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When people ask what I’m researching, I admit that it can be a difficult question to answer. Sometimes I will highlight a topic on which I have written a report, such as mobile payments or Internet of Things; at other points I’ll just pick something present but not overblown. Right now, the latter might be machine learning and algorithms, for example, have a long history but are generating quite a bit of interest.
However, the fact of the matter is that my brain doesn’t work that way. Technology is having a profound impact on every aspect of what we do, the way we work, and really how long we live. Although specialization would make sense, as I did at various times in my career, parts of my brain refused to cooperate, insisting on the downward lines. I would rather not do it.
It’s like pulling a thread on a t-shirt. Right now, for example, Virtual Reality is rocking my boat – but why? I cannot help but ask the same questions: what does it do for us, where it will go that we cannot do otherwise, etc.Usually, the answer is not in any technology, it’s how they work together: the Internet of Things is in fact a large, distributed data generator, with very few technologies we haven’t learned to exploit.
All of that means, while various interesting (aka hype) things going on in technology are interesting, my own opinion is they will have more impact when they do. begin to converge. Can we be… no, let me repeat, we are just scratching the surface of what technology allows us to do. In the book I’m drafting, called Smart Shift, I call this The Law of the Descending Threshold – as costs go down, the solution space expands. Exponentially.
I believe these past years, as interesting as past years, will be seen as a pause in the overall renewal cycle, when the tide recedes just to hit the shore. Even the industry’s current darlings are reaping what has been sown; But new seeds are growing, and on the basis of these, the next wave of social and corporate change will be felt.
Knowing that we are on a breakout, I present a technology map of the future. I drew this mostly to take this out of my chest (and boy, that’s a relief) but also to render the scene. Anyone focusing on one sector or another is missing out on the emerging panorama and since the future will be built on top of this foundation, so it’s important to see as much as possible. .
At this point, I have more questions than answers – another confession. I wish it were different because, if I knew what the future was going to be, I could start making a few bets. Sure, robot; sure, semantics; certainly, self-programming and coordination, all of which will have a profound impact. I will expand on these topics at GigaOm here.
However, when everything is okay, I’ll just make one difficult prediction: hold on to your hat, it’ll be pretty tough.
PS If you have any questions or would like me to go through the technology map of the future please join touch.
Original version posted on LinkedIn on February 16, 2016.