It’s not interconnectivity in case you’re wondering, or miniaturization. Convergence is past and gone too. It’s definitely not massive data storage or app integration. And trust me, it has nothing to do with wereables or APIs. The Cloud can help, but not in it’s current state. There are things that are not in the mainstream discussion you should be aware of because they actually do represent real challenges for Technology.
This is not an article around Technological evolution though. I am not that technical. It is more around subjacent topics that we perceive as business people or end users. It goes beyond the iOS vs Android battle (who cares about Windows vs Mac anymore right?) yet it does affect both operating systems. Resolving these challenges faster can change the world in our lifetime.
I am quite certain that technical folk will add to this list but I figured I’d mention three that I consider unique.
Energy production, storage and usage: For those of you that are either Generation X or very early Millenials (we used to call you guys Generation Y before the whole Millenials thing), there’s a feeling that unites us all: cellphones in the 90’s and early this century were uglier, but batteries lasted over a week while laptops were really practical yet their battery life never spanned beyond 2 hours. That changed. Sort of. The fact is that it was the Technology around those batteries that changed a lot and really, really fast. Battery cell technology did change, but not as fast and not as radically as devices did. The world has yet to see batteries that make sense to our energy needs.
Cooling – energy recycling: Another biggie for “Teens of the old”, a.k.a. 90’s nerds but very normal to everyone today: batteries and energy sources heat up. That heat comes from the actual use of the battery or energy source. In computers, that required us to put heat dissipators and fans. Remove the fan or the dissipator (or overclock the CPUs) and they’ll burn. In cell-phones it’s not that easy but it basically means 2 things: we still haven’t learnt how to cool devices fast and efficiently enough so we can capture that consequential energy at the same time we keep those devices running.
Integration: Technology has the unique power of integration beyond human differences: we all need technology as we once all needed vaccines. It can unite us, yet there is no single Technologically based initiative that considers gender equality, education and world poverty as their mission. Not even amazing initiatives such as the ones the Gates Foundation foster. The moment we realize Technology can challenge real problems we as a species have, that’s the moment when AI stops being scary, that’s when we stop worrying about the latest Apple device.
Technology is not just a gift: it is a responsibility and an opportunity of our making to decide how we will evolve: as either a segregated or as a united Species.