Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago · 4 min. reading time · ~10 ·

Geoff blog
Exactly what is the future in Technology?

Exactly what is the future in Technology?


Technology forecasting is a completely unpredictable endeavour. No one wants to be a false prophet with a prediction so immediate that it can be easily proven incorrect in short order, but long-term predictions can be even harder. And yet even though people know predictions can be a waste of time, they still want to know: What’s next? Wishy-washy tech timelines only makes prognostication more difficult, as entrepreneurs and researchers stumble around in the dense fog of developing prototypes, performing clinical trials, courting investors, and other time-consuming steps required for marketable innovation. It’s easy to hit a wall at any point in the process, causing delays or even the termination of a project.

In the year 1820, a person could expect to live less than 35 years, 94% of the global population lived in extreme poverty, and less that 20% of the population was literate. Today, human life expectancy is over 70 years, less that 10% of the global population lives in extreme poverty, and over 80% of people are literate. These improvements are due mainly to advances in technology, beginning in the industrial age and continuing today in the information age.

A very good friend of mine is a global technologist, I brought together in January a very collective group of distinguished individuals for a dinner, I named the dinner ‘the great minds dinner’ This was a great opportunity to stimulate the subject of what technology is working in the world, what is technology is emerging, what technology is not working in the world and more importantly what needs to change in order to accommodate all the prototypes of technology that appear to stay in the lab or on the shelf.

It is clear currently that thought leaders and so-called world futurists on the subject of technology can dish out some exciting and downright scary visions for the future of machines and science that either enhance or replace activities and products near and dear to us.

Being beamed from one location to another by teleportation was supposed to be right around the corner/in our lifetime/just decades away, but it hasn’t become possible yet. Inventions like the VCR that were once high tech — and now aren’t — proved challenging for some: The VCR became obsolete before many of us learned how to program one. And who knew that working with atoms and molecules would become the future of technology? The futurists, of course.

Forecasting the future of technology is for dreamers who hope to innovate better tools — and for the mainstream people who hope to benefit from the new and improved. Many inventions are born in the lab and never make it into the consumer market, while others evolve beyond the pace of putting good regulations on their use.

There are many exciting new technologies that will continue to transform the world and improve human welfare.

The world around us is changing. In labs and living rooms around the world, people are creating new technologies and finding new applications for existing and emerging technologies. The products and services available to everyone thus expand exponentially every year. In the next five years, then, you can expect massive growth in what we can do.

Beyond 2018: Dr Michio Kaku on the Future in the Next 5-10-20 Years.

Irrespective of all the possible forecasting in long range planning, I personally believe there are 3 imminent areas in particular will provide important developments in the next 5 years.

1. Augmented Reality Will Explode
Technology mavens have talked for years about virtual reality and the applications available. Augmented reality is related, but allows us to lay the virtual world over the real world. Games like Pokemon Go provide examples of how this works; you use technology to “see” virtual creatures and items in real spaces.

Beyond fun and games, this technology provides a wealth of planning potential. You can drive your car, and arrows will appear on your road, guiding you to the right path. You can create visual representations of organizing tasks, building endeavors, and almost anything else that you want to see before you start working. Manuals will virtually overlay real items to be joined together – everyone will actually be able to construct an Ikea bed. The technology is here; ways to use it are just beginning to emerge.

2. Mobile Apps Will Decline
At the same time, the ubiquitous world of mobile apps will begin to slip back. The ways in which we connect to the world often require us to work through a smartphone or tablet. The mobile app ties us to devices; you have no doubt seen rooms full of people who never make eye contact, only staring at small screens. The cost of developing sophisticated apps and the marketing efforts needed to place your App on the most expensive “real estate” in the world, does not always give a return on investment.

3. The Internet of Things Will Grow Exponentially
Availability and affordability of connected devices grow each year. We connect massive data networks to our homes, vehicles, and personal health monitors already. The ability to connect more devices, appliances, and objects to these networks means companies will know more about those they serve than ever before. Almost any device with electronic components can be configured for the IoT, and in the next five years, more will.

