Once in a while I get stupendous insights of Life, the Universe and Everything, like “Ah, but that makes perfect sense, how could I have missed this before”. At some point of my life I was really fascinated by a field called Futurology and various future trends. I had great moments reading books about foresight into the the future of humanity and technology. Yet a bit later I came across a thing called Gartner Hype Cycle curves – graphs, which show you significant technology trends in the next 10 year period. It’s quite fun to compare different year curves and see what was the long running trends and what failed to establish.
The end of this year is approaching blazingly fast, so probably it’s a high time to share some deep thoughts and count the sheep (electric ones, please). If I were to make a list of buzzwords, I heard the most often this year, probably it would look something like this:
Well, it seems nothing really groundbreaking – heaps of information and new ways to process it, some shifts in human thinking, more social cooperation and openness to the world, new challenges for personal data protection – hey, check the source, you are currently leaving fingerprints for Google analytic, thanks! :)
Ok, lets go back to the future. In general, there are three theories about the future of humanity. The first one says, that a big cataclysm may bring us to the Stone Age. The other one suggests, that we may improve ourselves using genetics. And the last one states, that we will develop intelligent mechanical robots and over time merge ourselves and our intellect with those robots. Probably you’ve seen at least one of these in some movie.
In fact, there is one more idea – lesser-known and crafted by a simple priest (I have no idea why they come up with the best ideas). He divides the evolution of the world into three phases – prior intelligent creatures, emergence of biological intelligent creatures and the last phase – noosphere, which is something like collective consciousness. And now the things are getting more interesting – if we share our data, if apps, clouds, smart houses and tweets become integral part of our life and we all get connected – do we build an unlimited consciousness? And if we find new ways to analyze and use all this data, does it count for a new way of thinking? Or a new superficial intelligence?
Well, one may think that the same thought could have appeared with the invention of the Internet. But if we were following the development of technology, maybe it could be summarized as this:
The problem is that now we have a large collection of data – but this data itself is worthless if we cannot extract conclusions, trends, predictions from it. And we can’t use all the data in one calculation too – we need to find the ways to extract predictions from small subsets of data. Have you already heard about data mining? Would you like to get personalized and accurate suggestions when shopping? Do we already know how to do that effectively? How much are you willing to pay? Can we use data mining to destroy the world? In any case, this field is an opportunity to explore and succeed for some of us during the next few years.
While my conclusions and answers this year are:
- Don’t panic
- Be honest – they know it all
- Share – knowledge, smile, idea, opinion. When you have a big heap of everything, personal bit of information is valuable more than ever.