This week I enjoyed watching Dreamforce and got inspired for what the future might hold. Not only because of the upcoming release of Salesforce’s AI platform Einstein, but also Siri availability on the Mac and wireless earbuds from Apple led me to think about what this could mean for us in the future. It became obvious that we’re gradually shifting from personal computing to more intimate computing. And to me that’s an exciting future!
Digital assistants are becoming the standard
Although mass adoption is still lacking, there is a steady rise in our interactions with Siri, Alexa or Cortana. When I look at my own behavior I use Siri on my laptop to perform simple tasks such as opening apps or setting appointments in my calendar. Basically we’re still at the level where they perform basic administrative tasks when. The next wave will be when they pro- actively give recommendations based on the data they have collected about you (e.g. Facebook’s recently released chatbot M is in a good position to deliver just that, because they possess heaps of personal data). But even that will not be enough for us, I assume we’ll start being more demanding and expect to have a digital assistant that is integrated in our smartphone (or nano chip) that is connected to our personal private cloud and starts a human like conversation to figure out preferences and will take action from there so we can focus on what we were doing in the first place. Our assistent of choice will be with the company which earns our trust the most.
Augmented and virtual reality
Although we may think in our current society we’re digitizing in a disruptive way we’re actually just getting started. As digital assistants become more prevailing, the number of apps on our phone will decrease and the now known juggernauts of tech will be demonetized and digitalized. This actually hit me with Pokemon Go. I played the game once but the way online and offline were blended is simply amazing. Playing around with a Hololens gave me the opportunity to enter another world and experience what the creators had in mind. In the future the graphics will become better, the lens will become smaller and online social ties will strengthen blending online and offline even further until no distinction can be made for ‘a real life experience’ because our brain will perceive it like that. Creating a whole new world.
From wearables to nano tech implants – the shift from personal to intimate computing
When Elon Musk speaks you know he has something interesting to say. In a recent interview he said “I think if we can effectively merge with AI by improving the neural link between your cortex and your digital extension of yourself … then effectively you become an AI-human symbiote”. This is line with the vision of Raymond Kurzweil who thinks that around 2030, human brains will be able to connect to a (private) cloud, allowing us to send emails and photos directly to the brain, back up our thoughts and memories or quickly download missing knowledge. Researchers from MIT are working on memory implants that have the capacity to generate new memories for people that have brain damage for numerous years now. This is the actual Internet of Things and the next step is going to be connecting solutions with the Human Operating System, backing up your thoughts to your private cloud and enhancing your experiences within a virtual context making your experiences more rich.
How does this work for the current and next generation?
All of the above might be difficult to understand for generation X and older generations that often are opponents of these changes because of security and privacy issues. They normally view technology as a way to improve their productivity and think of it as one directional (e.g. storing information on a hard disk for work purposes).
When you look at the current millennial generation they are tech savvy and are heavy users of all kind of social media platforms focussed on usability and ease of connecting with others or services. Expecting relevant information being pushed to them to maximize experiences all enabled by their smartphone that they carry with them.
Even more interesting is the upcoming generation Z that, according to CBS NEWS, has access to a smartphone at the staggering age of 13. Their usage goes beyond social platforms and they even have less issues with lack of privacy or security and expect emotions and social connections from their interactions either with a personal or digital being.
Will the future look like this… ?
In this case views are my own but I am very much interested in what you think? Will we become digital? If so, when do you think this will happen? Is it a threat or improvement?