29 November 2017 | Jack Francis
I’m weirdly into those Youtube channels where they predict what the world will be like in X amount of time. Sadly, I’m not well informed enough to write a blog called “Where the universe will be in 1 trillion years”, so I’m going to tone it down a little and write one about the near future. Let’s say the next 20 years. Also, if humanity lasts for even a fraction of the next 1 trillion years, technology will be like nothing we could ever describe (or completely eradicated when we inevitably send ourselves back to the Stone Age) so writing about that would be futile. So, here’s my far more reserved thoughts on the near future;
Seeing as we specialise in apps, it makes sense for me to write about them first. I think apps are going to become more and more common until they become the equivalent of the modern-day website. Rather than asking someone what their website is, you’ll download their app. The world is going mobile, and apps are much better suited for this format. Because of this, I can see a greater split coming between cheap and expensive apps, with the majority opting for cheap ‘Squarespace’ style apps, and a far lower percentage going for large, complex apps. Whatever the future of apps holds, we are excited about it.
The big debate right now is what will come out on top; Augmented reality or Virtual reality; Currently, I can personally see a huge value in both, although I can see a split. I think augmented reality will go down a more serious route, whilst virtual reality will mainly be used for entertainment. With Apple releasing the ARKit, allowing developers to build Augmented reality apps with greater ease, it’s going to become something that’s popular quicker than most people think. The greatest benefit I can see to it would be around Education. Using an iPad in a class to superimpose a galaxy, or dinosaurs or historic events could transform the way children learn. Certainly, more exciting than a textbook. As for virtual reality, my only experience with it so far has been using a friend’s phone and a cardboard mask to simulate being at a U2 concert. Of all the possibilities of places to virtually take yourself to, U2 wouldn’t be up there with my first choice. I reckon soon enough, there will be films made entirely in virtual reality, and most video games will come with a VR option. You’d be hard-pressed to make me watch a horror film in VR – my heart just wouldn’t be able to take it.
After watching a documentary on the Dark Web, I now cover up my laptop webcam with duct tape. There seems to be an ‘arms race’ between the large corporations who hold our data, and the hackers trying to access it. With so much of our personal lives being held online, it’s difficult not to be a little bit worried about the hackers winning. What worries me even more is how the internet is moving to household objects, with Smart Homes making our everyday lives easier. If a hacker can break into your house’s system, lock the doors and turn on your oven, they then have complete control over your entire livelihood. You don’t pay them their ransom? Your house gets burnt down. Spooky stuff.
AI is really, really cool. Watching videos of simulated humans teaching themselves to walk always amazes me, and Ex Machina is one of my favourite films ever. Soon, I think practising Law and Medicine will be almost a thing of the past. I think these jobs will always need a human element to them, but being able to access a database containing all medical problems, and all legal cases in under a second certainly puts AI at an advantage. I think this also has a massive implication for the dating industry, and I think sooner than we think, people will be romantically involved with robots – both physically and emotionally.
This sounds like something straight out a Sci-Fi, but we are already making steps towards this. Look at what Elon Musk is already doing with the Neuralink – Allowing humans to communicate with machinery purely by thinking. Imagine being able to upload your thoughts to a chip in your brain, and siphon through them as you wish. Of course, this will have massive cybersecurity implications, and I think the business of protecting people’s brains from hackers will soon be booming. I’m not too sure I want my every thought on a database though. I certainly won’t be one of the people to pioneer the technology. I’ll leave that to someone a little braver.
Whatever the future has in store for us, I’m sure it will creep up on us before we know it. Being the optimistic guy that I am, I’m hopeful for the future. I think technology will improve our lives in ways we can’t even imagine yet, and we need to embrace the change if we are to advance as a race. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch a video about the state of the Earth in the next million years.