Technology and Human Need - We Crave Innovation

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 7th Nov 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/lp2b8dnj/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

It is true that today we crave innovation, in fact it may seem like we are innovation junkies, we are waiting for the latest/greatest Samsung or Apple phone and when the product reaches the stores we will wait in line overnight just to get it. How will we do things in twenty five years?

The Future of Technology?

We have all seen this impact on the news, and it is possible we have witnessed it in person - the rush to obtain the latest and greatest gadget, which we will be cursing as a piece of junk in 18 months time. We are currently going through a period where it seems every human on the planet is a techno-junkie. Some may not be able to afford the latest gadget, but it does not stop the internal craving.

Sometimes it seems as though the pace of change will never cease.

How will we do things in twenty five years? It is difficult to know, but one thing is certain our love for technology will continue to grow and the capabilities we will have will outpace many of today's products and make the current era seem like sleepy times, yet existing technology is always the foundation to the future.

Advances & their Impact

If you are a follower of technology it is easy to see that there were many ideas that have subsequently become popular, but when they were first developed the idea did not take off, or had only a small following.

One such invention was the tablet computer, which is all the rage today, but I remember early tablet computers as early as the year 2000, but they never gained the popularity that tablets have today. One former colleague was using one in 2003 and he had been using them (and was a full convert to this type of technology as long ago as 1997, yet clearly this was a man ahead of his time because most of the rest of the world were clearly not ready, but many of those who would be ready had only just been born.

When new ideas are developed there are always early adopters, they are the people that are cutting edge thinkers and they look at the benefits before they consider the limitations. Some of the issues associated with things like tablet computers is that a leap was not possible until the development of the solid state disk drives that provide the same type of technology as used in your flash/USB drives but for mass storage. In some respects we have changed the way everything is stored by computer and future models may have no internal storage.

An Idea Before its Time

It is a fact that we are now demanding all our devices to be more convenient, more portable, more lightweight, more powerful than ever before and that trend shows no sign of stopping, the need for convenience has gone to the extent that we feel there is an "App" for everything we do, and even where there isn't the case we are seeking ways to build them and add data to devices we carry with us at all times, because if we capture data when we are doing things we are less like to have to repeat the process, or forget things. Indeed almost everything comes with video or photographic evidence.

The speed of micro-processors was at one time doubling every 2 years, yet today this advancement in speed is no-longer so helter skelter (because we have reached the speed limit of the silicone chip) but there are other ways to improve performance through reduced instruction set computing (RISC) or through multi-processing capabilities.

Much of the future of technology is likely to focus on portability and adaptability, rather than extra computing power, indeed devices like the Android tablet have made people think more about portability, which has made tablet computing fashionable. One thing we can be certain about, there will be more of these and they are likely to drive much of what we do in the workplace as well as our personal lives, but of course some jobs will still continue of without any technological assistance whatsoever.

Convenience

Solid-state technology is starting to take off and this means we can store more data in a smaller space and we can access it the same way as we would any hard-disk drive, but there are no moving parts so there is more access to more data, which is all instantly available. In addition we no longer have to store data on computers we (or the companies we work for) own many companies are leveraging cloud storage, indeed there are also many options available for home use as well and the costs remain either free or very low that a start-up home based business can take advantage.

Soon it will be possible to sell computers with all but the minimal storage because we will all be used to using the cloud for all of our storage needs. Microsoft offers 150 Gb free on-line storage when you sign up for on-line versions of their applications via certain service providers and truth is on-line storage is likely to take off in the next couple of years, and the amazing thing is that there will soon be terabytes of it available for free, and it is secure, so you are the only person that can access it (if that is the way that you want it). The 5Gb you get for signing up with services like Dropbox will seem tiny within 5 years and more services come on-line and provide free storage.

All this cloud data storage is becoming a key part of our social world, we share things with nobody, one or two people, or everybody simply by setting permissions, in fact with some services you can obtain hundreds of gigabytes simply by signing up your friends or business associates to use the service - all of this is about sharing and making the supplier's services indispensable.

