I have said many times that we are linear beings living in exponential times. This means that we have a hard time predicting the future. (see The Stormfront)
For example, here is a link to a gallery of fascinating predictions from the 1950s. Things like jetpack wearing mailmen and radiation enhanced crops are predicted. Even so, they got somethings right. For example they predicted wearable electronics and teleconferencing. A lot of what they got wrong though is they take something they know and just enhance it with technology. For example, a jetpack wearing mailman was an extension of the new jet engine technology. This was the start of the atomic age so why not enhance plants with radiation?
The point here is many people look at education reform as taking the current model and bolting on whatever the latest technology is. Often though reformers can’t see that these technologies are going to change the whole design pattern of the way we learn. I think I’ll start calling this Future Myopia.
Another recent article talks about a vision of the workplace in 2040.
MYOB has released its ‘Future of Business: Australia 2040’ report, which examines the possible impact of emerging technologies on business and work over the next 25 years.
Forget the traditional office or even the remote workspace — localised centres based around suburbs or communities will emerge as the home of business as a response to the growing expense of traditional inner-city office buildings, Mr Raik-Allen says.
These giant warehouses, used by employees from many different companies spread around the globe, will be home to the technology that makes the interconnected workplace possible.
“Within each will be rooms filled with giant wall-sized screens allowing us to work in a fully virtual, telepresence model. Banks of 3D printers would be continually churning out products ordered by the local community.”
Ok let’s stop right there. Even today we are seeing the rise of personal, wearable display devices such as Oculus Rift, and Google Glass. In 10 years, I predict we will all have access to contact lenses and glasses that will create fully immersive virtual experiences around us. So if we have access to that, why do we have to have a building with wall sized screens?? Seems like a waste of space to me.
Launching a new business and hiring 500 people could be done in minutes, he argues. “Your company could be just you and a couple of project managers: the thinkers, controlling every aspect of the company through new digital interfaces.”
Yes I agree completely and to carry it further, I expect businesses will be created and then destroyed very quickly. I expect most people will work for many companies at the same time and at all times of the day. You will either be creative, or unemployed. Manual labor will be taken over almost completely by robots. We all have a lot more free time. In fact I think the 40 hour work week will disappear.
Here’s where it gets really crazy. If you thought smartphones and wearables were the height of personal technology, wait until you have chips implanted under your skin and downloadable apps for your brain.
Nanobots will swim through your blood, diagnosing illness and clearing blood clots. Brain augmentations will heighten our senses or allow us to control technology with our minds.
For example, implants in the retina could farm off the raw data to miniature processors implanted in our bodies, analysing the images to identify things that can’t be seen with the naked eye, and then feed that back ‘into the stream’, effectively giving us augmented vision.
Ok so again he is predicting personal immersive virtual reality and yet he thinks we will work in buildings with wall screens. ;)
The whole brain modification thing is something I haven’t done a lot of research on but nothing I have seen leads me to say it’s impossible. What if you can upload information directly into the brain? What if you can upload skills? What if in 10 minutes you can become a violin virtuoso? Direct brain interface sounds outlandish but there is nothing I can see that says it’s impossible.
2040 is only 25 years away. My son will be 27 years old. 25 years ago was 1990. I was graduating high school. In that time we have seen the Internet and Smartphones be developed and sweep the world. What will happen in the next 25 years? Does it seem likely that in 25 years we will still be grouping children together into a room to hear a teacher talk about a topic? I don’t think so so what will we do and how do we get there? That’s what this blog explores.