Friday Essentials: Biggest Tech News 2016

It’s the last Friday of the year and while we bid adieu to 2016, let’s talk about the things that dominated the world of technology this year. Although the year has been marred by several mishaps and a lot of cybercrime attacks. Nevertheless, 2016 has certainly seen some big changes and it would be certainly worthwhile to read some of the biggest tech stories this year.

  1. AI Assistants

Call it inspiration from Hollywood but 2016 has marked phenomenal advancements in Artificial Intelligence. With the launch of AI based voice assist technologies by Google, Amazon this year has been a stepping stone towards AI implementation in consumer technology. The coming year might see more of such AI Assistant smart-speakers by Microsoft and Gartner. At this rate, we will all have our personal AI assistants like Tony Stark’s JARVIS in the coming years.


  1. Cyber Security Shenanigans

Even if we choose to ignore the, cybercrimes are still happening across the globe and are as real as terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, 2016 will be remembered as the year when people lost faith in cybersecurity. We’ve heard countless news of data breaches from some of the biggest internet names such as Facebook, amazon, yahoo, Netflix, snapchat and twitter etc. where millions of users had their personal information compromised by hackers. This not only tarnishes the security claims by these internet powerhouses but also shows how unsafe our personal information is on the internet.


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  1. Jack-less iPhone 7

Never before in tech history, has the absence of a small hole caused so much outrage among buyers. This was seen when Apple shocked buyers by revealing iPhone 7 to not include the 3.5 mm audio jack. This was done in order to cross-sell their new AirPods Bluetooth earphones. Unfortunately, the experiment seems to be falling flat on Apple’s face as the accompanying earphones were delayed for release and are still tough to find in several areas across the globe.


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  1. Driverless Tech Boom and Crash

2016 was hailed as the year when we would finally see a fully-functioning driverless cars. With some major advancements in artificial intelligence and image recognition we thought they’d finally come up with something substantial this year. Unfortunately, the news of a man dying while using Tesla Model S autopilot mode has raised a lot of suspicions and doubts about the viability of this tech. This month we also heard the news about Google shelving its autonomous car project, which seems to be the final nail in coffin for this highly ambitious tech.


See Also: Predictions of Top 12 Innovations by 2050

  1. Smartphone Gaming on the Rise

Regardless of how insignificant hardcore gamers find people who play games on smartphones, this year has shown a major change in people’s tastes in gaming. After some extremely popular smartphone games such as angry birds, temple run and subway surfers getting tons of media attention in the past years, a major breakthrough came mid 2016 with the release of Pokémon Go. With over 20 million users in the US alone, this augmented reality game showed how the smartphone platform might be a preferred choice for future gamers. The success was solidified by the release of Super Mario Run which became one of the highest grossing app this year.


  1. Virtual Reality Galore

After presenting us with half-assed debacles like the Virtual Boy in mid-90s and cheap (yet revolutionary) gimmicks like the Google Cardboard, we’re finally seeing some great Virtual Reality gears this year. Wearable VR devices such as the HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift were released and were met with highly favorable reviews from buyers and gadget experts. Some advanced VR apparatus such as the Microsoft HoloLens has also shown immense promise and created some new possibilities for gaming industry.


See Also:Artificial Learning, Machine Learning and Deep Learning: Know The Difference

  1. Exploding Phones

We’ve seen plenty of faulty smartphone devices that explode due to some manufacturing defects. But when a brand like Samsung releases such unfinished technology, this would certainly raise a lot of eyebrows. This year, their highly prized and heavily marketed smartphone the Note 7 was heavily scrutinized by buyers as they started exploding and bursting into flames, after being purchased by customers. This news caused a worldwide phenomenon and soon became viral on social media and YouTube with videos. Samsung has issued recalls for the device, citing the reason as a faulty battery.


  1. Ransomware Galore

If you’re still unfazed by the increasing number of cybercrime attacks this year, this deadly computer virus will certainly change your mind. 2016 has also been termed by experts as the year of Ransomware. This highly malicious virus is known to infect the victim’s computer and encrypting various files required by system functioning. The victim is then informed by the virus about the hijack and is demanded a sum to retrieve their locked data. The worst part of this virus is that even if you’re able to remove it from your system, the encrypted data is still inaccessible and cannot be viewed without authentic decryption key.


It would be easy to blame all mishaps on the year itself, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Each security or data breach shows us how important is it to protect your details online and each new technology opens up possibilities for further improvements and advancements. With that been said, we would wish you a Happy New Year and hope that we get to see some even more exciting technologies in 2017.

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