It should be abundantly clear now why analysis of the tech trends shaping the future might seem like science fiction. But researchers from UC-Berkeley to MIT are pulling the present sometimes step by step, sometimes by leaps and bounds into the future.

The next few decades will feel this disruption, often in startling ways. Indeed, while the technical hurdles to advancing these technologies are fascinating, we see people writing about that the ethical and social dimensions of the changes they bring are the most interesting and troubling.

You can clearly see how the allied sciences and complementary developments of these trends will reshape our world, our lives, and our work. Millions will find that the skills they bring to the table simply can’t compete with smart automation. Legions of
drivers, for instance, will soon find themselves unemployable.

And as AI continues to develop in tandem with robotics, the IoT, and big data, even the engineers and scientists who now design these systems will find themselves competing with their creations.

All of these developments I have touched on in this blog will require you to examine closely not only what is possible, but how privacy laws, intellectual property issues and the corporate ecosystems interact with those possibilities. Nevertheless, I am confident that within the lives of your grandchildren, now incurable illnesses will fall to bio, nano, and neurotech. And sure that ignorance will slowly become things children learn about rather than experience first-hand.

Finally, the technology I have discussed really are the shaping things to come, the technologies that will define life for decades.

Are you ready for the future? Ready to embrace the changes that are coming?

As Albert Einstein once said:

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”


Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #15

I read a really interesting article recently Harvey Lloyd the article focused on statistics that discussed our vocal words, the  average person speaks around 16,000 words a day - out loud, that is. Our inner voice contributes tens of thousands more. I believe we can harness positive values to effective positivity and change. According to conventional wisdom, dominated by what psychologist Susan David of Harvard Medical School calls “the cult of positivity”, we should suppress this voice, shouting down these uninvited evaluations and judgments with positive affirmations. The million dollar or pound question is how do you create enough awareness and execute this change? I am cutely aware we have discussed previously soft skills in education, the lack of soft skills, values start at home, these are the gifts that my Grandmother and Grandfather instilled into my DNA, but who is teaching children values today or are we reliant on Apple to create iValues?

Jerry Fletcher

4 years ago #14

Harvey, You gotta make a buck when you can! So it goes.

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #13

This runs parallel to your post concerning bulling. Technology is great and all the new things that have come with these inventions. But i agree with Jerry Fletcher and the Einstein quote. We have not mastered how to raise our children up in a world that the information float is less than a second. Like all good things evil tends to harness its values also. Socially i only see the fall out as getting bigger. One thing is great about technology, great advances tend to increase my portfolio of pharma stocks.

Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #12

A subject Jerry Fletcher that is very near to my heart effective listening and education. Whilst I know we are on the same page, the challenge is with conviction across the millennials in demonstrating that knowledge is all well and good, but wisdom is the the real power of effective change.

Jerry Fletcher

4 years ago #11

Geoff, I believe that Focus may become a major skill we must teach because the continuous seeking of dopamine hits through "click bait" is causing a major loss of brain power essential to building and running businesses, careers and lives of joy. The difficult part is convincing some young people that they should plunge into the deeper pool of satisfaction by accomplishing a task that requires care, time and devotion.

Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #10

Fascinating observations Jerry Fletcher, whilst you are seeing these trends, I am also seeing the reverse with groups saying 'how can we reduce the current data, speed of connectivity, its truly interesting times in a highly disruptive environment. There are still many unanswered questions, or is all this technology making us smarter, better-informed individuals? Or is it creating a society of lazy thinkers and socially awkward screen-gazers? Forbes notes that recent research by Gloria Mark at the University of California at Irvine found that people who work on computers click between windows an average of 37 times an hour — mostly to check e-mail or browse the Internet. While the ability to multitask used to be a good thing, recently it’s almost become a dirty word. Forbes suggests that the answer lies in our genetic make up. It points out that when we encounter something new and exciting, our brains get a rush of the chemical dopamine, which human beings love, thanks to biology. Back in the day, dopamine was an important biological component in identifying exciting new developments, like sources of food or predators. But today, we get tons of little rushes due to constant new discoveries, like a text from a sibling who lives across the country, a Facebook message from an old high school friend or a chat bubble that contains a link to a particularly adorable cat video. So how detrimental is this new way of experiencing the world?

