(Yicai Global) Dec.28 — Alibaba Group Holding’s research institution DAMO Academy has listed the biggest 2022 technology trends, including artificial intelligence, silicon photonics, and soft robotics.

The first trend is using AI to advance science, the Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant’s institute wrote in a report published today. This is the fourth straight year that DAMO Academy has compiled such a ranking based on millions of academic papers, tens of thousands of patents, as well as interviews with almost 100 scientists over the past three years.

AI will drive the formation of a new paradigm beyond the two basic ones of experimental science and theoretical science in research. Machine learning can process massive amounts of data to allow for scientific exploration in areas previously thought impossible, per the report.

The second trend is the co-evolution of large and small-scale computing models to address the problem of fragmentation faced by traditional deep learning models. As massive-scale computing models enter a cooling-off period, big and small models will work in sync to form optimized workflows.

Silicon photonic chips came in third. The powerful alternative to electronic semiconductors leverages photons to even override Moore’s law which states that computing power is bound to increase significantly due to widening experience and declining costs.

The fourth trend is green. AI should help companies and governments integrate renewable energy sources with power grids to improve efficiency and stability, which is conducive to achieving carbon neutrality.

Fifth, novel types of robots are coming. Widening the scope of such technology to include more soft flexible materials and next-level sensing capabilities should open up more opportunities for the application of robots in everyday life.

AI is likely to enter more medical institutions. The convergence of AI and precision medicine should help scientists and doctors target diseases more accurately to avoid human errors, according to the sixth trend listed by the report.

The document also mentioned data privacy. Programs and devices meant to ensure privacy and safe data traffic are gaining traction to enhance cybersecurity, according to the institute.

Satellite-terrestrial integrated edge computing is mentioned as the eighth trend. The new network architecture could create ubiquitous connectivity via satellites. In the next five years, satellites and terrestrial systems will work together to constitute an integrated network system providing connectivity anywhere, the report added.

Finally, the convergence of cloud, networks, and devices should fuel the development of a novel computing system with new types of cloud-based devices, according to the report. Moreover, the concept of extended reality glasses, which includes virtual reality and augmented reality apparel, could make online experiences more immersive.

Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi