Amazon CTO makes five technology predictions

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon CTO Dr. Werner Vogels is looking ahead to the future of technology.

The chief technology officer of Amazon is offering predictions for how technology will evolve in five key areas during 2022 and beyond.

In a new corporate blog post, Dr. Werner Vogels looks to the coming year and speculates on important developments that will occur in technology areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and sustainability.  

Here is a recap of his predictions.

1. AI-supported software development takes hold

During 2022, Vogles expects machine learning (ML) will begin to play a major role in augmenting software developers’ workstreams, helping them create more secure and reliable code.

“Since the advent of the cloud, we’ve seen companies across the world bring new ideas to their customers at scale faster than ever,” said Vogels. “However, even with this acceleration in product delivery, people still spend a disproportional amount of time in one area of technology: software development.”

According to Vogels, tools like Amazon DevOps Guru, Amazon CodeGuru, GitHub Copilot, and GPT-3 are the first steps in what he sees as the future of development, where ML is used in code development and software operations workstreams to help developers become more effective.

“ML will free developers from the mundane parts of their jobs, such as code reviews and bug fixes—the undifferentiated heavy lifting of their world—and allow them to focus more on creating,” said Vogels. “The same technology will help us write sophisticated systems faster than ever and in ways that open the door to a new class of developers.”

Vogels said that these generative AI techniques will also increasingly be used create movies, music, and literature; as well start to play a role in detecting fraud.

2. The everywhere cloud has an edge

Now that cloud computing is nearly universal, Vogels predicts that in 2022, the cloud will become highly specialized at the edges of the network including Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

“To fully realize the benefits of the cloud in workshops and warehouses, in restaurants and retail stores, or out in remote locations, there must be tailored solutions at the edge,” Vogels said. “What we will see in 2022, and even more so in the years to come, is the cloud accelerating beyond the traditional centralized infrastructure model and into unexpected environments where specialized technology is needed. The cloud will be in your car, your tea kettle, and your TV. The cloud will be in everything from trucks driving down the road, to the ships and planes that transport goods. The cloud will be globally distributed, and connected to almost any digital device or system on Earth, and even in space.”

[Read more: IoT powers up retail energy savings and cost reductions]

3. The rise of smart spaces, especially in senior care

According to Vogels, during the next several years, “smart spaces” supported by ambient computing, collections of IoT sensors, remote/mobile data collection and processing at the edge, and smart devices like Amazon Alexa will have a major impact on elder care.

“It will be a combination of the simple tasks you would expect—from dimming lights, locking doors, and switching off the oven if someone forgets—to the more contextual and proactive things that technology can do: asking questions when normal living patterns diverge and enacting common sense solutions when necessary,” said Vogels. “It will result in taking better care of people, and in the case of an aging population, it means that we will create a new class of homes so people can actually stay at home.”

4. Sustainability gets its own architecture

In 2022, Vogels thinks developers will begin taking an active role in building sustainability-conscious architectures that take the planet into account.

“Developers will take an active role in reducing the carbon footprints of their applications,” said Vogels. “This will happen in a variety of areas, like taking into account where in the world they choose to run their applications to take advantage of green energy in the grid, considering the time needed to process a task, or even specifying the chipset they use. When operating at web scale, small savings can scale out to have a large impact. This doesn’t mean we don’t architect for high availability; it just means being more sustainability-conscious in our architectural decisions.”

5. A new wave of connectivity will bring about a new class of applications

Vogel’s final prediction concerns the future impact of the launch of more than 20,000 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites in the next five years, which he says will enable ubiquitous connectivity.

[Read more: Amazon gains permission to launch $10B satellite project]

“With ubiquitous connectivity, we start to unlock use cases that simply aren’t possible today,” Vogel said. “Try to imagine what happens in schools when every kid can use the same learning tools, or when small and medium-sized businesses get hold of digital tools they need to win more customers, grow their businesses, and create jobs in rural and remote communities around the world. Large enterprises with remote assets—such as solar installations, heavy equipment, or far-flung buildings—will be able to better optimize the use and maintenance of those assets.

In addition, Vogel said ubiquitous connectivity will provide transportation companies access to continuous data streams uploaded to the cloud, and regular updates downloaded to vehicles and vessels on the ground, in the air, and on the water.

“Ubiquitous connectivity will take us from intelligent spaces to intelligent cities, intelligent countries, and finally, toward an intelligent world,” he concluded.