Predicting the future is always a little dicey, particularly in the realm of technology. Things tend to move fast. But with this year's Consumer Electronics Show underway, a kind of rough consensus is emerging on what to watch for in 2016. We take a look at 10 cresting trends for the year.
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With the long-awaited arrival of theOculus Rift
, 2016 is expected to be the year when virtual reality finally becomes actual reality. Oculus announced new details at CES: The $599 Rift will debut in March, with more than 100 compatible titles released by the end of the year.
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Ford Motor Company
Our seemingly inevitable future of self-driving smart cars will roll a bit closer in 2016. Ford has announced it willtriple the size
of its autonomous test car fleet, and you can expect more dialogue between your car, your phone and even yourfitness device
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With Netflix and YouTube leading the way, expect purveyors of online streaming media to continue their all-out assault on Hollywood, network television, cable, satellite and other quaint little entertainment institutions. Watch for improved buffet-style TV channelsubscription packages
for dedicated cord cutters.
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When the FAA announced mandatory registration of drones in late 2015, the agency was clearly preparing for 2016. Expect an aerial armada of lighter, faster, nimbler drones with improved camera technology and earnest user-friendliness. Some, like theLily
pictured here, will follow you around on their own. Others might eventuallydeliver your packages
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Artificial intelligence will continue to be a white-hot area of research in the labs, as it has been for several years. But watch for more curveball applications to leak out to the real world as neural networks start tackling activities likewriting
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The year started out with ascary bang
when Ukraine officials confirmed that hackers had caused a massive blackout by targeting power grids. It's believed to be the first attack of its kind, and you can expect cybersecurity issues to be on the front burner in 2016 across the board.
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One of the year's quieter anticipated trends may actually prove to be the most useful for us civilians, on a day-to-day basis. At this year's CES, several companies showcased promising new products for charging up your phone quickly, or wirelessly, or both at the same time. Stealthy little items like theFurniQi
side table, pictured here, take advantage of emerging smart phone standards for wireless charging.
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