Microsoft researchers sound off on the next decade in tech

It’s Computer Science Education Week, in case you didn’t know, and in honor of this hallowed period Microsoft is publishing the thoughts of a few of its scientists and engineers on what will change in the tech world over the next decade.

Seventeen women were asked to chime in — an effort to highlight their voices in a field dominated by men — and you can read their full comments at the official Microsoft blog. I wouldn’t do you any favors by repackaging their already concise thoughts, but here are a few predictions I found interesting:

  • People with disabilities will become power users of AI assistants and tech that allows them to participate in and help direct the industry
  • Non-traditional fabrication and processing techniques — quantum, non-silicon, FPGA — will multiply in niche applications like machine learning and supercomputing
  • Probabilistic programming will deliver context-sensitive software that can approximate as well as calculate
  • Quantum computers will make low-strength cryptographic systems trivial to break
  • More than a quarter of adult Americans will do some kind of “gig” work, with AI bosses
  • The search box will disappear (I disagree)

One longer quote I want to highlight:

By 2027 we will have ubiquitous virtual reality systems that will provide such rich multisensorial experiences that will be capable of producing hallucinations which blend or alter perceived reality. Using this technology, humans will retrain, recalibrate and improve their perceptual systems.

Wow, that escalated quickly! Again, the rest of the comments are here. See you in the multisensorial, hallucinatory future!