ifanRank 2020 Technology: One Bad News, One Good News

If alien visitors come to Earth before 2020, it will be a lively and lively place.

At that time, the new crown virus had not yet invaded all cities-the streets flowed endlessly, neon lights were shining day and night, people talked and laughed vigorously, walked freely, and breathing had not become a luxury.

On January 1, 2020, everything began to change; on December 31, 2020, everything has not ended.

This is an absurd year. We are constantly losing. The new crown epidemic, heat waves, blizzards, and locust floods have caused the global economy and living environment to collapse. The sudden online virtual society has triggered an absurd and dramatic change in the technology industry.

This is also a year of hope. We are still racing towards the future. From the deep research of our own cutting-edge technologies to the aerospace innovations of space travel, epoch-making milestones stand among them. The new era of technology is surging like a wave in this fragile year.

It can be said that 2020 is the true beginning of the 21st century .

▲ Picture from: fastcompany

Absurd year

At the beginning of this year, a candlelight far away in Australia illuminated everyone's pupils bright red. One billion animals were burned and thousands of people were left homeless. Not many people have reacted yet. The new crown virus is like a butterfly effect, quickly pushing everyone into possible danger. Civilians, celebrities and politicians cannot get immunity.

On January 23, Wuhan closed the city, and all buses, subways, ferries, high-speed rail, and airports were suspended. In the hospital, the nurse's hasty expression and the patient's desperate face interlaced, and the family members could only stare brokenheartedly outside the glass room.

On February 7, the "whistleblower" Li Wenliang was infected with the virus and died. The onlookers in front of the screen really began to wake up from their deep sleep, beginning to be angry, deploring and panicking.

The battle against the epidemic has already started, although we must resist with retreat from the beginning.

▲ Picture from: rawpixel

The global economy is in chaos, factories are laid off and reorganized, stores are closed, and workers are suddenly unemployed. Everything is like a sudden free fall. Closed management began in various places, and the epidemic map quickly became popular. The individuals trapped in it were like returning to an ancient cave, quarantining at home for the longest Spring Festival in history.

The " online society for all people ", which was once thought to appear in the next century, came 100 years earlier than imagined.

Many industries that were otherwise silent have risen rapidly like a spiral. The epidemic has accelerated the process of people's onlineization, and new tracks and new applications have followed.

The Internet platform may become the biggest beneficiary.

The video app necessary for people to work remotely has suddenly become popular. The market value of Zoom has soared by 7 times, and the highest number of users per day reached 200 million. Microsoft, Google, and Tencent have all begun to seize the video conferencing platform market.

▲ Picture from: Dixie Sun News

However, in April, the Hong Kong CUHK exams were hacked using the Zoom software , causing all staff to be forced to watch the AV incident, which once again brought these platforms to the forefront due to security vulnerabilities and privacy issues.

Online learning apps have also become a necessity. There has been an unprecedented "spectacle" in distance education, and the people's teachers in primary and secondary schools across the country have become "anchors." Soon the capital was chasing, and education companies entered the game one after another. Job Gang and Ape Coaching completed billions of dollars in financing, with a valuation of up to tens of billions of dollars, becoming the world's number one technology education sector .

However, the “popularity” of the app Dingding did not go smoothly. The primary school students were tired of studying and broke out. They formed a group to give Dingding a star, which put them at risk of being removed from the shelves.

It seems that the Internet platform may also become the biggest victim.

At this time, they have drawn their attention to the world. There are still many countries who are not aware of the seriousness of this disaster. They think that avoiding the virus is as simple as avoiding a car. They have to give up until the people around them start to be infected. The freedom to go out, because going out has finally become a bet, and the price of losing is the cost of life.

▲ Picture from: unaplash

Everyone began to stay in the small fixed space at home. They could hear the sound of the wind blowing through the beams, and could see the sunlight walking from the bedside to the side of the bed. At the same time, they felt inexplicably confused, lonely and fearful of the present and the future. Therefore, the field of spiritual consumption is booming, and people slowly learn to cook, arrange flowers, garden, and even meditate.

However, in countless solutions to the emptiness, the final destination is to indulge in mobile phones. After all, most of those things always start with social software and then end with social software.

When nothing new happened on social media, a " virtual carnival " kicked off.

