3 Technology Predictions for 2017

With technology evolving at a rapid pace and transforming the way we live and work, we asked UMass technology experts Holly Yanco, professor of computer science at UMass Lowell; Tracie Ferreira, associate professor of bioengineering at UMass Dartmouth; and Xinwen Fu, associate professor of computer science at UMass Lowell, what advancements we can expect in 2017. Here are three examples:

1. Robots will change the way we work — for the better.

NASA robot ValkyrieNASA robot "Valkyrie"

“Robots will be our assistants in the workplace, rather than replacements for people,” said Yanco, of UMass Lowell. “Manufacturing robots will work side-by-side with people, who will be able to easily reprogram them to do new tasks. Additionally, there will be new jobs created for people to develop, build, maintain and program the robots. Computers changed the way we work, and robots will do the same; however, robots are not capable enough to do all of the work that people currently do.”

2. The doctor will see you now — remotely.

Doctor smiling in office(Lisa Brewster photo via Flickr.com)

"I think 2017 is likely to bring about great advancement in the field of remote sensors and patient health monitoring,” said Ferreira, of UMass Dartmouth. “Electrical, computer and biomedical engineers are all working on sensors that people can wear that relay vital health information back to a server and healthcare professionals can monitor routinely. This continuous data stream can certainly help physicians better treat patients. This will be very helpful for staying in touch with elderly people who cannot travel, perhaps placing an emergency call if a patient is in distress.” 

3. Keyboard warriors will become a real thing.

Hands typing on keyboard(Rachel Johnson photo via Flickr.com)

"In this age, from my perspective, any kind of a war starts with a cyber war,” said Fu, of UMass Lowell. “It’s happening now, and there will be more. Most countries are building an Internet army. The U.S. already had an Internet army a long time ago. China only started the process last year. Before, we only emphasized cyber defense and stopping attacks, but now it’s changed to cyber offense and actually launching attacks.”

Read more UMass expert predictions.