The Future of Technology: a few thoughts
Recently I was asked to give my opinions on the future of technology and the impact that such advancements would have on the world. This got me thinking, so I’ve put down a few ideas below. Do let me know your thoughts by tweeting me or by commenting at the side ->
The Next Major Development in Technology is Internet of Things
When asked this question, I have only one plausible answer; The Internet of Things — the revolution is coming.
We’re starting to see smart technology in small doses, in lightbulbs that you can dim or switch off from your phone, or in temperature gauges such Google’s recent acquisition: Nest, but soon we’ll see a whole new wave of connected smart devices on the market…and these devices won’t be your average consumer technology gadgets….
The Internet of Things will be bigger than any advancement in technology in the past. Whereas the Internet allowed computers to talk to each other, to send information communications all around the globe, what we’re seeing with the Internet of Things revolution is the ability for all devices to communicate with one another. This isn’t just one-way communication, such as a remote control and a TV, this is two-way communications, with the ability to send all types of data continuously between smart devices.
This incredible development will change the way we live and interact with technology in the future. As mobile devices act more and more as an extension of our bodies, so smart connected devices will act as an extension of our environments — allowing us to control the world around us in unfathomable ways.
Technology will soon disrupt previously non-technological industries
Referring back to my previous answer about on the next major development in technology being Internet of Things, I think the second most important development will be in the field of robotics and automation, specifically where transport is concerned.
In the past machines needed human supervision, especially when it came to transportation. Vehicles of the past could do nothing on their own, so a human was needed to drive them, but this isn’t the case anymore. Automation though the use of smart algorithms and robotics now allows vehicles to control and drive themselves…not only that, but they’re actually much more efficient as everything they do is calculated and perfect, unlike a human.
This will affect the transportation industry in every single field, from self-driving consumer cars that can drive you around (I’m sure Uber are very excited about this!), to self driving trucks and vehicles in the construction and mining industries to self driving combat vehicles in warzones.
Although in many ways this advancement is positive, it does beg the question…what will the current workers who drive these vehicles do in a future where they’re not needed? Transportation is the number one employer industry in the world, so what happens when the these jobs no longer require humans?
Although of course there will be new jobs created through this industry, they will shadow in comparison to the mass job loss that automation will bring.
Want to know the scary part? Transportation is just one of many areas where technology is taking over…
We’re slowly becoming cyborgs…
One thing I’d really love to see soon is a real augmented version of Google Glass.
I’ve used Glass a lot and I have to say, the novelty wears off pretty quickly — especially when you realise that you need to look up and to into the right hand corner at a small 2cm squared piece of perspex with a little projection on it. Somewhat cool, but a little bit of a disappointment.
Although I’m pretty critical of a technology that has sparked so much interest in the consumer technology world, I DO think Glass will have a huge impact moving forward. Think of it as the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for a truly augmented wearable. I’m certain Glass 2.0 will be a whole lot more impressive, maybe enough to warrant a purchase. Currently I see the usage for Glass in the sense that a lot of our physical actions on mobile can be reduced down to voice commands or a simpler way of communicating without the need to pull a piece of metal out of your pocket.
One thing I’d really like, as a bonus, would be an augmented retina display, much like a contact lens. This would alleviate the need for a frame entirely, so we can have a more seamless connection between technology and our bodies.
Technological advances in healthcare
My favourite current piece of smart technology right now is a small device manufactured by Oxford Nanopore called the MinION™. This small USB device allows instantaneous rapid DNA sequencing from a simple laptop. With the data sequenced from the MinION™, we can read a person’s DNA and look at their genetic structure, allowing us to distinguish vital information such as a persons predisposition to diseases.
Whereas in the past, DNA sequencing on a small section of the genome would have taken weeks, if not months and years to complete — with costs ranging above £1M, we can now achieve this in hours for pennies (after the device is purchases). This is an incredible area in technology and really proves that with the correct research, exponential growth in terms of the decline in time, cost and accuracy is possible.