The Near Future of Technology


It’s impossible to predict where a rain drop will fall but you can predict that it’s going from the sky to the ground. That’s how editor of wired magazine Kevin Kelly once described his ability to predict technology. In Kevin’s first book What Technology Wants he makes you think of technology as a living organism growing uncontrollably with the help of humans. This isn’t a new concept as Marshall McLuhan had previously written about in his book The Medium is the Message explaining that technology is an extension of our human faculties. Like the car being an extension of the foot or a book being an extension of the eye. Kevin Kelly’s second book The Inevitable attempts to predict the technologies of the future in terms of verbs something that reminded me of Buck Minster Fullers book I Seem to Be a Verb. It’s a little confusing to think about technology in this way so I’ll attempt to give my interpretation of these forces here:

Simplified Learning: Technology is moving faster and faster making everyone newbies jumping in and trying things. No one is an expert. We are always learning. What this creates is an opportunity for simplified learning. DIY videos. Courses.  Plateforms like Skillshare and Udemy.

Artificial intelligence: AI will be available just like electricity was over 100 years ago. You can already rent AI from Amazon. It will be embedded into everything and change the nature of how things work.

The rise of creators: As tools become more and more simple it allows more people to become creators. Sites like Etsy are bridging the gap between creators and consumers.

Screens: Paper is dead. Everything is moving to screens. You can find touch screens replacing humans at airports, gas station, grocery stores, restaurants etc. Screens will be everywhere and all information will become fluid, linked and tagged.

Access vs ownership: From Kindle unlimited to Apple’s streaming music. There’s no need to purchase anymore. We don’t want clutter and we don’t care to own, we just want full access.

Sharing vs ownership: Why buy a Ferrari when you can rent one? Why buy a cottage when you can share one? AirBNB, Dogvacay, task rabbit, Workaway are all example of this movement towards sharing as oppose to owning.

Filtering: Attention is the scares resource online and the future will need filters that serve us as well as surprise us. Algorithms like Amazon uses and curated lists like thingstodoevents will become more and more important.

Remixing: Whatever is new is a remix of what exists. Sites like Buzzsumo are filtering the internet to find sharable pieces in order for creators to remix.

Interaction: We will interact with our devices and with others in realistic virtual and augmented worlds. Our devices will ‘know’ us and we will know worlds and others through our devices.

Coveillance: The world will continue to become more and more transparent. We will be able to look into the lives of others while they look into our lives. We are seeing this with Periscope, snapchat and Instagram videos. There will be more and more cameras and different contexts to capturing this footage.

Collective intelligence: Answers emerge from the collective. Unimagined questions gives rise to unimaginable answers. Opne API’s and open networks like Wikipedia or Reddit make for collective growth.

Though it may feel like we are already deep into the world of technology, we really are just scratching the surface. The internet is still in infancy and we are at the beginning of a new world.




Also published on Medium.

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