In his newest book «The Inevitable», Kevin Kelly presents the twelve technological forces that will inevitably shape our future. In my opinion, this thought provoking book should be mandatory reading in every school. And those who always wanted to launch a startup will find ample business ideas.
In the future, there will be less and less products but we will consume them as services on demand. The consequence is a constant flowing and increased liquidity of all systems. We pay no longer for the product itself but for its generatives: immediacy, personalisation, interpretation (support, guidance), authenticity, accessibility, embodiment, patronage, discoverability (abundance of apps, books, services etc.)
Everything will be cognified by adding Artificial Intelligence (AI) to it. Screens will be ubiquitous, content is liquid and not written by an author. Culture and behaviour is no longer based on fixed texts (rules, law) but can be tweaked and adjusted by changing code. All texts become hyperlinked, annotated, enriched, connected, networked. The consequences are: Longtail audiences, deeper grasp on history (because of available facts), new sense of authority, platform for cultural life. No more finite books are written, but people create text as add-ons to a global platform.
When there are less products and more services, accessing becomes more important than owning something. The drivers behind this development are: Dematerialisation, Real-Time On Demand, Simultaneously, Decentralisation, Platforms as multi-sided marketplaces, Clouds. The trend goes toward collaboration and collectivism instead of the traditional capitalism (but not socialism). User Generated Content does not mean posting something on Social Media, but the development and improvement of products and services. Every activity online improves the web itself, however this still needs some hierarchy, organisation and responsibility.
Filtering becomes more important. Filters can be intermediates, curators, culture, religion. But there is always the danger of a filter bubble where we receive more of the same through filter based on current behaviour. Personalisation leads to filtering and vice versa. Influencers become more important and will get rewarded/paid.
Future growth comes primarily from re-mixing existing resources. This is especially true for digital arts and entertainment. Everything will be recorded and rewindable. This presents a huge challenge for legislation on intellectual property.
Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality are of course important forces, too. Gaze tracking will enable new user interfaces, navigation etc. We’ll see the embodiment of interaction with technology and technology will also interact with us. Wearables will help the impaired but also improve healthy people. Tracking everything will be the new normal. This will lead e.g. to customisation of medicine. Self-tracking devices will give the body direct feedback. Measuring is not the problem, but making sense out of it. Meta data (time stamps etc) provide the real value.
We can recall every moment of our life and somehow re-live it. Not only human beings but also things will track themselves. Surveillance must become symmetrical and mutually beneficial (like neighbours in small cities). We’ll have the choice between anonymous/impersonal and transparent/personal and will always chose the latter. However, increased transparency leads to more responsibility.
The endgame will be one global connected cortex, called HOLOS by Kelly, where the web connects all machines and all human beings.