Tech talk: The most discussed technologies of 2021

As we wave 2021 goodbye and usher in the New Year, we take a look at the top technologies making the headlines and look set to transform the year ahead

Technology is evolving at a rapid rate and a new group of technologies is set to revolutionise the way people live and work over the next decade

With a vested interest in the technology climate and marketplace, Walkme.com gathered up the latest data from its analytics tool Buzzsumo to decipher which transformative technologies have been discussed the most online in 2021.

Walkme.com found that artificial intelligence takes the number one spot, with an estimated 175,837 online articles written about the technology from January to November 2021 – the equivalent of 526 online articles per day!

Machine learning is the second most talked bout technology, with approximately 103,508 online articles published about the technology between January to November 2021.

This was closely followed by virtual reality (VR), with an estimated 64,509 online articles written about immersive technology in the same timeframe.

Augmented reality (34,632), quantum computing (32,548) and cloud computing (28,874) each had over 28,000 online articles centred around them between January to November 2021, respectively ranking fourth, fifth and sixth.

In tenth position is edge computing - which is surprising considering its massive transformative role during the past two years. The distributed computing paradigm tech had 7,433 online articles written about it from January to November 2021.

 

Speaking about the recent findings, Rafael Sweary, President and Co-Founder of Walkme.com, explained, "With the pervasiveness of AI, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most discussed technologies today. Take another widely discussed topic, the Great Resignation, and sure enough, there’s an AI use-case tied to it."

He continued, "AI can help understand how humans interact with software and proactively recommend ways to improve the user experience, with actions that can be taken immediately. It’s a win for businesses, who can glean valuable data regarding technology usage and understand where the end-users are having issues. And it’s a win for the employee, who can quickly navigate the company’s tech stack, and not have to struggle with onboarding or training - especially remotely. Everything is done automatically, powered by AI and machine learning to extract data.”

How the list was compiled:

  • Walkme.com used ‘ITProPortal’ and ‘Forbes’ to generate a seed list of the technologies which are set to transform the way people live and work in the next few years. 
  • The seed list of reviewed/considered technologies included: artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, virtual reality (VR), quantum computing, cloud computing, robotic process automation (RPA), augmented reality (AR), 5G, digital twins, edge computing, smart contracts, 3D printing, 4D printing, nanotechnology, voice interfaces/chatbots and human augmentation – 16 in total.
  • Once the comprehensive list of emerging technologies was drawn up, Walkme.com assessed each technology in the Buzzsumo database to identify approximately how many online articles were published about them.
  • Once the data for each analysed technology was collected, a ranking system organised the results from highest to lowest based on the number of online articles written about each technology. The top ten technologies are presented in the final table above.
  • To account for the different ways in which online articles are published, Walkme.com considered all naming and reference variations, e.g. ‘artificial intelligence’, AI’, ‘5G’, ‘5G network/5G communication’ and more.
  • Additionally, to increase the reliability of results the names of the reviewed technologies were translated into 13 foreign languages which included: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Turkish, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Greek, Czech, Swedish, and Ukrainian – these languages were considered because they are among the most spoken/written languages in the world and the Buzzsumo database had the capabilities to accurately understand the translations for the listed foreign languages.
  • Foreign languages such as Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Russian and Bengali were excluded from the research because the Buzzsumo database did not have the capabilities to accurately assess translations in these respective foreign languages. 
  • Figures for the number of online articles published for each technology are approximated and account for global online articles published between January to November 2021.
  • Buzzsumo’s database could not fetch data on blockchain technology, so this was excluded from the research.
  • All data was collected on Monday 13th December 2021 and is correct as of then but is subject to change.
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