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THE DIGITAL LIST


Ones to watch 2019


Scotland’s ambition to become a leading digital nation burns fiercely as we prepare to enter 2019. With a vibrant technology eco-system that includes a top five global computing school and some of the best startup schemes in the UK, the future looks bright. In the fast-evolving digital industries, it is always hard to predict talent, new technologies and ideas that might produce the next tech ‘unicorn’; as we look forward to another hopefully prosperous new year, FutureScot has teamed up with some of the country’s foremost tech leaders to give us their nominations for Person, Company and Technology that will become the ‘Ones to Watch’ for 2019. BY KEVIN O’SULLIVAN


Real, practical applications for the immense capability of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become the ‘breakthrough’ technology of 2019, according to FutureScot’s panel of experts. Estate agents – who often poll


among the least trusted of occu- pations – are ripe for the picking as computer algorithms continue to disrupt service industries on an industrial scale. Paralegal work may also be


disrupted in ever more significant ways in the year ahead, and even triage and preliminary medical diagnostics look set be increas- ingly delegated to automation. At the physical end of the scale,


experimentation with AI-based robotics and transportation will see more tangible, real-world dis- ruption of our built and natural environment. Te rise in autono- mous drones and precision man- ufacturing techiques – based on analysis of large data sets – will continue to refine process-driven


20 | FUTURESCOT | WINTER 2018


industries, again automating much human activity. But as FutureScot panelist


Donald McLaughlin, Chair of Skills Development Scotland, points out: “However, there will still be many things that humans continue to find easy and computers find difficult, so it’s important to keep things in perspective. Te key thing to recognise is that we will need to have the right skills to exploit the huge opportunities this evolution will bring.”


The University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre will be at the forefront of some of the pioneering AI technologies – a ‘One to Watch’ for 2019. Picture by Keith Hunter


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