Technical Terms Explained Easily: From 5G to VR
What is a Bitcoin or an NFT? And what is stored in a blockchain? We encounter such technical terms every day. But what do they mean? Read this article to get a better understanding.
Welcome to the present. Many technical terms are only known by feel. With the help of reference works, a committee of seven experts, and a specialist journalist, a few of them are briefly and concisely explained here. Here we go:
What is 5G?
This is the fifth generation of mobile communications. The successor to 4G offers significantly higher transfer rates and has significantly lower delay times. In this way, more sensors, software, and other technologies than before can be connected simultaneously. The network is currently under construction.
What is Blockchain?
To put it very simply, a blockchain is just a database. However, it is stored decentral on many computers. For example, in a blockchain, money transfers are stored in cryptocurrency, put simply like this: “Person A sends Person B sum X.” Because it is stored identically on many computers, it is fairly forgery-proof.
A blockchain could, for example, also store vaccination data or contracts between people or companies. Each computer that stores itself in the blockchain becomes another node in the network and takes over a complete copy of the database. This is how transactions are checked and documented. The blockchain got its name from how it works: transaction data is combined in blocks and lined up – like in a decentralized ledger.
A digital currency – the first and largest cryptocurrency based on the Bitcoin blockchain in market capitalization. New bitcoins are created by users using mathematical methods called “mining.”
Transactions in Bitcoin are difficult to assign to individuals. The cryptocurrency is therefore also often used for payments in illegal areas.
What is Big Data?
This technical term describes the mass collection of data on a specific topic or subject area, which is then evaluated according to certain criteria with the help of clever computer algorithms. Applications are, for example, decision-making aids for companies or forecasts that are as accurate as possible.
A bakery company collects traffic data, commodity prices, weather data, the sales history of each store, and much more. This data is evaluated, and so there are very specific recommendations as to how many rolls have to be baked in a specific branch today.
What is Chatbot?
You often meet them as the first contact in customer service on websites. You write your question; the computer program behind the bot gives more or less helpful answers. It’s a catalog of keywords that are processed there.
Someone has forgotten their password and writes it to the bot. The bot sees the keyword “Forgot your password” and sends a link to reset it. In the best case, the chatbot can solve minor problems and refer customers to the help documents – and thus relieve the service staff on the phone. At worst, it’s just an annoying obstacle.
What Are the Technical Terms Cloud Computing or The Cloud?
Roughly speaking, these are computers that are located somewhere else. With cloud computing, you use one or many computers in data centers and have the work done there. For example, you no longer need your high-performance computer to play a complex game because the computing power now takes place elsewhere, and only the image is transmitted via the Internet.
There are many applications: you rent memory, computing power, or full services such as software packages for office work. Well-known examples for private users are Google’s storage and software services, Apple’s iCloud, or cloud gaming services such as PlayStation Now or Google Stadia.
What Are Cookies?
Cookies are small text files. They are saved by accessing websites in the browser or directly on the computer. A distinction is made between technically required cookies and tracking cookies (sometimes also called marketing cookies).
The former is necessary for the technical operation of a website, for example, for storing an item in the shopping cart of an online shop. The latter is used to collect additional data about user behavior, for example, for advertising purposes or other data collected by website operators and third parties.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
This is a sub-area of computer science that deals with automation or machine learning. AI enables computers to learn from experience, adapt to new incoming information, and cope with tasks requiring human-like thinking skills.
Computers are usually trained with large amounts of data for very specific tasks by processing the data and recognizing patterns. For example, computers can recognize images or language, make forecasts, or play chess.
What is Cryptocurrency?
The experts explain that these are digital currencies with a cryptographically secured and decentralized payment system. They are transferred on a blockchain and are not issued by a public body. They are transmitted, stored, and traded electronically and are used by some people as an object of exchange or investment.
What is Machine Learning?
ML or Machine Learning are the technical terms that are a subset of AI. The aim is to train computer programs with representative data to recognize images, objects, and voice commands. Machine learning is the most successful branch of artificial intelligence.
These are sometimes annoying queries on the web when logging in or shopping, whether you are a human being. Here, by clicking on each photo that shows a traffic light, a car, or a hydrant, for example, you might end up teaching the object recognition model of a self-driving car what traffic lights, hydrants, or other cars look like.
What Are the Technical Terms Non-Fungible Tokens or NFT?
In short, this is a kind of certificate of authenticity for the digital art market. A bit strange since, in principle, you can always copy digital goods. However, with the NFT, a digital good is declared original and cannot be falsified by being stored on a blockchain. “With the NFT, an artist signs, ‘This is the work I created, and I’m auctioning that.'”
Examples of NFTs sold are the first tweet by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey or, more recently, the source code of the World Wide Web. The tweet and the source code are still in circulation, but one person now owns the only “original.”
What is Quantum Computer?
In contrast to classic computers, they carry out calculations using the effects of quantum mechanics. They can solve certain problems much faster than classic computers. These still work with the two states 1 or 0, called bits. The quantum computer works with qubits, which theoretically can be 1 or 0, 1 and 0, and an infinite number of other states. It doesn’t sound very easy, and it is.
A quantum computer does not calculate exact results but probabilities; only the multiple calculations allow clear statements. You won’t find quantum computers in your smartphone for the time being, but you might find processed results from quantum computing.
What is Virtual Reality/VR?
Digital worlds are created here, which can be explored with the help of special video glasses and operating devices. These glasses completely seal the field of vision and create the illusion of being in the artificially created worlds. “It can be really fun in games.” But there is also VR training in industry or VR as a visualization when buying a car or planning buildings.
In contrast to this, there is AR, i.e., augmented reality. Here, with the help of cameras, screens, and computer technology, digital elements are integrated into the real world. For example, in the head-up display in a car, speed, navigation, or warnings about obstacles are projected onto the windscreen.