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The History of the Future: Adoption of Tech

We can’t time travel (yet?) but we can go back and look forwards…

Where are the flying cars? I thought it would be useful to have a look around the world of tech innovation and see if there are any interesting conclusions to be drawn from the predictions of the experts. Let’s have a quick walk around a basket of technologies.

iBeacons
“Is 2014 the year of the iBeacon?”. Well, we have now done most of 2015 and I think it is safe to say that 2014 was not the year of the iBeacon. iBeacons allow you to tell a passing customer that they have 5 minutes to accept a discount on a pair of shoes in the window next to them. Maybe someone will make them work in the future but it looks like we are still a long way from them becoming an accepted way of life.

QR codes
Those weird shapes that are to an advert what a corn circle is to a field; something that appears to be a pattern created by an alien. Now superseded by tech that allows you to put your phone up to an advert and use…

Augmented reality

The ability to stand in a Lego shop, offer up a box to a screen and then see the Lego assemble itself and fly off on the screen. We are just at the beginning of the journey with this technology and there seems to be huge potential from AR mirrors to every other kind of simulation and presumably stimulation limited merely by our imagination. Especially exciting when married up with….

Virtual Reality/Oculus Rift
Mark Zuckerberg’s new toy. Possibly the best use so far is to fly…

Drones
For those of you who like ice-hockey but not drones:

Just been talking to a friend who has been working on the development of these. Apparently the remote control bit is vaguely interesting although they keep flying into each other. The most exciting development is when they become autonomous and are sent off on their own using…

Machine learning and AI
This is already considered very old tech in areas like Financial Services (read Robert Harris’s Fear Index for where this is heading). Computer coders now use machine learning to write code…

Amazon Dash

An attempt by Amazon to allow your children to spend even more of your money. If you are even moderately literate on Python then apparently you can hack into these buttons record interesting things like the number of times your baby has been sick. Or you could be wearing…

Google Glass
Currently down but apparently not yet out. It is not clear what percentage of Google’s $2.78Bn R&D budget was blown on this but it was recently discontinued. However there are reports that this has been handed over to new crew to see if they can dream up a productive future.

Driverless cars
Looking like an inevitability at the moment. In fact we are now so dependent on technology in cars that people can now hack into and drive your car. Could this lead to a rush to buy rusty old rust buckets from the 70s to insulate yourself from any AI driven supercomputer taking over the world.

Bitcoin (and other crytpocurrencies)
Bitcoins have had a very bumpy ride over the last couple of years. Trust, security and stability are essential elements to a successful currency and these have proved to be in short supply in the world of bitcoin. However the block-chain technology behind crypto-currencies does get futurologists very excited. Don Tapscott, author of 1995’s “The Digital Economy” sees block-chains as the next phase of the digital future with revolutionary implications for recording property ownership, authenticating transactions and providing a whole new depth to world of “Big Data”.

Emotional monitoring
This is the most scary tech that I have yet to come across. Technology exists that can track 72 points on your face and work out what emotion you are experiencing as you watch TV…

Amazon Echo


Amazon’s answer to Siri. In fact given the advances in AI and hardware presumably the written word will be dead in 100 year’s time?? Why would anyone write anything when you can say it?

Conclusions:

  • You are foolish if you think you can predict the future.
  • Any system that involves more than two interacting forces is inherently chaotic.
  • Many of these technologies exist in a symbiotic eco-system.
  • Remember that ultimately, demand is the driving force not technology.

How to cope:

  • Be ready to change.
  • Adapt around real demand rather than projected demand.
  • Be leading edge not bleeding edge.
James Minter
jamesminter@hanningtontame.com


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