Waiting for the new new thing
The smartphone fights are over, and everybody acquired. Life without our phones is almost preposterous. I really spent the last five days on got a couple of remote Pacific islands, and every so often Id look up and realize a flower-garlanded neighbourhood juvenile immersed in a Samsung tablet and this seemed absolutely unremarkable.
But now that the gold rush is over, and weve entered the mopping-up phase what next? What is, as Michael Lewis once put it, the new new concept? Conventional ability causes us five major challengers: AI, AR/ VR, biotech, blockchains, and drones.
AI is the biggest contender. Neural network decoration approval opens whole new lists of hitherto insoluble questions. Computers that can see and know what theyre ensure? Thats a very big deal, as evidenced by, for example, self-driving autoes. Likewise, AI-as-in-pattern-recognition are likely a major step( albeit one of very many) towards AI-as-in-artificial-intelligence.
AR/ VR is too transformative. A whole new, uniquely immersive structure of media, presentation, and cognitive/ navigational tools. I am no biotech professional, but by all notes its at the dawning of a new period, and not only because of CRISPR. Blockchains could upend the finance industry, change industry, destroy the barriers that keep out “the worlds” unbanked and underbanked, and supplant most international aid.
Drones meaning not just polycopters, but unpiloted vehicles of all kinds will( for better or worse) transform the military, defense, surveillance, and disaster response industries far more than they already have, and may rotate transportation of high-value goods into an aerial packet-switched network, just as carrying receptacles changed bulk goods.
But the odd concept is that none of these transformative engineerings are likely to be truly transformative, in terms of their effect on the majority of regular human lives, any time soon.( By which I convey: the next few years, i.e. by 2020 .) Eventually, yes! Immediately , no.
Its like 1995, when everyone in tech knew the Internet was going to be huge, totally revolutionary but not quite yet . Or the first iPhone demo, when those with hearts to construe recognized that this would change everything. – in a few years. Like that times five.
Its as if were standing on a beach, just knowing that multiple simultaneous tsunamis have been set in motion on the opposite side of this ocean. One or two of them may falter and end beneath the wavings, but at the least a few of them will upend everything, when they hit.
Startups and investors dont crave this breather at all; they crave a brand-new smartphone-sized gold rush, and they crave it is currently. Hence their desperation to e.g. represent chatbots happen. But given the scale of the manifold changes meeting our space, maybe a year or three to catch our collective gulp, to ready ourselves, wont be such a bad concept. Because it seems clear that the rate of change of the 2020 s is going to represent these topsy-turvy teenages look like stasis.