Saturday, December 17, 2005

Possibilities

After the question I posed last night, I feel like I should probably expand on what I feel some of the possibilities are for where technology could take us over the next 15 years.

First of all, a quick recap of the ground we've covered over the last 15 years. 15 years ago, net access was painfully slow, and only for the most die-hard geeks. Today it is commonplace - and not just in laboratories and offices, but in the home and even out in the street. In 15 years we've transitioned from video and audio cassettes to optical media such as CD and DVD, and now we’re moving to streaming/downloading our content from vast libraries, as and when we please. I now carry a device in my pocket that is more powerful than the first desktop PC my dad bought us just 10 years ago. Not only that, it also combines a mobile phone, a digital still/video camera, an mp3 music player, a digital video player and an organiser – devices that didn’t even exist 10 years ago! And that’s just on the personal tech side; completely ignoring the manufacturing, construction, medical, industrial automotive and aeronautical fields (etc!).

Looking forward 5 years from now, it’s likely we’ll carry foldable, flexible screens that are small in our pockets, but can be rolled out to form larger screens ideal for
browsing information and viewing video content. 10 years from now I imagine that our complex, piecemeal home entertainment setups of today will have evolved in to a system whereby we have a central server that captures and stores all the content we could ever want. We then watch or listen to this content through a series of wirelessly connected displays and speakers in various rooms in the house.

Predicting how technology will have transformed our lives 15 years from now is nigh-on impossible. But I think we can pick out certain trends. For instance, I don’t believe that technology is yet 100% seamlessly integrated in to our daily lives. We still have our big, bulky, computers tethered to a single point in the house. Even laptops aren’t really all that portable. 15 years from now, I thin we’ll each carry our own, personal devices that simply serve as displays – all the content and processing we require is carried out remotely, over the internet. And of course, access to the internet will be as easily available as the air we breathe.

These are just a few ideas I have about how technology will shape our future. I could go on forever – but then I’d only prove myself wrong. The future’s unpredictable that way.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Jeff said...

There's a chance that technology advances could stop, like during the dark ages after the Roman Empire fell. A pandemic could cause such a stop, especially if 40% of the population was lost.

I don't think we've hit the wall as far as learning, merely have we scratched the surface. Man still cannot adequately define the word "Time"...we have a long way to go

17/12/05 5:18 pm  
Blogger Atif said...

That's an interesting idea... especially the possibility of a pendemic wiping out a large proportion of the world population. Although I think 40% is perhaps a bit high, I absolutely feel that we will be hit by a disease of global proportions, and that its effects will be catastrophic.

17/12/05 5:51 pm  

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