Stephen Smith's Blog

Musings on Machine Learning…

Technology Predictions for 2022

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Introduction

Last year, I made my technology predictions for 2021. In this article, we’ll see how those predictions did and make some new predictions for 2022. This last year has seen a lot of challenges with the continuing pandemic and problems with the global supply chain. We’ve had a year of chip shortages affecting everything in high tech, which has caused prices in many categories to sky rocket.

The CPU Wars Rage On

Last year, we predicted the continuation of the heated CPU war between AMD and ARM as they adopted new chip technologies and increased their power and improved their power consumption. During 2021, Intel tried to make a comeback with new CPUs, but Intel’s main problem remains power consumption. The Intel chips have great performance if you can provide them enough power and have the technology to keep them cool. Until Intel finds a way to produce chips with comparable power consumption and heat production as existing chips from both AMD and ARM, it will keep playing catch up and see its market share decline. Even in data centers where Intel is king, they are having problems as power is a major cost to the data center and data center operators are moving to more efficient chips to save money.

ARM had a great year, capped off with Apple’s release of new MacBook Pro’s with its M1Pro and M1Max chips. Even with the distraction of nVidia’s attempted acquisition of ARM, we are still seeing big steps forward including their new v9 architecture, and new chips coming out from all their partners. At the low end, ARM saw the Raspberry Pi foundation release the RP2040, which isn’t the first ARM microcontroller, but is the first to see some real success.

A lot of people are rooting for RISC-V, the more open contender in the CPU battles, but besides some success in the microcontroller market, these chips remain quite expensive with performance lagging quite far behind inexpensive ARM chips.

New Generations of Graphics Cards

2022 will see nVidia and AMD releasing new generations of their graphics cards. Plus Intel is entering the discrete graphics card market this coming year. All the stories in 2021 were about lack of supply. It has been pretty much impossible to buy a good graphics card, especially if you are looking to build a custom system. Hopefully, with China banning Cryptocurrency mining and hopefully other countries following, we should see the supply of graphics cards restored to some normalcy.

Crypto-mining has been a big problem for gamers, causing shortages of graphics cards and RAM. Hopefully, either crypto is on the decline or the graphics card companies can ramp up production to serve everyone. Gamers are pretty mad at nVidia right now as it seems nVidia has been favoring shipping cards to the miners, probably because of the volume.

Ransomware & Hacking

We predicted a continuing upswing in hacker activity. Ransomware attacks were way up. Since quite a few companies elected to pay the ransom, these are perceived as profitable and hackers everywhere are jumping into the game. Last year was bad and next year will be worse. We are just finishing the year with a serious log4j vulnerability that is affecting huge sections of the web and corporate applications everywhere.

Self-Driving Cars

I predicted a bigger uptake in self-driving cars than actually happened. They are being used as taxis in some cities as well as on university and corporate campuses. There are self-driving cars out there as lots of people are getting tickets for sleeping while their cars drive them around. Self-driving cars are only one category of new products leveraging advances in AI technology. Other technologies such as translation, image recognition and auto-suggestions are improving day by day.

Raspberry Pi 5

The Raspberry Pi 4 was released in 2019, so I’m predicting we are due for a Raspberry Pi 5. Last year, we got the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller, so I think it’s the full Pi’s turn for a new version. My big feature request is an M.2 connector so a regular SSD harddrive can be connected. The current bottleneck and weakness in the Pi is the microSD card it uses as a disk drive. I find the 8gig Raspberry Pi 4 has plenty of memory, so not sure we need a 16gig version, but why not? Otherwise, adding a better way to expose PCI lanes to allow custom integrations of high performance peripherals, perhaps even graphics cards. It would also be nice if they switch the built-in GPU from that Broadcom thingy to a proper ARM Mali GPU. Now that ARM designs their RP2040 SoC, it will be interesting to see if they stick with a Broadcom SoC, or switch to one that they design themselves?

Summary

In spite of the supply chain and pandemic problems, last year was a good year for tech. As the supply chain problems get resolved and Covid lessens, we should see progress accelerate. I’m looking forward to seeing all sorts of new products with faster, more efficient CPUs and GPUs and better, smarter software incorporating AI technology behind the scenes.

Written by smist08

December 17, 2021 at 10:53 am

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