The future of technology today is more about the business and social or sharing impact than about rapid advances in the technical capabilities. Sure we will see smaller and more powerful devices, but driven by the human need.

Business and Social Impact

Having talked about General Motors providing a car that a blind man can drive, it is not about the blind man driving a car like we have today, but it is about the owner telling the car what their destination is and the car taking the controls, it is the next step beyond lane encroachment, blind-spot, and crash-risk warning signals, this is about taking the lessons learned from robotic cars, such as the Google Street-view cars which have in some parts of the world been driver-less for several years. When the blind man steps into the drivers sear in the future it will be because the technology in the car is capable to taking control of the whole journey.

One concern here is that car controls must never fail because people's lives depend on it.

We have seen things like WiFi being added to our favourite automobiles as the latest trend in entertainment.

Craving for the Next Great Thing

Convenience and computers have brought many things within our reach, through the internet we have access to a great many things, but there is also a tendency to live a life that includes cheap imitations, what you might term plastic copies.

We can all have a life-size copy of the Mona Lisa and put it in our living room, but at the end of the day it is still a copy and other than duplicating the image does not have the quality of the original that can only be seen by visiting the Louvre Gallery in Paris. there is an inherent danger of loving the reproduction is that we may be missing out on the finer things in life, technology is supposed to make life easier not cheap and nasty.

Image Credits

The images used in this article were obtained from the following sources:

  • Got it down by Green Street (Royalty free image collection owned by the author)
  • Business robot by Green Street
  • Galaxy Tab by Samsung
  • Virtual Cloud by siliconangle.com
  • Jets over the city by Green Street
  • Alien Skin - Plastic Lives by bandcamp.com

Recent articles

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Comments

author avatar tafmona
10th Nov 2014 (#)

thanks for sharing this

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author avatar viewgreen
10th Nov 2014 (#)

Very informative article. Thank you for sharing this infprmation's.

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author avatar Retired
10th Nov 2014 (#)

The interaction afforded by the Internet makes our wishes as consumers known. The success of our free-market capitalist system gives us the resources to purchase the products that service our demands. Innovative entrpreneurs listen to customers and do the impossible to deliver on our wants and wishes. Yes, we crave innovation because our capitalist system is capable of delivering it through the technical knowledge, creativity, and freedom of imaginative individuals. Bravo for the system that works!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Nov 2014 (#)

There are plenty of innovators who actually invent for the glory of it and money/profit is not a part of their thinking, while other other are monetarily motivated - both add value in this world.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
11th Nov 2014 (#)

Innovation keeps us on our toes and enthralls us too. The quality of life has gone up immeasurably though we get carried away and suffer from short attention span and becoming more like robots in our attitude.

I look forward to the day when all countries can become energy independent through renewable energy and that means having better storage and higher conversion efficiency of solar energy to make it cheaper than polluting fossil fuels.That will bring a sea change in our lives and reduce tension all round. Interdependence and independence can coexist. Thanks for this informative post, Peter - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Nov 2014 (#)

Siva, I deliberately avoided that discussion on the types and sources of energy, but it is also an important part of our technological future.

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author avatar Ptrikha
14th Nov 2014 (#)

Technology is changing at a fast pace. It is so fast, that even people in direct touch with it- Technologists, Engineers, Programmers and other experts are unable to keep pace with it. As tech becomes more sophisticated and stronger, it also becomes more complex but we are also seeing bad people with big powers and intelligence becoming masterminds at exploiting the loopholes.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
14th Nov 2014 (#)

&Ptrikha one of the key aspects about today's inventions is that they do not simply relate to one field they may encompass two of three, including the computing component to add smartness.

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author avatar Bodylevive
17th Nov 2014 (#)

I'm a bit slow when it comes to technology. There are things out there that kids can run circles around me with. I'll just stick to the cell phone and computer, where it's safe, LOL.

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