AI, self-driving cars and cyberwar – the tech trends to watch for in 2017

AI. One of the key areas of research for 2017 is data efficiency: the problem of trying to teach machine-learning systems how to do more, with less. Think about how many times your average three-year-old needs to see a particular animal before they can correctly identify it, compared with the thousands of images a neural network needs to ingest to perform the same basic task.

Cyberwar. Let’s not mince words: cyberwar has already begun. If it didn’t start in 2008, when (probably) the Israeli and US intelligence services used the Stuxnet virus to destroy Iranian nuclear centrifuges, and it didn’t start in 2015, when the US Office of Personnel Management was hacked by (probably) China, stealing the personal details of millions of government employees, then it certainly started in 2016, when (probably) Russia hacked in to the Democratic National Congress, exflitrating emails which were released with the intention of altering the outcome of an election.