Technology innovations has a habit of outpacing our expectations, but we can take a look to see if something interesting comes out of the normally somewhat clouded appearance of my crystal ball.
For many of us Seniors just learning to operate our computers, laptops or tablets can be effort enough, but that does not mean we can’t look to the future to see what might be on the drawing boards and be exciting for us.
The old globe is in the habit of pointing out that as far as the internet is concerned it is still growing by about 8% for the World as a whole, and that when you watch the younger generation at say a rock concert then – instead of dancing around, like we did in the 90s, – they are busy standing still holding up their phones snapping photos and tweeting. No wonder they are getting obese.
Given the amount of digital information being created and shared every single day, the crystal ball says that from 2 zettabytes in 2011 it will grow to 8 zettabytes by 2015. Zettabytes! you say, what does that mean, well a zettabyte has 21 zeroes after the number. One wonders how much of the information was useful.
It isn’t just the increasing amount of data from photos or videos being uploaded, now we can look forward to yet another source, that of sound, for now your new phone talks to you, you can talk to your computer, and don’t forget your new car and the many functions under voice control there too.
Stuff uploaded to Facebook, twitter, Flickr, YouTube and others is doubling year on year, and you may ask who is watching all this? Sound via smartphones has already exceeded 11 hours of upload per minute of day and night, and one would be remiss to exclude the increasing traffic in mobile data which alone – my crystal ball says – will account for 30% of global traffic in 2014.
So ok, you have just got a new tablet and have joined the phenomenal growth of these devices over the past couple of years. Considering we have gone from Mainframe computers via personal computers to the iPads and Androids and smartphones at an ever increasing speed you can be sure that next phase of personalised devices, the ‘wearables’ which include wristwatches and bands, Google- and others- glasses, are about to be inflicted on us.
You may not be aware that the average typical user check their mobile up to 150 times a day and each time it requires handling the phone, pressing a button or two, then the wearables start looking sensible since they do not interfere with what else you are doing.
Of course there are some who says it will never happen…, but beware, many a famous quote exists of just such brave people having to eat humble pie, so what else can we look forward to?
There is the driverless car, yes already on the road in Japan, Nissan and Google both have their models under tests, and I guess you’d call in a computer on wheels. There are mini planes, mini copters and drones already in the air for both good and less desirable reasons, and your smartphone can scan codes to connect to a website [the socalled QR codes] quite similar to a barcode scanned at the check-out, but in this case for information and for e.g. getting a boarding card at the self check-in at the Airport or to pay for a ticket, or as you can see on the photo of the UK embassy in Beijing to find information about the UK on the Chinese equivalent of Google.
We have already got the ‘pay pass’ and ‘pay-wave’ on our credit cards to save you having to enter your pin to activate payment and away from prying eyes, and I think that the smartphones will become even more enabled in the coming year.
There is little doubt that the future of the touch screen is limited, Intel, the maker of the chip in many computers, already talked about voice recognition at the 2013 Computer Exhibitions, so my crystal ball says that the future of the keyboard will also be affected and its function drastically changed, look out 2016.
Computers will be able to perform real-time translation of languages when two people are talking together, and the camera on your computer will be able to track where your eyes are looking so if e.g. you are watching a movie with a lot of blood and gore and you look away every time when it is shown, then the computer may adjust to include less gore.
Lastly, before the orb goes cloudy again, there is ‘finger pointing’, may go hand in hand with eye tracking, and Intel – again – well their processors power more than 80% of the world’s computers – has put a lot of resources into something they call ‘perceptual computing’ where they use the senses to help technology interpret what is going on around it. That means the computer being able to assess sensory inputs like emotion and detect your biometric data simply using a camera.
Naturally that scenario leads us on to quite speculative visions and I am not going there. Instead the Crystal ball gazing has ended for this year, another great year for SeniorNet Kapiti, and I and all my colleagues at SeniorNet wish you a wonderful Christmas break and holiday and look forward to welcome you back in 2014.