General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Where is information technology headed?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30373points) April 11th, 2014

Operating systems, computers, tablets, the Internet, smart phones, VoIP, satellite radio, GPS devices, on-demand television, fiber-optic networks, and cable broadband are but a few of the many pieces of information technology. They are evolving rapidly.

For those of you who have your finger to the pulse of the IT world, where are we headed? What will IT be like in ten years? fifty years?

What are the people with imagination dreaming up for us?

Will we have smart houses in which we will be able to interact with computers like Star Trek?

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7 Answers

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Futurist, Jason Silva, has a great video series on the internet regarding the exponential growth curve of technology and where it is headed.
Here’s one of them:

Silence04's avatar

Augmented/virtual reality will probably a part of everyday life. 20–30 years from now kids will think it’s weird to hangout with friends in real life. Similar to how kids of today would rather text instead of call someone.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

We are headed to a cashless society where everything will be bought and sold online. Of course you will need an ID chip implanted!

jerv's avatar

I think that cyberpunk has a plausible path. There are things the Shadowrun RPG predicted in 1990 that came to pass, and other common tropes that were thought to be mere speculative fiction are now reality, so it may be closer to the truth than one would think.

In SR, the Matrix is everywhere. Well, Matrix 2.0, as Matrix 1.x was effectively destroyed (in part) by terrorist action, so Matrix 2.0 is a wireless mesh network (think “peer to peer”) with no centralized infrastructure that could cripple the entire grid if one small part were destroyed.

We are somewhat there already as we have the wireless part down, but we still use wires and optic cables for many things (instead of just those high-security things that you wouldn’t trust to be broadcast via wifi), and we still have cell towers that could be destroyed, and central servers for ISPs. I see that as becoming less commonplace in favor of a more reliable, more robust network that cannot be taken down the way landline-lovers say cellphones can be.

The average person in SR has a commlink. In many ways, it’s comparable to a 2014 smartphone; it’s a phone, game system, music player, computer, camera, and such. But it also has AR (Augmented Reality) capabilities like Google Glass; almost everybody has their commlink hooked to glasses, contacts lenses, retinal Image Links, or cyber-eyes in order to see AROs (Augmented Reality Objects) overlayed on their meatworld view. You look at a storefront and see nothing special, but through AR, you see that they’re having a sale on your favorite snackfood… and are alerted to the fact that Lone Star is responding to mugging 12 blocks away from your current location.

But in addition to being “Google Glass on steroids”, it’s also your wallet. So you go to the store, grab yourself a beer, and walk out the door. No problem; the RFID tag in the beer bottle tells the store computer that their inventory is smaller than it used to be, looks up the price, reads your identity from your commlink, contacts your bank, and deducts the appropriate amount from your bank account without you having to put up with some smartass working the register.

And computer skills won’t even be really necessary, nor will literacy. Everything is icons, pictures, videos, and sounds, so why deal with squiggly lines to convey information? Literacy rates will fall as a result of just not needing it, much the same as many people currently know little about hunting, farming, or gathering firewood.

But that is all end-user stuff. Look behind the curtain and you will see optical chips replacing silicon, stronger encryption, advances in parallel computing, and a bigger push to make all of that more cheaply so as to reduce unit price and make a profit on cheer volume; if halving the price triples sales, that’s a win.

LostInParadise's avatar

Robots will be coming after our jobs. Some predict that half of current jobs will soon be automated. Who would have thought that driving could be automated, yet Google has been progressing rather well with its self-driving cars.

dabbler's avatar

User-printable circuitry for simple stuff (goes along with the trend of 3-D printing getting more and more accessible).
For the sophisticated circuits, graphene.
Continuing advances in open-source software and hardware.

More variety of electronics than you previously thought possible. A given type of device (e.g. music player) might be made by a super-sophisticated global manufacturer, a well-equipped hobbyist or the mom-and-pop fab down the street that makes and sells gadgets alongside energy drinks.
More haphazard compatibilities. Cyber-punk scenarios of autonomous agents wreaking havoc or possibly ‘altruistically’ straightening things out.

Corporate cyber-warfare becomes commonplace (much more of it than we hear about today).

flutherother's avatar

Machines which already do much of our manual labour will also do much of our thinking. Advanced IT systems built into our clothing will guide us through our lives acting as an extension of our awareness and our memory and recording everything we do. The real world and the virtual world become increasingly hard to tell apart. Machines begin to imagine on our behalf.

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