Predictions about 2030 are always fascinating to read. So, too, are predictions about 2012, written in 2010.
Predictions about 2012 were a bit hit and miss, like many predictions. They included touch screen computing (hit); social gestures, whereby Facebook users did not need to click to share content, it happened automatically (big miss); NFC and mobile payments (hit); things that happen beyond the iPad (hit and miss); voice control (hit – bigger and different from the predictions); second screens (hit) and flexible screens (near miss).
Predictions about 2030, before COVID-19, were equally far-fetched (and let’s hope we are not wrong about this because people in 2030 will write about how wrong we were to say they were wrong).
Ericsson predictions about 2030 involve being in an era of the Internet of Senses. And before we start pointing to examples of the Internet of Silly Things, here are some of the things that Ericsson thinks will be involved.
- Your brain is the user interface
- Sounds like me (fooling anyone into thinking you are someone else)
- Any flavour you want
- Digital aroma
- Total touch
- Merged reality
- Verified as real
- Post-privacy consumers
- Connected sustainability
- Sensational services
Essentially the ‘internet’ will something you can touch, smell, taste and experience in such a way that it is all ‘real’. Respondents to this piece of work by Ericsson think that fake news will be a thing of the past and that privacy issues will have been resolved. Possibly far fetched?
Other predictions about 2030 talk of the job titles of the day and include:
- Alternative Vehicle Developer
- Avatar Manager / Devotee
- Body Part Maker
- Climate Change Reversal Specialist
- Memory Augmentation Surgeon
- Nano Medic
- ‘New Science’ Ethicist
- Old Age Wellness Manager / Consultant Specialist
- Quarantine Enforcer
- Social ‘Networking’ Officer
- Space Pilot / Orbital Tour Guide
- Vertical Farmer
- Virtual Clutter Organizer
- Virtual Lawyer
- Virtual Teacher
- Waste Data Handler
Right now and under the shadow of COVID-19 it is impossible to see any of this happening (or much else for that matter). As with all predictions about 2030 or the future, some will come sooner, some will come later and some will not come at all. Some will still be amusing.
One thing that does seem clear is that COVID-19 will have a major impact on how we live and work.
There has been a trend and a lot of discussion about the borders of ‘work’ and ‘play’ over the last few years. The question is ‘when is a consumer a consumer and when is that consumer a decision maker in a company’? And should he be treated differently or not. Or as both.
We will come out of this crisis knowing that most of us ‘non-key’ workers can work from home. We will know that our ‘work’ and ‘play’ will have blurred much faster than it would have in normal times and we will, hopefully, know that it is generally better.
The temptation of the technology industry, however, is to ‘invent’ something (desktop publishing was a classic example) and then assume that it is how we will run things, exclusively, in the future.
That is not, and never has been, the case.
We also know that human interaction is where the real creativity, the real spark that drive the future, come from. You never (very seldom) get that ‘wait, that gives me an idea’ moment on a conference call.
So, while we might do much more work from home, we might go to the office once a week, say, in order to create the spark, the interaction that drives a company to leapfrog into the future, not just plod on down the road that ‘makes sense’.
If some of these predictions about 2030 come true, there is another truth that says the work/life balance will change dramatically and it will not go exclusively down the home working route, nor completely back to normal. It will be somewhere towards the middle.
Whatever happens, there will be a balance – just a new one.