Predicting the future is a substantial part of what we are doing every day in our work as Product Managers or Sales people - building and selling today, the solutions for tomorrow's problems.
Although it may seem easier nowadays, with the set of new tools and amount of global accurate data about past and present events, I believe that the spectrum of future-options has grown significantly which makes it harder altogether.
Personally and professionally this is something I am really interested in and I am trying to keep up by watching sci-fi movies, exploring new technologies and science, as well as reading futurists and visionaries' books (as a sample I can recommend Yuval Noah Harari's Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Roey Tzezana's publications and the British TV series Black Mirror).
The more I am exposed to different future scenarios I realize the fascinating elements are not necessarily the technology or its applications, but the human-machine relationship that will be deepened and the social change that it will cause to our society.
For example, in a previous post, I was writing about the online video industry's future. I described the way I envision it becomes native part of our lives and the way basically everything will be recorded by everything (cars, cloths, houses, roads, etc.). Instead of choosing what to record on video as somewhat happens today, we would have to specifically point out what should not be recorded... The effect on the way we live our lives and our society will be enormous in terms of "everything is on tape", for good and for bad... and that just the evolution in one technology domain! We are actually surrounded by dozens of domains similar to that - Entertainment, transportation, food, clothing, communications, health, education and so on.
1000 years or 200 years is too far away for me to wonder about (even though in some scenarios I might still be around...). How would a day look like 50 years from now? What kind of "magic" we would be able to produce?
Some capabilities are already here for us to use (to some extent), so it is pretty obvious they would evolve to become trivial and more influential part of our lives. Other technologies, materials or phenomenon have only been tested in research labs, so some type of acceleration and probably imagination is required to see them commoditize in the coming decades. And some, the most exciting ones, have not yet even born in someone's mind...
A powerful video I like, in this context, is Arthur C. Clarke's interview back in 1974. In this short 1:30 min video he manages to illustrate much of our lives as we experience them today. He is putting it in simple words and describes it clearly, 53 years ago, before the Internet era or when common people knew what a personal computer is. He is scarily accurate!
The time for adoption of new technologies is dramatically shortened from what it was in the past. So next year, will we all implant our smartphones into our brains? probably not, but it is definitely a reasonable scenario in the coming decades.
Well, I am surely not a famous science-fiction novelist or an esteemed futurist but merely a junior blogger and an enthusiastic technologist, but here is my attempt (or should I say my "wishful thinking"?) to illustrate a day in the '50 years from now' future.
I woke up when I heard the soft voice of Audrey, my personal assistant, in the room. "Good Morning Jake. You need to wake up, you have a busy day today."
I set on the edge of my bed with my eyes half closed, thinking she is probably right, as she knows exactly how long it takes me to get ready and start my day. "Yes, yes, I am up. Can you help me with a cup of coffee please?" I asked. "Yes Jake. I will wait for you in the kitchen. Your first call is a 9am team-meeting and you will take it in the car", and she disconnected herself with a gentle 'blip' sound.
I dressed up and went into the kitchen. Coffee was there waiting for me, boiling hot in the coffee machine. The news headline, social feed and last-night's emails already appeared on the wall screen and I drank my coffee while browsing them. Nothing new, same old, same old. Audrey patiently waited for me without making a sound, just pointing out the time as she presented a small countdown on the screen, for my first call of the day.
On my way out I almost forgot to pick up my personal token, which basically allows Audrey to be with me all day and help me get along, but at the last second I grabbed it from the counter and hook it to my belt. I recently heard that the new models are so slim that they have an option to be implanted on your thigh that you'll never forget it. I think I will stay with my wife's name tattoo only, at that point...
I left the house and it slowly started to shut itself down, lights, temperature, shades, while the sun panels and 'water-from-air' generator got into super-active mode, since no one is at home. The fridge and smart-shelves will probably order whatever is missing or about to run-out for our Wednesday dinner and my wife will get it with the rest of the mail, on the delivery-drone landing pad at my front lawn, when she is back.
Traffic was a mess but my car drove itself nicely through the traffic jams, constantly changing routes to get to the office as quickly as possible. The "magic" of all that traffic, thousands of cars driving in perfect sync, keeping the exact few feet between them, with no traffic lights or any human intervention, still seemed to me like the city "has a brain of its own". Like we are all part of a bigger "organism" that knows how to drive optimal efficiency for all of its parts, especially as I remembered the "old world" and the way people used to drive back then, and still do in some countries in the world.
I took my call on the car and few others that followed, while Audrey was taking notes and my action items, as she now knows me as good as me, or at least the way I like my notes taken.
At the office, I had some time to drink another cup of coffee just before the meetings marathon started. I went to the conference room and spotted Martha there, as she was about to present to one of our customers in Europe. We both set down in adjacent seats where all other places were already taken by suited men and women talking to each other. I couldn't hear them talk as they were probably still muted by the hologram conference system. To the untrained eye it seemed like the room is full of actual people, just moving their mouths to one another without making a single sound. It wouldn't be long till I get my own hologram conference system for home. When that happens ,there wouldn't be any reason for me to visit the office at all...
Voices were suddenly unmuted, greetings from all around, the meetings marathon started.
At lunch time I had to take a break and I stepped outside to the food truck at the nearby park. The 5 minutes walk down the street was refreshing and exhilarating to me. The sun, the sky and the trees were a complete contrast to the suited conference room I was sitting in, in the last couple of hours.
I stood in front of the food truck menu thinking what should I order. The screen before me greeted me and suggested a Spicy Vegetables Curry. The woman at the screen said it will be the perfect fit for this spring day and my joyful mood, as she probably identified my expressions or any other body movements. "Some day I'll be able to fool her" I thought to myself, as I thought so many times before... The curry was indeed a perfect fit and I was messy as always, but nothing stuck on my hydrophobic clothes. No proof for my hologram customers at the conference room.
Few meetings and few coffee cups later, I was almost done. I had to take the notes myself as I gave my personal token, and Audrey with it, to our cyber-threats team for the weekly review of issues and malware. You can't be too safe these days. You constantly hear about peoples' identity and entire life being hacked and stolen through their personal assistants, smart houses, cars and even their smart wearables. I never skip the weekly review that my job provides.
On my way out I stumbled into Berry and reminded him about the printable file he promised to send me and he sent it while we were talking. Good for me. I wouldn't survive the coming weekend if I didn't bring the new superhero toy I promised ages ago to Brian, my 5 years old. I asked Audrey to schedule its printing in our home 3D printer, in the next open slot it has.
On the car back home I did some goofing around with Brian. He loves it when we play video games together with our VR glasses. He basically loves it (and I appreciate it) when we can play with each other as if we were in the same room.
As he was getting to bed and my car was getting off the highway, the screen in front of me started beeping and notifying me, probably through one of my smart wearables, that I should drink some more fluids as I wasn't hydrating enough today and based on today's body data, I should eat some carbs no later than 8:30pm if I want to be able to do my scheduled workout. Based on the gene mapping I finally was able to do few years ago, it was advised by the doctor ,as well as several AI-doctors ,that I should workout regularly to prevent the heart condition I have 45% to experience in the coming decade. I asked Audrey if I still have my personalized-genetically-engineered shake that I drink before and after my workout and she said I still have 3 capsules left.
The car approached the house, lighting the street lights in perfect sync as it drove past them and letting my house and wife know I am around the corner. It stopped on the driveway letting me out ,just before it parked itself underground for its auto-cleaning and nightly treatment.
It's good to be home... A kiss to my wife and I even made it for a bedtime story for Brian. Some things will never change.
How off am I in your opinion?
Am I exaggerating or underestimating our reality, 50 years from today?