Monday, April 6, 2015

Tech in Ten Years

Guest post by Mike of The Blog of Thog - if you like randomness of variable quality... head over to Mike's blog for some!

How can you see technology changing over the next ten years?

In the last ten years technology has (in a nutshell) changed of course - see what went on in 2005:

  • YouTube was created in 2005 by three ex-PayPal employees - it's now owned by Google and is the third most popular website on the Internet - after Google and Facebook (which was launched slightly before YouTube, in 2004)
  • The Xbox 360 was released, and the PlayStation 3 was unveiled.
  • Nokias and BlackBerrys were your main options if you wanted a smartphone - iPhones were still two years away.  And what you could do with your phones wasn't the same as now - for example, Google Maps was launched in 2005.  This was an age where if you went to a new town, you might actually need to print off a map or something.
  • In 2005 Windows was full on with their XP operating system, with Vista some way away.  However software was having to take into account the increasing appearance of 64-bit CPUs.
  • CRT televisions still outsold LCD TVs.  Can you remember having to consider, when it came to TV size, whether you would be able to lift the thing by yourself or if you would need someone to help?

Some of these things I'm surprised that they're still around - the Xbox 360 and PS3 for example, whilst they are outdated, they do still exist and are widely used.  However the fact that there wasn't a "real" smartphone available is actually a bit of a shock, considering that we're all used to having a black rectangle in our pocket that can pretty much do anything.

So what is going to happen in the next ten years?

Obviously this is a stab in the dark, but here are some guesses:

  • Smartphones become obsolete as we move to wearable technologies.  I don't think smartwatches are the answer - the screens aren't big enough for one - but perhaps something along the lines of Google Glass is possible.
  • Charging isn't an issue - rather than having a million different chargers for tablets, phones etc we have charging mats that you place the item in question on, and it charges.
  • We become wholly used to streaming TV shows, movies, you name it off the Internet.  Traditional TV becomes increasingly relegated to the background.
  • Virtual reality environments become more common.  VR headsets and equipment able to replicate an environment in sufficient detail are used in both gaming and business (presentations, videoconferencing etc)
  • We become increasingly used to systems that interconnect and collaborate.  You can write a note on your work computer, or mention a reminder to your wearable tech, which sits on a central database to remind you in the future.  Virtual assistants become more capable in predicting what you want them to do, and taking care of it.
  • As a side effect of the above, however, everything in the tech world will be doing its best to anticipate our needs and desires and fulfill them.  This will probably feel quite annoying.
  • Work may look very different - as more activities are undertaken cheaper, quicker, and safer by automated technology, more resource will move to the maintenance and development of the technologies.  Working hours may reduce.
  • Solar power generation is commonplace.  Due to the increasing cost of oil, and advances in the efficiency of solar panels, significant percentages of our energy needs are met by the sun.  This, linked with other advances, will make travel cheaper.

Do drop a comment about whether you think any of these ideas are accurate, or if there's anything that you think we've missed!