Technology & Things in 10 years
Imagine a world where information is never farther than your fingers reach – scratch that – go to any sci-fi movie released in the last 20 years and you don’t have to imagine. We are already starting to blur the lines between reality and the movies we once considered a high tech fantasy, but what is going to be the mass medium to all this bright and shining technology; the Internet. We keep it with us where ever we go, we search it for the answers to our problems, we use it to connect us to our farthest of friends, and use it as our quickest source for news. All mass mediums will meet one end, “The Internet will be invisibly interwoven in daily life” according to a survey conducted by Elon University. In ten years’ time it will be our one stop shop for everything we need; television, newspapers, and even redefine the criteria for work.
Instead of owning televisions there will be large screen computer monitors, roughly about the size of TV’s now, but their design will web based (like Netflix). Since this will likely put our lovely cable providers out of business they have one of two options; adapt or go bankrupt. Some networks are already converting to the internet such as Cartoon Network, ABC, and CBS. The real question is when the final conversion from TV to the internet happens will the networks try to sustain on their own or will they float under the umbrella of an online cable provider? Companies such as Hulu and Netflix will begin to take the networks under their wing and change their company format to not just old seasons of shows but start to carry current shows as well – for a cost effective but additional price. Though this eliminates the annually rising cable bill it creates a new debt as well, but since one out of every ten Americans already owns a Netflix account the switch over won’t be totally devastating.
One thing that will be devastating is the loss of print. I don’t think journalism will ever go out of style or be outdated, but I do believe that it will be updated and moved on to the internet. For some publishers it already has. I love the smell of a hot off the press newspaper just as much as the next person, but that’s not enough to keep it alive and on the streets. I take back the “on the streets” statement but in the sense that instead of having a newspaper stand, where you insert four quarters and pull out a paper, it’s electronic. That way we can swipe our card, or whatever we will be using for money by then, and have it sent to us via email so we can read it on our phones. No worries though if you prefer the old fashioned, but just as good, newspaper they can send you a copy in the mail, but by the time you receive it the news will be ancient – so a day or two old.
Oh and go ahead and say farewell to the central office space since everything will be transmitted to the world wide web there will be no use in going in to a workplace when you have everything you need right at your fingertips. All of us have our sidekicks, you know those guys that never get any of the credit but do most of the work, now days they’re called smart phones. Let’s face it if you don’t own a SMART phone you’re not in the loop. Most jobs today can be done completely on your mobile via the internet; columnists, secretary, and even CEO’s. Sure there are a lot of security protocols that will be need to be put in to place but there are smart people out there who are working on that as we speak. An online article by John Schulley, the former Apple CEO, has taught me that instead of one network there will “be thousands, hundreds of thousands of different proprietary networks, maybe sharing some common protocols, but having a lot of privacy built into it…” The conventional office meeting will take place on secure and protected web interfaces (Skype) instead of every share holder flying in from all over the world to have a meeting over whether to cut coffee or employees.
Rather than having four different devices for TV, internet, reading, and music it will all be accessible from one point: the internet. After “The Conversion” – what I’ve decided to call the convergence of all mass mediums on to the internet – you will need one device for everything, a metamorphosed version of a smart phone, and maybe a few accessory gadgets in the home. Of course you are going to have your conspiracy theories and maybe a few new rebel groups trying to disband the progress we have made, I think they recently made a movie about that, but the internet is here to stay. Ten years from now we could even have little symbiotic chips implanted in to our brains that lets us access all of cyberspace by blinking, but let’s be reasonable here. Keeping it simple, the internet has connected us all from every corner of the world and if we choose to use it responsibly we could create a better world where oil is traded freely, different religions begin to understand each other, or learn how to save the rain forest with just a click! Or we could just continue to watch funny kitten videos.