1 January, 2019 - 15:57 By News Desk

Cambridge Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to be even more pervasive in 2019

With new ideas innovation continuing to drive Cambridge’s businesses, Stephen Hodsdon – a partner, patent and trade mark attorney in the Cambridge office of J A Kemp – considers what engineering and IT fields may lead the way in 2019.

2019 looks likely to be another exciting year for the world-leading R & D that Cambridge excels in producing. 

It is a well-known statistic that Cambridge produces significantly more patent applications per head than any other area of the UK and this shows little sign of decreasing. As a patent attorney, this is of course unsurprising, but it doesn’t happen by accident.

The diversity of Cambridge-based innovation makes it hard to pick even a selection of sectors which will lead the way in 2018. However, gazing into my crystal ball (sadly neither real nor, as far as I can determine, a Cambridge invention), here are a few thoughts on the areas that could drive 2019’s innovation output.

First we are likely to see an increasing pervasiveness of Artificial Intelligence and its baby brother machine learning in every field of technology.  

As a result of larger data sets and new profiling approaches, there will be further advances in personalised medicine and the ability to diagnose (and hopefully treat) rare, and not-so-rare, diseases.  

The recent completion of the 100,000 Genomes Project provides an unprecedented data set to be worked on and it will be interesting to see how the results from this are taken forward.  

Improvements in, and wider deployment of, AI and ML-driven dynamic resource allocation is likely to create increasing efficiencies in all kinds of industries, from transport to computing, from finance to hospital care.  Indeed, applications to agriculture and the food chain provide opportunities to make a global impact on sustainability and tackling poverty and hunger.

Protecting AI inventions poses its own problems and often requires a balance between patenting and keeping aspects of the underlying data sets and decision-making algorithms as secret knowhow.

CleanTech is another area where Cambridge-based companies continue to lead the way, and attention is unlikely to shift away anytime soon. We will surely see (further) breakthroughs in battery technology which enable even wider adoption of electrical vehicles and moves towards the wider electrification of other modes of transport. 

Improved storage, together with continuing improvements in smart grid technologies, will also help maximise our ability to utilise the fluctuating output of renewables.

Finally, there are the seemingly perennial hot topics of 5G and IoT. 2019 should see the roll-out of 5G networks in the UK.

Although Cambridge is not one of the testbeds, Cambridge-based companies will inevitably be providing technology and continuing to innovate in this sphere.  

Happy inventing for 2019!

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