I decided to write about the future and some of the technologies that will develop for a number of reasons. Firstly, some of the technologies that are emerging will obviously have a massive impact on our way of life and on the societies in which we live. Secondly, as I have a (largely) business orientated audience; there is money to be made and opportunities to be had and whilst I may not be bold enough to suggest where you should be investing, I am more than happy to point out some areas that you most definitely shouldn’t! Lastly, I find it really interesting and it’s my website and I guess I can write about anything much I choose!
This intro may seem a bit ‘off target’ but I would disagree and state that it should set the scene and is, in fact, pretty representative of the logic that most people would use. As you will see as I look at different technologies a lot of it is very obvious, a simple extension of where we are now and then into the next stage and beyond. I lay no claim to being a futurist (or futurologist), those wonderful people that task themselves with looking at things many, many years in advance. The future for me just involves the application of logic combined with simply keeping my eyes and ears open. Combine these two points with a, self-taught, knowledge of history and an understanding of how people work, and I arrive at some pretty simple conclusions. Of course there will be developments that occur that no one can foresee at the moment, that’s just the nature of this game but even with this there are some things that I’m prepared to speculate on.
I suppose that my interest really started with the arrival into this world of my three daughters. When children arrive, your life changes in many ways, as many of you will be aware. Not just the obvious things either like your money disappears a whole lot faster! Your attitude on life, society and the world in general changes too. Before children you can sit and watch television looking at naked people using foul language and doing rude things to each other and it is all fine, it’s okay. After your children arrive then things like that are ‘disgraceful’, ‘unnecessary’ and are responsible in general terms for society being on a slippery slope to the end of the world. I’m sure you get the picture. You also ask yourself what kind of world your children will grow up in and what they will do later in life to pay their way, that is, what will they do for a living?
So after my little ramble there are some other points that I would ask you to bear in mind as you read through the articles in the ‘future’ category.
Firstly, I will refer regularly to a quote by Bill Gates, as I’m sure you are aware, a man who knows a thing or two about how the world works, it is this – “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten”. It is important that you understand this. I may even post this image on more than one post in this future category to reinforce the point.
Secondly, and this is a point missed by a lot of people, we have left the Industrial Age and are now in the Digital Age. The only dispute really on this is when it actually occurred, some saying 1989, some 1990, I’ll be honest, I don’t know and for what we are looking at here it doesn’t really matter, the only thing that is important is that it has occurred and the clock cannot be turned back. I’ll sum this up in a nutshell, for those who want to research it then go ahead; this is just a history recap. For centuries our society was predominantly based around agriculture. Most people were either involved in the production, transportation or trading of agricultural products. Then industry came along and people left the fields and went to work in the factories producing goods and products. It is an important point to note that when this occurred we didn’t stop growing food (kind of an obvious point!); we just became better at it. Less people were needed and machinery began to play a much bigger part. In the late 1980’s when the Industrial Age ended we didn’t stop producing goods and products it’s just that we became better at it. Now we are in the Digital Age and this throws up a significant problem for our society, you see, in the Agricultural Age the more people the better it worked, the more mouths to feed. In the Industrial Age the more people the better it worked, the more people, the more products that were needed. Now the problem. In the Digital Age people are not ‘needed’ in large numbers for the systems that now drive our world, regardless of what our political leaders will tell you when they want your vote. This ‘Digital Age thinking’ is important. No politician that I’m aware of thinks like this (not publically anyway).
Thirdly, human behaviour doesn’t really change, in essence, just the environment in which we live. The primary driving force of mankind is self- interest, not fairness, greed or anything else as Friedman said. This is important because it means we all pretty much work the same, year in, year out. Human and society behaviour is predictable. This means our political leaders work like this too. They are concerned with being popular and getting your vote at the next election not necessarily with doing the right thing and giving leadership during times where our future is being shaped. Politicians confuse this leadership point. Looking at which way the crowd is heading and then jumping in front of them with a rallying cry isn’t leadership. Real leadership is a far more lonely and frightening thing to do and requires enormous courage. There are not many people displaying this and as a result the future will ‘happen to us’ rather than us planning for it, which we are perfectly capable of doing as a society.
As a last point, read and digest this statement; ‘We are moving from a computer assisted world to a computer doing world’. Do not underestimate this, it is revolutionary. It has a massive impact on our whole way of life, on jobs, on the distribution or redistribution of wealth, on everything.
So I hope you enjoy reading through the articles that I’ll post in this section just as much as I’ll enjoy writing them. I would particularly welcome any feedback, comments or contributions that my readers would like to make. Drop me an email, which you’ll find it here.
Thank you and enjoy!