Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

When viewed from that perspective, the future has gone through many iterations since Lincoln’s day, with data playing a key role in some notable “creations.” We’ve examined how this trend is impacting various sectors numerous times on this blog — including the airline industry, retail and real estate.

But what about the future that we’re currently creating?

It’s an exciting time for data science and data-driven innovation, with new technologies continually emerging that showcase how far we’ve come, and challenge us to create new implementations. Below is a round-up of just a few such recent innovations:

  • Using AI to Identify People via Their Footsteps — According to a recent VentureBeat article, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi have devised an artificial intelligence system that does exactly that — although the technology is still in its infancy. The article states, “A notable drawback of the system is its inability to ID more than one person at a time — two or more confuse the system. The researchers leave this to future work, but believe the current iteration could be reliably used to register classroom or workshop attendance, detect intruders, and control home appliances.” The system is also interesting from a privacy perspective, providing an accurate way of identifying individuals without infringing on personal privacy rights.
  • Purchasing through Alexa — As TechCrunch reported in September, Alexa skill developers are now able to sell “consumables” within their voice apps. Motley Fool believes this could become a significant revenue stream for Amazon and enable the company to “further build out its connected-home dominance.”
  • Counting Crowds through Walls via WiFi — Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara have demonstrated how crowds can be counted through walls using communication signals like WiFi. This video contains more detail on the system’s methodology and approach and its various applications, including smart energy management, retail business planning and security.

Simply put, the above innovations would not be possible without the ability to access, analyze and act upon data. And while we may still be a way off from realizing the full potential of these new technologies, it’s safe to say they are in our not too distant future.