2016: Digital Trends
Access to data was the story of 2015. We’ve all been shaped by mobile-networked tools that put this data to applied use. Networked devices open up near-endless opportunities that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
Half of the world’s population now has the internet in their pocket. This is a monumental accomplishment, in no small part because this technology has networked the entirely world together so fast.
In only 10 years time billions of people have gained direct access to smart phones. When compared to other revolutionary technologies such as: running water, electricity, the automobile, or even the household computer, the adoption rate of smart phone technology has been unprecedented. It took lifetimes for those other technologies to become commonplace across the world. Relatively speaking, the rate at which smart phones have become commonplace has been like the flip of a switch.
If you have a business, or even just an opinion to express, nearly everyone on earth now has direct access to this information. It’s reshaping the world. Fortunately, there’s plenty of reasons to think that these changes, on the whole, will be for the better.
What can we expect in 2016?
With a New Year just around the corner, it’s a great time to consider the future a bit. As we consider such rapid change in 2015, we can only speculate as to what’s to come. How might these trends improve our lives? How will they continue to affect our professions?
Well, just to get the ball rolling, here are two fascinating predictions posited by some of today’s leading technology futurists:
1. File Sharing for 3D Printing
We’ll call this one a ‘safe bet’ because it’s already happening commercially. Heck, it’s already reshaping (and creating new) industries.
Dr. Kurzwell (Director of Engineering at Google) is confident that 3D printing will change the world in increasingly substantial ways. Indeed, ‘personal fabrication’ devices are well on their way to becoming household items, albeit in their earliest stages of infancy. But going forward, Dr. Kurzweil believes that they will democratic product design and development across industries.
Just one example cited is the fashion world, which has already begun sharing clothing design files that can be printed in studios (and soon: at your own home). More importantly, people will live longer as a result of this same information sharing, because surgeons the world over will be able to communicate and print organic materials (including genome-specifc-specify organs) that will prolong the lives of countless patients.
Other thought leaders make even bolder and more abstract predictions. Like…
Several high profile experiments have yielded a means to navigate digital interfaces through the power of thought. It’s called a Brain to Computer Interface and you can learn the basics here.
How does this work? I have no idea!
With the help of some bleeding edge software, this technology is even paving the way for ‘Brain to Brain Interfacing’. This is one of those advances in science that sounds too ‘out there’, too utterly science fiction to be true. But here we are.
Where this technology is heading is anyone’s guess. But a core area moving the research forward is for the disabled to live more mobile lives. It’s remarkable to consider just how helpful this technology could be for those who will benefit from it most. Common ‘day-to-day’ applications for this technology might still be a few years off. But it stands to reason that our relationship with web-based interfaces will take a major leap forward if this technology is to be applied to our ubiquitous networked devices.
So how will bleeding edge technologies affect our work in 2016?
Precisely how these innovations will be applied into our personal and professional lives is still anyone’s guess. It’s likely that most of us won’t be directly affected by these technologies at all in 2016. But there will certainly be newly applied digital tech that will play a role in our lives in the year to come. The challenge, as always, is predicting what these exact new technologies will be and where they’ll come from!
But if digital trends in the past few years are an indication, endless opportunity awaits for those who keep an eye opened towards ‘applied use’ of emerging digital technologies. Keep your eyes open, folks. And keep the focus on how these applied technologies can change our lives and businesses for the better.
Here’s to the new opportunities to come in 2016!