technology trends

Living with "progress"

Technology trends are touted now as so significant that they will "transform our world and how we live in it". Bernard Marr offered 9 Technology Mega Trends that will change our world in 2018 (Forbes, 12/4/17), and four of them are listed below along with a way to stay sane with each. 

Trend 1: The increasing datafication of our lives. Marr says "In the average minute, Facebook receives 900,000 logins, more than 450,000 Tweets are posted, and 156 million emails and 15 million texts are sent." This doesn't point out that we are contributing to these numbers, and points to a quasi-addiction to communicating this way. The antidote: monitor our time on screens and have two-way conversations in addition to the one-way communication these vehicles offer.

Trend 2: The incredible rise of artificial intelligence. AI has advanced so quickly over the last couple of years that the more data an AI system has, the quicker it can learn and the more accurate it becomes. This means computers can undertake more and more human tasks (facial recognition software, analyzing social media messages, listening, speak and even gauging our emotions). Our task here is to collectively decide for whom and what should this serve and to monitor unethical use of them. 

Trend 3: The unstoppable freight train that is automation. Marr predicts that humans will no longer be needed to do the jobs that machines can do faster, safer, cheaper and more accurately, and cites an estimate that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of automation. What this means for us is to stay ahead of this trend by being sure we have the skills to either manage that automation or develop skills for jobs that will not be automated. 

Trend 4: We're interacting with technology in very different ways. Thanks to smart phones and tablets, we can carry out a whole range of tasks on the move simply by touching a screen. Google has confirmed that searches on mobile devices now outstrip desktop searches. And virtual reality and augmented reality are the next wave in interface innovation, transforming how businesses interact with customers. This requires learning, learning, learning so we can add value to those functions.