The past year was has seen a number of potentially transformative technologies hit it big The best part of writing about technology is that it never gets old. With each year literally bringing new inventions and advances, even the most jaded observer will eventually encounter something exciting or unprecedented.

The past year was no exception as a number of potentially transformative technologies hit it big. Voice assistants, artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptocurrencies in particular picked up momentum and set the agenda for a major societal change.

New technology also, inevitably, raises new questions and fears and there are no shortage of those heading into 2018. Here are just a few to keep an eye on as the new year unfolds: If anything, 2017 will be remembered as the year in which we started talking to our gadgets in earnest.

Sales of Google Home and Amazon Echo devices, which house the respective companies’ artificially intelligent Google Assistant and Alexa voice-activated helpers, exploded in a big way. Juniper Research expects more than half of the US households to have at least one of these speakers by 2022, , while a Research and Markets’ report expects a 30 per cent compound annual growth globally.

The reasons for these astounding figures are simple. After years of false starts, algorithms have become shockingly good at recognising human speech. Read more from…

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