​The 2020 Spring Festival films are all withdrawn, and "囧Mo" has become the first cinema movie to be played online for free. The two video platforms of iQiyi and Tencent are firmly seated on the basis of many popular dramas and popular variety shows. The first echelon, but they are still far away from foreign streaming media.

The traffic of various foreign streaming media apps has also surged. Netflix and Disney+ have become the biggest winners. The former is still the king of streaming media. The phenomenon-level drama "Raising a Tiger in Trouble" has become the world's most popular documentary; the latter has a surge in subscribers. Busy to build the huge IP empires of Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney in 2021; HBO MAX, Amazon and many other platforms are ready to go, and a streaming media revolution is breaking out .

▲ Picture from: unsplash

We have spent an unprecedented amount of time consuming Internet culture.

Offline music venues are all turning to online. People are watching online livehouses at the price of 1/10 offline in front of the screen. Lady Gaga and the World Health Organization organized an online concert that belongs to the world. More than 100 top global artists of different skin colors, races, and regions use music to bring power to people remotely.

Virtual fitness, virtual exhibitions, virtual dramas, virtual dating, and virtual travel have all become the mainstream of people's entertainment and leisure.

Nintendo seized the opportunity to launch the "Animal Crossing Friends Club" which has become a phenomenon-level game. Millions of players around the world seek a cure on this virtual island as a "refuge"; the Nobel award ceremony originally scheduled in Stockholm, Sweden was also cancelled and changed to It will be broadcast on TV in October and the award will be presented virtual at the same time.

This virtual journey did not end until the end of this year. Well-known Internet companies have just organized the first online annual meeting in history.

Although people's lives seem to be digitized and are constantly being copied and cloned, those virtual parks are like a kind of spiritual refuge, allowing people to get a moment of respite from the heavy reality. Of course, every time you enjoy a new service, you have to pay a subscription fee.

▲ Picture from: fastcompany

However, the virus is always on the outside, and people are still willing to pay for it among optional consumer items.

Looking back, everyone who is isolated at home is like a microcosm of 2020.

Even if the epidemic disappears in the future, the online society will not disappear again. Therefore, it is more vigilant to recognize and understand the world through the Internet.

During the epidemic, we have thoroughly entered an era when we urgently need to think about network security, algorithm manipulation, data superstition, social dependence, and information crisis.

The playwright Richard Foreman once pointed out :

When we click the mouse to connect with the massive information on the Internet, we are very likely to become a pancake man-vast and shallow.

Unsurprisingly, the Internet verified this by itself. Behind every hotly discussed topic are countless kinds of weird conspiracy theories .

The "2019 Coronavirus Disease Conspiracy Theory" on Wikipedia contains a series of rumors that netizens have no evidence but are spreading rumors , such as 5G spreading the virus theory, China leaking the virus theory, etc. US President Trump has further contributed to this . As a result, the epidemic in the United States became more and more out of control, and finally became the country with the highest death rate and the highest number of new coronavirus infections in the world.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

After the truth came out, people slowly realized that the most terrifying part of the new crown virus is not because it is a monster that kills people without blinking, but because it may turn people into monsters.

But from a psychological perspective, because conspiracy theories can give people a sense of control and participation, in fact it is also a tool to calm anxiety. In December, many mysterious boulders appeared all over the world, and the whole network set off a heated discussion about aliens invading the earth.

So far, the aliens have not brought a threat to the earth, but the earth people themselves are leaving deadly harm to future generations.

The wildfires in Australia at the beginning of the year were just an early warning. This year, global warming has intensified wildly. Similar devastating scenarios have emerged around the world. 80% of ocean waters have been hit by heat waves, wildfires have replaced snow scenes, and glaciers are facing collapse. The temperature in the Arctic Circle town of Vykoyansk soared to 38°C in June, setting a record for the highest temperature in a century.

▲ Picture from: David McNew/Getty Images

The European Union, Japan, and China have all put forward carbon neutral plans, while Americans have pinned their hopes for climate-friendliness on the new President Biden. Technology companies have also spoken out that they are contributing to environmental protection, from the use of renewable energy in factories to the reduction of carbon emissions by new mobile phones without charging heads. Although the final fulfillment of the promise may be unsatisfactory, it is a good thing to be in action.

