, robot applications will be offered via the cloud, too. In fact, IDC predicts that nearly a third (30%) of commercial robotic applications will be offered as a service by 2019.
Do any of your clients have a Chief Robotics Officer yet? They could. IDC predicts that 30% of leading organizations will have a robotics-specific function in the business by 2019.
Robotics jobs could be tough to fill. About 35 percent of robotics jobs will left vacant by 2020, IDC expects, due to competition for employment. By that same year, the average salary for a robotics job will have increased by at least 60 percent, IDC predicts.
So there you have it — some expert forecasts for the coming year. Get ready: 2017 looks like it’s going to be a wild ride for solution providers everywhere.