Jerry Fletcher

4 years ago #9

Geoff, It seems to me that more people are beginning to ask questions about how technology applies to their future. Twice in the last week I was asked what the next big thing will be in marketing. I answered that VR or Virtual Reality was the one on my radar but other possibilities could pop up. The thing I believe we really need to consider is how the new technologies will impact existence in parts of the world where older forms didn't work so well. The best example is how cell phones opened up parts of the world that had never had land line telephones. That technology plus apps have radically changed at least two continents (Africa and South America).

Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #8

Thank you Debasish Majumder for your wonderful words, and for sharing the buzz.

Debasish Majumder

4 years ago #7

always delightful to read your buzz Geoff Hudson-Searle! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the buzz.

Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #6

Thank you CityVP 🐝 Manjit for your very valuable comments, I agree with your questioning, of coarse we would all hope that the latter will prevail, but in this world we all operate within, it really is anyone's guess whether the technological steamroller see's us standing in the way of someone else's dream! 

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #5

It is a wild wild west time in our development and the techno-cowboys will make a lot of mistakes, but as you have said the role of technology has also given us great benefits. The question is whether we are standing in front of a technological steamroller that sees us standing in the way of someone's 'bigger dream' or whether we can get in front and get wiser for the wisdom of it all. The latter requires a thinking being and we live in a world of reacting beings - and until we understand the root of that reaction, we are ourselves are merely reacting.

Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #4

Great to hear your comments Zacharias \ud83d\udc1d Voulgaris on the subject, I just love your word 'adaptationist, it reminds me of Charles Darwin. I personally believe in the technological world we live in, we all need to be adaptationists, if we do not change, be flexible within small windows, we increase the likihood of failure. Technology is making the world faster, but not always better. If you read the work of the great Stephen Hawking and even some of Elon Musks comments on the subject, Artificial Intelligence will facilitate the creation of artificial realities  custom virtual universes  that are so indistinguishable from reality, most human beings will choose to spend their lives in these virtual worlds rather than in the real world. People will not breed. Humanity will die off.AI's are going to facilitate tremendous advances in brain science. Direct human-computer interfaces will become the norm, probably not with the penetrative violation of the matrix I/O ports, but more with the elegance of a neural lace. It’s not that far off. In a world with true general AI, they’re going to get orders of magnitude smarter very quickly as they learn how to optimize their own intelligence. Human and AI civilization will quickly progress to a post-scarcity environment. Or will they?

Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #3

Thank you Lisa Vanderburg so kindly with your words, I agree and as I said in the buzz, The world around us is changing. In labs and living rooms around the world, people are creating new technologies and finding new applications for existing and emerging technologies. The products and services available to everyone thus expand exponentially every year. In the next five years, then, you can expect massive growth in what technologists can do. The key to all these tools I believe is choice, do you use AR do you use an alternative, this is something that will occupy others for the next decade. I do not believe 'one will fit all' is a solution via technology for everyone, just like Weatherspoon Pubs decision today to withdraw from all Socia Media with immediate effect, this is the sign of the times, not to mention misuse of data and regulation.

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

4 years ago #2

Perhaps another role related to all this, which is too subtle to be easily predictable, is that of the adaptationist (my own word!). In essence, a person undertaking that role would help people who are not familiar with a new tech, esp. one that is more abstract to most people (such as AR), adapt to it and try to use it instead of feeling scared of it. An adaptationist could be an educator, or a hands-on expert in one such technology, and he/she would add a lot of value in the integration of that technology in a smooth and effective way. Perhaps such a role is not as "sexy" as that of a big data expert, but it's not one to be ignored.

Lisa Vanderburg

4 years ago #1

Scary and wonderful, you have presented this future so excellently Geoff Hudson-Searle! Not sure if I'd want to have a cup o' joe with someone wearing google glass or other augmented reality though....wouldn't feel very private nor focused? The obvious benefits are outsatnding though.

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