Technology trends and predictions are a big part of what Blah, Blah! Technology is all about. It’s as much about social patterns as it is observing technologies. And for the first time, I’m listing my technology predictions, for 2008 and beyond…
The future of technology — in no particular order
Quite recently, an article wafted under my nose; a list of technologies that don’t exist yet — some of which never will, either. The key problem to overcome when thinking about the future is to avoid thinking about technology trends in painfully straight lines. After all, the future is curly thing:
“As an example, at the turn of the 20th century, it was predicted that passenger air balloon travel — pioneered by the likes of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin — would be commoditized and become the pre-eminent means of mass transit.”
Of course, aeroplanes put paid to such derisory dirigible nonsense.
1. Gadgets go skin deep
Some technology predictions were better than others, such as “Interactive Tattoos”, skin-implanted gadgets being something I predicted back in late July 2007:
“Now that we’re harnessing the abundant power of the human body, there’s no longer any need for batteries and such like.
And our bodies no longer simply power such devices, they play host to them, too.
What remains of the gadgets we once knew are merely the fascia’s. In a very real sense, we “skin” these devices to suit our very own skin.”
Not likely to make an appearance in 2008. Such things are subject to medical regulatory approval. In the short-term, you’re more likely to see such stuff being used by the army.
2. Wall-to-wall entertainment
Our office and living room walls will be our ‘screens’, giving us a truly immersive Imax-style entertainment environment.
Here’s an excerpt from a science fiction novel of mine called Aeon. In this scene, our protagonist is dictating his personal journal:
“He walks away from the wall. The paragraphs of his spoken words follow him around the room on the walls. Sliding over and into corners, the block of words forming and flowing over the fading sunset over the deserts of Arizona.
Knotted tufts of tumble weed blowing from one side of the room to the other with the ghostly whisper of the winds, around the walls and disappearing into the distance under the window looking out onto the lake.
This is his most treasured room mood, every face of the wall projecting the images of the long day of the Arizona desert into the still room.”
Imagine a room where the entire surface of each wall is a screen. Imagine then your home entertainment linking scenes to moods. In preparation for a small gathering of friends for a house party, you would render each wall as a night scape city scene — sky scrapers standing tall above your guests, as the soft music intermingles with the sound of quiet chattering and the tinkling of glasses.
With the advent of electronic paper PDA’s, the technology is underway, but it’s a question of cost and quality — the former being high and the latter being low. There’s a better than average chance there’ll be some gadget show or hi-tech interior exhibition demonstrating something like this next year or the year after.
3. Green gadgets
Much has been said about the energy crisis and how our thirst for gadgets isn’t helping matters. 2008 will be the year of the green gadget — increased power efficiency, better battery life and innovative power sources, such as inductive charging, for example:
“To the likes of Apple, that’s not so much a barrier as a challenge. Imagine if you will, charging your iPod without cables.
What if Apple was to build inductive coils into their MacBook and MacBook Pro line, as well as the Mac Mini and the iMac? Imagine being able to charge your iPod or your iPhone wherever there’s a Mac?
Better yet, what if you could share power and data at the same time?”
In simple terms, inductive charging relies of a series of charged coils, from which an electrical current is passed to whatever device is in close proximity. So no need for ugly “wall wart” plugs, or the customary tangle of wires and connectors for each gadget.
Right now, all of the technology is in place — used by some electric shavers, of all things — so inductive charging could happen right away.
4. The web as a social network
Let’s not forget that it was MySpace who broke the ground on Social Networking by making it mainstream, part of the nomenclature. However, it’s unlikely that MySpace will be the last word in Social Networking:
“Predicting the future of social networks exclusively misses the larger point – these evolving online social destinations are laying the groundwork for the new social web which we believe is becoming infinitely more personal, more portable, and more collaborative.”
Social Networking must mature, and to do that, changes — both monumental and incremental — must be made.
First of all, Social Networks need to become portable and secure. Secondly, we need a more fine-grained way of determining the value of the people we meet. Calling everyone we meet on-line a ‘friend’ just isn’t good enough. We need to be able to say more about those people.
From a technical stand point, Google or Yahoo! could easily develop an open architecture to measure the value of our contacts.
Chris De Wolfe, CEO and co-founder MySpace goes on to add: “[Social Networks] must engage users while empowering portability.”
Moving forward, it’s likely that Social Networks will surround almost every kind of brand, product and service — everything from software, clothing and jewelry brands, to computer and auto manufacturers.
We’ll begin to see the outlines of the end product towards the middle portion of next year, either in the form of Google’s troubled OpenSocial, or via some other developer, working with pre-existing open standards.
5. The wonder of Wii
Because of the unexpected success of the Nintendo Wii, both Microsoft and Sony have been wrong-footed by a video games console that makes up for in pure interaction what it lacks in graphics performance.
As I reported way back in late December 2006, for the very first time, a video games console is getting people off their couches and exercising more than their thumbs.
It’s too late for the PlayStation and the Xbox this season, but expect to see those consoles preview their own take on interactive games and similar wands and joy pads in 2008.
However, in time video games consoles per se will vanish, eventually taking on the form of more specialist home entertainment computers, sporting keyboards & mice in addition to joy pads.
Just what is technology?
Want to know more about technology? You know what to do…
- Scientific advancements of the future
- The one predictable thing about tech markets…
- Electronic paper ‘PDA’ debuts
- TV ‘sleep’ button stands accused
- Say hello to Apple PowerShare
- Tell me the future
- OpenID to pave way for Web 3.0?
- A world wide web of friends
- The mobile office of the future: communication and web services
- A Wii bit of exercise courtesy of Nintendo?