The ‘network of things’ will become a reality - our current distinction between the internet and telecommunications will dissolve.
Devices will no longer be defined by their application — instead communications and services will be embedded in a wide range of otherwise functional items or screens all dependent on connectivity that will be woven into everyday life: think ‘smart’ wallpaper, flexible screens built into jewellery or clothing.
And no, we will not have three or four remote controls!
Telecommunications will go back to the future. We will stop talking about the network — the expectation will be for ubiquitous connectivity, regardless of the access technology. But the challenge of investment versus what people will pay for connectivity will recreate national, highly regulated monopolies (New Zealand will be early along that route), with the government increasingly called on to be the investor of last resort in ‘critical infrastructure’.
This will change the nature of service provision — if connectivity becomes a given, then users will simply pick’n’mix what service they want from which provider via a home gateway — and the value of current telecommunications services such as voice and access will erode to zero.
Biometrics will become the means of personal ID for trading, transactions and security identification.
This is a very viable possibility: the question is, what will be the trigger which makes this acceptable given our strong sense of civil liberties? We anticipate a strong swingback to personal privacy and a range of new services designed to protect and manage this for users.
Artificial intelligence will finally come into its own — and this may be more as a means of synthesising and creating an intelligence assessment of the data overload rather than an effort to replicate human capability. To be honest, I don’t really like to think of AI beyond this.
Smart cars on intelligent roading systems — we will finally recognise that our desire for control is carrying too high a human cost.
The drive for sustainability and ‘green’ tourism will make ‘virtual reality’ tourism a viable option.
Promises of childhood - long promised and we are still waiting...
• Interplanetary space travel - space tourism
• Terraforming of our home environment
• Flying cars - the Jetson's lied!!
• Jetpack travel - the supersonic jetpack on our backs
• Teleporting -(or did the movie The Fly destroy that once and for all?)
• Information and skills get automatically downloaded into the brain, and recalled on demand.
• 'Technology leads to such increased productivity that we will no longer be employed five days a week, and will need to find new ways to fill our leisure time' (Yes, I remember debates on this in my school days .... still waiting ... waiting ... waiting)
* This is the fifth article in a series this week marking Computerworld's 25 year birthday.