Did you know today a person is exposed to more information in one day then someone from the 15th century was in their entire lives? This information comes from the storage of all the knowledge we have accumulated. In recent times it has been all put online and is now at your fingertips. Ready and waiting to bombard your brain, but this is nothing compared to knowledge that will be accessible in years to come.
One topic that has always interested me is the future, I marveled over books and TV shows which would give a glimpse into what it might hold. The amazing technologies that would change society and the people within it.
In recent times I’ve taken to researching about the future and what it may have in store for us lucky enough to see it. A lot of what I discovered I expected, some of it excited me with the possibilities, but some of it disturbed me. All the these technologies that will create that future exist today, just in their infantcy.
The information age has been a rapid accent, following Moore’s law computers have doubled in power every two years since the 70’s. This is an amazing achievement, which is mostly the result of refined manufacturing techniques that allow more and more transistors to be placed on a processor. Modern computer processors house over a billion on a single chip! But also here in lies the problem.
Moore’s law is destined to soon expire, current processors use transistors 14nm in size, and there are working models using 5nm which is believed to be near the limit before the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle will come into play, specifically the issue of quantum tunnelling. What this means for the near future I’m unsure, but I do know within 10 years Moore’s law is destined to be broken.
While this will probably have little affect on you and I, there are some other technologies that are going to change the world we live in forever.
Predictions are something I know a bit about, being an introverted intuitive I appreciate the power a prediction can give. The biggest change in your life in the next 30 years will be the power of a computers ability to make predictions. About you, what you want, what you think, how you feel and what you are going to do. You might think ha, computers can’t figure me out, they’re too stupid, and well your are right for the moment, but they will figure you out someday soon.
In many areas computers are already making predictions to solve and simplify problems. Simply put we are already living in the begining of that future, that future began from the internet and the search engine will all know, Google. Google has been trying to predict what you want for years, they even purchased one of the first promising quantum computers to help figure it out.
What was started by Google is being continued by every electronic device you use. Oh, the power of the internet! See what you might not know is that there are a lot of companies that are collecting massive amounts of data. How big is this data? Well, they call it ‘big data’ in the industry, go figure. One research report even found that using Google analytics to track searches for things like “debt” they could predict the movements of the stock market. That is just a taste to show you how valuable and powerful this data can be.
These companies that harvest this data then sell it on, before you stress out that your privacy is being breached, it’s not personal (mostly), it’s just tracking people’s habbits. Companies purchase this data for all sorts of reasons, like marketing campaigns, feasibility reports or whatever they’re into, essentially what this data can be used for is near limitless. Now I personally don’t I have huge problem with the collection of the data, what these companies do mostly works to improve products and society as a whole, but the future might be a whole lot darker than that.
Some of you may of heard of it, some of you may not, the next evolution technology wise that will change your life will be the Internet of Things or IoT. What this essentially means is computers will control everything, and it will all be connected to the internet. Your fridge, your keys, your car and even your socks will be online and collecting data.
Part of this shift will be the disappearance of the current idea of a computer being a personal device you carry around with you. In the future, this won’t be necessary, computers will be everywhere and everything. The small microchips in the cards that sing you happy birthday actually have more computer power than the entire allied forces in 1945, a microchip that is now so cheap you can throw it away. In years to come microchips thousands, maybe even millions of times more powerful will also be so cheap they can be put into anything and everything you can think of.
As this evolution happens your interface will go from primarily being a screen and keyboard to an interactive voice recognition system. Your computer will follow you, and it will know what you want. The technologies to make this a reality are here today, tomorrow they will be perfected and next week they will be a part of your life.
The power of these computers will be in the data the can collect, as the IoT grows, the more data they can collect, on your health, your habbits, your desires and your fears, the better they can make predictions. Which for the most part will be lovely, daily life will become more simple as computers take over tasks that we will quickly have no time for anymore. As a whole this will help mankind as productivity will greatly increase. As for the happiness of mankind, well that’s debatable.
Sadly this is where we comes to the dark end. With big data, comes great power, and with great power comes great responsibility, and we all know those with great power are irresponsible. So it doesn’t take much to imagine where these kinds of technologies will lead. Especially in the hands of governments.
Let me set a scene for you..
- A computer company has developed software that can read your emotions using a camera, it’s incredibly accurate and quick, it can even detect multiple peoples emotions at a time.
- In london there are over 500,000 cameras. In the UK it is estimated there is 1 camera for every 14 people.
- In the United States, law enforment agencies are employing computers to predict crime patterns. (Has anyone seen Minority Report? If you haven’t, it’s worth a watch, much of what you see in that movie is bound to become a reality).
Freedoms and privacy are destined to be pushed and tested as these technologies evolve. Sit a while and ponder, how do you think this will play out? Leave a comment and let us know!
So next time you see me with glazed over eyes, a blank expression on my face, staring into nothing, I’ve probably gone back the future, all with only 20 watts.
I know, that’s heavy, Doc.