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AI, 5G or AR? The most discussed technologies of 2021 revealed

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! This is according to walkme.com, the Digital Adoption Platform.

Machine learning is in second place – approximately 103,508 online articles were published about the technology between January to November 2021.

In third place is virtual reality (VR), with an estimated 64,509 online articles written about the immersive technology from January to November 2021.

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.

At the other end in 10th position is edge computing. The distributed computing paradigm tech had 7,433 online articles written about it from January to November 2021.

Interested in the vast world of technology, Walkme.com utilised the latest data from analytics tool Buzzsumo to discover which game-changing technologies have been discussed the most online in 2021 (January  – November 2021)

Rafael Sweary, President and Co-Founder of Walkme.com, said: “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.

“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.”

The methodology

  • Walkme.com utilised reputable sources 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 a 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.
  • The data range of January to November 2021 was used to represent the year of 2021 because November 2021 was the last available month for the latest data.
  • 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.
  • While there are other foreign languages such as Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Russian and Bengali which are widely spoken/written, they 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 approximates 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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