The environmental protection strategy is the "active attack" of the technology giants, but the more serious problem they face is not the condemnation of climate damage, but the sword of their own monopoly into the market.

The U.S. House of Representatives sent invitations to Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google to hold a "Hongmen Banquet" in July. The CEOs of the four major technology giants were called to hold a one-on-one hearing. This is since the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit 20 years ago. The most significant monopoly lawsuit.

▲ Picture from: wsj

This anti-monopoly trend soon spread to the domestic Internet industry, and Alibaba, China Reading Group, Tencent, and Meituan were all hit. The tech giants running wildly have finally begun to be put on the ropes of supervision.

Many technology companies claim that "technology is ethical", and at the same time they use technology to control everything unethically.

Although a hearing cannot solve the monopoly problem, it is already a bright signal of fair competition in the future market.

After all, the Internet has now become the infrastructure of our lives. In the 5G era that is more open, shared, equal, and decentralized, consumer choices, privacy, and property rights need to be more strictly protected. If a company starts Using monopoly resources instead of profiting from technological progress, diversified innovation will be stifled by giants.

At this time, the epidemic has spread wildly around the world in an uncontrolled manner.

When the World Health Organization officially announced in March that the new crown epidemic had constituted a global "pandemic," the virus had already invaded 114 countries and regions, causing 118,000 infections and more than 4,000 deaths.

▲ Front page of New York Times-Nearly 100,000 deaths from the new crown in the United States

By the end of the year, data recorded that the number of confirmed cases of the global new crown epidemic exceeded 80 million, and the death toll reached 1.75 million.

During this period, anti-racism and anti-sexual harassment movements have also been repeated. People raised their banners and protested vigorously and fought unfairly. However, in the face of the new crown virus that has nowhere to work, it is like In the face of a war without gunpowder smoke, everyone can still only hold up a light torch in the dark wilderness.

Even after going through a seemingly calm period, the virus can always remind us that the end of the epidemic is just an illusion at the moment when we forget to wear masks and go out, and when we need to do nucleic acid tests when we go home during the Chinese New Year.

The buildings of the past are collapsing, but the tall buildings of the future are also being built.

The new coronavirus may not die, but it will not hurt us one day.

▲ Picture from: Maple Ridge News

With regard to human health and the career of exploring cutting-edge technology, the more difficult the period, the faster we advance.

The beginning of hope

In 2020, there are too many events that can be defined in terms of "epoch-making" and "historical breaking".

Because of the epidemic, all mankind has begun to attach importance to health, biotechnology and life sciences, and 2020 can be regarded as another " first year of medical technology ."

From the day the epidemic broke out, scientists all over the world have started a vaccine development competition .

▲ Picture from: unsplash

In May, more than 170 candidate vaccines were registered in the WHO , and 8 of them entered clinical trials. The new crown vaccine developed by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in the United States and BioNTech, a German biotechnology company, took the lead in the world. The first batch of humans began to be administered on December 8. , The Wall Street Journal called this a milestone since the outbreak of the epidemic .

China is also on the front line. In December, 5 vaccines have entered phase III clinical trials, and the new coronavirus inactivated vaccine has become the first new coronavirus vaccine approved for marketing in mainland China.

This is also a history-breaking battle for research and development: it took less than a year from vaccine development to approval for clinical use.

Although the scientific research and economic costs of the new crown vaccine are high, we need to see the light too much.

Now, the global cumulative number of new crown vaccination doses has reached 104.9 million , surpassing the cumulative number of confirmed cases of new crown of 104.1 million. Although the new crown virus has started new mutations in various countries, the development of new vaccines is also closely followed.

▲ Picture from: fastcompany/rawpixel

Not only vaccine research and development, in March, another huge new biotechnology achievement was first reported by "Nature" and won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The CRISPR-Cas9 gene magic scissors technology that can rewrite the "code of life" was directly used in human experiments for the first time, successfully treating hereditary eye disease-Leber's congenital amaurosis, as well as two β-thalassemia patients and a sickle Patients with symptomatic cell disease. Since then, it will also solve more genetic diseases and cancer problems for humans.

As the cross-border integration of innovative technologies in AI, big data, and the Internet with medical care becomes more frequent, medical care has become more intelligent, interconnected, and digitized. From this we can also see that advanced technologies begin to truly land and solve consumption Real life issues of the person.

