World Trends by Viktor Prokopenya: next 50 years promise to be fascinating

Famous Belarusian IT entrepreneur Viktor Prokopenya, who currently invests in several up-to-the-minute projects, according to Deloitte, shares how these trends will affect Belarus and its IT sector.

Viktor Prokopenya

Millions of smartphones with machine learning. Right here right now.

According to Deloitte’s forecast: More than 300 million smartphones sold in 2017 will be equipped with machine learning functions. Mobile devices will be able to perform tasks, related to machine learning even without communication. It will drastically change the interaction of people and technology across all sectors – economic, market and social. However, in the course of time the expansion of machine learning will touch not only smartphones. These functions will be inevitably applied in dozens of million (and even more) pilotless vehicles, tablets, self-driving cars, virtual and augmented reality devices, medical equipment, IoT devices, as well as new, still unknown technology.

“I think there won’t be a single country in the world left without the significant impact of the machine-learning and artificial intelligence trend. The volume of the economic value that can be reached, is well characterised by the opinion that the world’s first trillionaires will come from the developers of the products using machine-learning technologies,” speculates Viktor Prokopenya.

He continues, “There is an opinion that the further development of machine learning can change mankind as the biological species. Moreover, it may lead to the creation of a new, artificial life form. No one knows who’s right, but we’re talking about very large-scale world changes”.

“The Belarusian IT sector is on the rise. Look how many IT events are constantly happening in our country. There is no other industry in Belarus that has experienced the same. I believe that Belarusian specialists can actively participate in the development of the machine learning trend”, concludes Viktor Prokopenya.

According to Deloitte’s forecast: “Machine learning is fascinating as it will revolutionize how we conduct simple tasks like translating content, but it also has major security and health consequences that can improve societies around the world. For example, mobile machine learning is a strong entry point to improve responses to disaster relief, help save lives with autonomous vehicles, and even turn the tide against the growing wave of cyberattacks,” says Paul Sallomi, Deloitte Global TMT Industry Leader.


Business spending for IT services will increase for more than 50%

According to Deloitte’s forecast: By the year 2018 IT as a service will develop into a global-scale industry that costs $550 billion. By that time, the general expenses for data-centers, software and IT support will approximately reach this sum. According to data from 2016, these expenses comprised $361 billion. Though the consumption-powered flexible business-models won’t have overall distribution by 2018, it is expected that they will take more than a third of all IT expenses (35%), the market will exceed $0.5 trillion and will keep growing further. These changes will lead to the transformation of methods, applied in the IT sector for marketing, selling or purchasing of technology by different companies in the world. The cost of IT services allows escape from significant investment costs and provides estimated projection based on the actual use, which is easily scaled depending on market demand.

“The Belarusian IT market has been rapidly growing for last years. If the government continues supporting the IT sphere, I think we will be able to observe further growth,” says Viktor Prokopenya. Moreover, Belarus has gained the opportunity not only to watch the industry grow, but to contribute to it. The project of creating an IT country has been approved at a higher level. All doubts about the IT boom in Belarus were dispelled during the Presidential visit to Victor Prokopenya’s companies this spring. Among the ideas approved by Alexander Lukashenko was the creation of an environment for the usage of self-driving cars.
The meeting also focused on the creation of an IT community council in Belarus. “It was decided to change the model of HTP to product development, though the benefits would be left unchanged,” specified Viktor Prokopenya.

The attention and unconditional support of the President of Belarus should add momentum to the creation of favourable conditions for the development of the IT sector, an area that has enormous value for the country’s economy today and impressive potential for the future.

“For the IT sector today, it is very important to move to a new technological level – to create its own product. We can hardly overestimate the creation of all the necessary conditions for that by the government,” highlights Viktor Prokopenya.


Millions of cyberattacks

According to Deloitte’s forecast: Cyberattacks enter the terabit era. In 2017, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks will become more frequent, larger in scale and harder to neutralise. It is expected that the average scale of monthly attacks will exceed one terabit per second, the average number of attacks will exceed 10m, and the average attack power will reach 1.25–1.5 gigabit per second (Gb/s). The growth of DDoS attacks threat is related to growth in the quantity of IoT devices, availability of virus technology that provide inexperienced hackers with the opportunity to use unprotected IoT devices for cyberattacks and increasing their power. The Internet of Things becomes an involuntary hackers’ assistant. Internet-connected unprotected devices can be used even by unexperienced violators for increasing the power of cyberattacks.