If it weren't for seeing it with your own eyes, it might be hard to believe that one of the biggest challenges in the history of biology has been solved by AI .

The DeepMind laboratory under Google announced an algorithm called AlphaFold, which on December 1st broke through the prediction of the complex and variable 3D structure of proteins .

You must know that the original folding method of a protein is an astronomical number, and it may take longer than the known age of the universe to complete its possible structure using brute force calculations.

This is a major breakthrough of epoch-making significance. "Nature" magazine directly stated that "this will change everything."

Because almost all human diseases are related to protein function, it will not only speed up drug discovery and prevent and treat diseases in the future, but it is also vital to our understanding of the human life formation mechanism.

​AI can have this breakthrough unexpectedly, but it is also expected. After all, although it was made by humans, it still cannot be completely controlled by humans.

However, when AI began to cross boundaries to various fields, the era of AI empowerment has just begun. The most profound technologies are often those that are invisible. They usually weave themselves into the minutiae of daily life.

Surprisingly, Musk directly let us see the ultimate preview of human coexistence with AI in advance.

The brain-computer interface in science fiction movies finally came before our eyes on August 29. For the first time in Three Little Pigs, Musk demonstrated Neuralink, a brain-computer interface device that can actually operate and change reality with consciousness.

Musk recently revealed that he has allowed monkeys to use Neuralink to play video games with brain waves. If it goes well, human brains will be implanted in 2021.

Musk is not only doing brain-computer interface technologies, but they are still in clinical trials until the end of 2020. In the short term, it can help people who are paralyzed due to brain and spinal injury, Alzheimer's disease, and poor eyesight to "rebirth". In the long run, the future where we live with AI in the same body is not a fantasy.

Speaking of the future technological revolution, quantum computing, like brain-computer interfaces, is also walking a tightrope at the peak of public opinion.

The battle for "quantum hegemony" became the focus of the world's science and technology two years ago. This year, quantum technology and ecology have not surprisingly flourished, and investment continues to soar. my country has set a new milestone in the global "superiority of quantum computing."

▲ Nine chapters

"Science" magazine announced on December 4th China’s newly developed quantum computer "Nine Chapters." It is 100 trillion times faster than the current fastest supercomputer in the calculation speed of Gaussian Bose sampling, which also makes China In the international quantum computing research, it has entered the position of the first square matrix.

When the future data is lit, what we can see will not only be a beam of light, but the peculiar trajectory of billions of photons.

However, quantum computing has carried too high expectations in all walks of life. Its mission in 2021 may first be to prove its true practical value.

Walk out of human beings and open the door. Although there is still a mask-seeing world outside, new signals of human future travel are flashing on the endless streets.

When living in isolation, ride-sharing has become popular among the people, and even a wave of cycling has risen again, but it is precisely because of the contactless service and the high-profile autonomous driving that has begun to have multiple uses.

A new revolution always starts with the change of familiar things.

In 2020, self-driving cars will play their fist in the "last mile" scenarios such as logistics and distribution, manned and loaded goods, medical assistance, and urban disinfection, opening up new possibilities for unmanned economy.

Autonomous driving has been the new darling of the technology industry for ten years. In June, Amazon launched Robotaxi, a self-driving car that has no steering wheel and can drive one day and one night on a single charge. Waymo officially launched its driverless taxi service in Phoenix, USA in October. Domestic Guangzhou, Beijing, Changsha and other places have also begun to issue driverless test permits. The development of 5G and AI will bring more new opportunities for the accelerated development of autonomous driving in 2021.

However, before unmanned driving has become popular, new energy is the hottest situation for cars this year.

The share prices of Weilai, Ideal, and Xiaopeng Motors have doubled, and Tesla’s share price has soared unexpectedly. The market value once increased to 600 billion U.S. dollars, which is close to the sum of the market value of the eight major automakers, making it the largest auto industry in 2020. Splash.

▲ Picture from: Victor Tangermann

At the same time, Internet giants are also eyeing this wealthy land. Apple, Alibaba, and Baidu have announced news of building cars in the second half of the year.

Automobiles used to be one of the industries with the highest barriers to entry, but electrification, intelligence, and networking have given technology companies the best opportunity to enter.

After all, software, services, and ecosystem will become the core advantages of future cars. The traditional engine and gearbox advantages of fuel vehicles will no longer exist, and the power of hardware will no longer be the key to car purchase.

It is a general trend that new energy sources replace fuel-fueled vehicles, but the transition from kinetic energy to a complete transition requires a very complicated process and a long adaptation time. New car manufacturers, Internet companies, and traditional car companies have all set off this craze. In fact, it is more driven by the capital market. The huge industry behind it still needs more complete construction to fully support it.

Another branch of the automotive field that has sparked capital enthusiasm is " flying cars ." It has always been one of the most anticipated future travel plans for mankind.

▲ KleinVision's flying car

In October of this year, the flying car Liberty was approved for driving on European roads. This is the world’s first flying car approved to be on the road. On November 9, the fifth-generation flying car developed by KleinVision also completed its first flight. It can change from a car to an airplane in 3 minutes, at a speed of 200 kilometers per hour.

Currently, there are more than 200 "flying car" projects under research worldwide, including Volkswagen, Toyota, Google, and Tencent. Morgan Stanley research report predicts that in 2030, the flying car industry will form a market size of 300 billion US dollars. Commercial electric flying car services will come to us after about 2025​.

But what is worth thinking about is that behind the superiority of the new technology, there are a lot of hidden dangers of chaos. Air traffic is countless times more complicated than the ground. If the ground can be free from traffic jams, why do we fly to the sky?

To fly, fly a little higher and fly into space.

This year can be said to be the new year of aviation. This year, major airlines rushed to put a large number of satellites into the earth's orbit to establish a wider global broadband network; this year, mankind’s galaxy journeys all over the solar system, from the sun to Mars, Venus, the moon…

In February, NASA and the European Space Agency’s solar orbiter took pictures of the sun’s poles for the first time, starting a new journey for mankind to explore the sun. On May 30, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft left the earth and successfully sent two astronauts into the earth's orbit, opening a new era of human spaceflight for the first time in commercial manned space .

Humans ’ journey to search for extraterrestrial life has also made important developments : Venus, known as the "Earth Twin", was discovered in July that there is phosphine in the atmosphere. Phosphine is generally produced by the metabolism of anaerobic organisms. Although the final result is uncertain, this may be a new sign of life on Venus.

Regarding the planet that is most similar to the Earth, Mars, in order to visit it this year, we made three "Martian rover" trips.

One is the UAE’s first Mars rover "Hope", which will orbit Mars to study the climate of Mars; the other is NASA’s "Perseverance" rover, which will explore Mars in the Jezero crater north of the Martian equator Signs of life; the last is China’s "Tianwen No. 1" launched on July 23, which will complete the world’s first simultaneous orbit, land, and cruise of Mars, and conduct geological surveys to unlock the secrets of Mars’ magnetic field. This also represents that China has officially started its journey to Mars .

And the space travel that we care about most has already happened before our eyes.

Bezos was selling a space travel ticket worth $200,000 the year before last. SpaceX announced last year that it will take 4 ordinary passengers to space by the end of 2021 , and the selection of 3 passengers will correspond to "hope", "generosity" and "prosperity." This image, the list will be announced at the beginning of next month, and the lowest fare will be as low as $10. It seems that it is not without a chance to become the son of the day.

Finally, I turned my eyes back to the earth, the reality was somewhat disappointing.

2020 is over, and the new crown epidemic has not stopped.

The curse of madness and the peaceful well-being are intertwined this year, and all the joys and sorrows are far away from us, and very close to us.

But as the author William Sewell said:

All kinds of crisis events are often not just a passing flick, they usually bring structural changes and become important starting points for the future.

Despite the cracks, panic, and lonely clouds, there are still many magnificent and awe-inspiring moments of optimism.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

Instead of thinking about how to make up for and repair the past, it is better to turn to these optimistic moments. After all, the new changes that have blown out in the crisis truly determine our present and future. Behind these possibilities, lies the eternal creativity and unbeatable courage of mankind.

What the new crown virus brings has indeed caught people in this era by surprise. But from a long-term perspective, since ancient times, humans have encountered countless plagues, such as plague, flu, smallpox, cholera, malaria… The new crown virus is also just one of the disasters. It does not destroy everything and will eventually become history.

At the moment when the "New Century" opened, it just confirmed one sentence-

History is always repeating itself, and technology is always moving forward.

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