“Cybersecurity, certainly, is one of the biggest challenges, that has been created by the technological progress during the last decades. Military strategy says that people often prepare themselves for the war that has already happened, instead of preparing to face a new war. I think DDoS may be a good example,” Viktor Prokopenya warns.

He highlights that it is highly possible that machine learning algorithms will manage to decrease the DDOS threats dozens and even hundreds of times, as happened with spam. “I think we will face a much higher level of cybersecurity problems and it is very difficult to make any predictions in this regard. In general, I’m amused by the idea that economic forecasts explain nothing about the future, but tell much about those, who makes them,” mentions Viktor Prokopenya.


Tablets fade out. Intelligence and vinyl run the show

According to Deloitte’s forecast: In 2017, the sales of tablets may comprise less than 165m pieces and decrease 10% in comparison with the 182m tablets, sold in 2016. The sales decrease shows that the peak of demand for these devices has probably faded. Though the figures differ for different countries and tablets are still used in various spheres, TV sets, smartphones and PCs significantly outnumber tablets.

“About 10 years ago I visited a conference. The speaker from Nokia was seriously speculating about the size of the mobile phones. The biggest size he dared to assume was equal to a cigarette pack. Today we see that 5.5 inches — iPhone 7 screen — is not the end point, and Nokia stopped existing as it was,” marks Viktor Prokopenya.

The businessman is sure that today no one knows how the mobile device of the future will look and what communication method will be used. “I believe that augmented reality will create huge economic value and will help to develop the computer devices of the future. The heads of large IT corporations discuss this frequently and put huge investments into this direction. A large number of talented people work on solving these challenges,” highlights Viktor Prokopenya.

Actively investing in augmented reality technology, he is mostly interested not in the phone as the basic device, but in the phone’s camera. “The camera may become the new keyboard, to create new human/computer relations without using the interface. There is a theory that the majority of a human body can be a mobile device, not necessarily unified. One brain may have several bodies and one person can simultaneously appear on several continents,” suggests Viktor Prokopenya.

It is interesting that at almost the same time as Deloitte’s forecast, the news broke that the famous investor in hi-tech projects Elon Musk has created a company that will develop devices for the direct connection of human brain and computer. “Today, there is no doubt that soon we’ll see a mind-controlled mobile device without keyboard, mouse or touchpad. The next 50 years are going to be really fascinating,” comments Viktor Prokopenya.

Surprisingly, alongside the decrease in demand for tablets, the sales of the vinyl records have increased. It is expected that in 2017 the impressive renaissance of vinyl records will continue, and for the first time in this millennium the sales revenue of all the types of vinyl will reach around $1 billion. In 2017 (for the seventh year running) the growth of ‘vinyl’ sales and products likely will be measured in double digits and will comprise 6% of the anticipated consolidated revenue in the musical products segment in 2017. Revenue will reach about $15 billion.


Biometrics and new generation connection

According to Deloitte’s forecast: There are billions of devices, equipped with biometric security features. At the beginning of 2017, the number of devices with biometric fingerprint sensing functions exceeded one billion. Technology is rapidly expanding and becoming more available. The challenge is to define what applications can also use the fingerprint and other biometric parameters sensing technologies to ensure quick and secure identification. It is expected that in 2017 significant steps will be taken to roll out fifth-generation mobile communication networks (5G). The consumers will get access to the advantages of the 5th generation networks, including significantly higher speed and shorter signal delay.

Notwithstanding the fact that Belarus has just implemented the fourth-generation communication network, 4G, Viktor Prokopenya is sure that the country won’t be left outside this progressive trend.

“The world is global. State borders and other limits are the paradigms of the past. Belarus has free internet, access is available for almost all of the country’s population, modern communication standards are implemented, IT companies enjoy rather liberal legislation towards their activity, the boundaries are open. That is why we may talk about world trends and also of Belarus as one of the countries where they will appear,” comments Viktor Prokopenya.

With this, he draws attention to the fact that global automation has already significantly changed the labour market. “If the forecasts about the fact that the society will have work positions only for 10% of the population will come true, the world we will live in 50 years from now will drastically differ from the world we live today in all aspects. It will happen in all countries, including Belarus,” concludes Viktor Prokopenya.

About Ksenia Ulyanova (4 Articles)
Ksenia Ulyanova got a Degree in Management in Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. She works at Distribution department of a publishing house. She loves travelling, cooking and reading great books. Ksenia is based in Moscow, Russia.

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