Historically technology advances at a snail’s pace. We invent the wheel and thousands of years later we invent iron. Those kinds of innovations always took many lifetimes to achieve.
It wasn’t until the last five hundred or so years that technological change accelerated. The golden age of the Renaissance ignited the spark for humanity. The age of reason brought advances in medicine, trade, science, and travel.
Then came the industrial revolution. Communication became near instantaneous. We were able to automate labor. And we could gap great distances with the steam engine.
The 20th century became the era of technology. Our prowess as an innovative species grew every decade, from the airplane to the internet. And progress in the latter half of the 20th century accelerated exponentially once the internet arrived.
But has technology hit a plateau? Where the heck are our flying cars and our Robbie the robots? Just hold your robotic horses for a split second, I’ve got some good news for you.
1. The Cryptocurrency Revolution is Well Under Way
The way we do money hasn’t changed much technologically speaking in hundreds of years. Yes, credit cards changed how we carry our money, but it didn’t fundamentally change how money worked.
Paper money used to be backed by gold. Now it’s back by faith in the government and the market. And these currencies have always been regulated by a central government of some kind.
I know I’m simplifying things (economists beware) but the technology known as blockchain is already upending the financial world. I can’t profess to know how blockchain works, but it has something to do with computers, equations, and immutable ledgers. That’s as far as I’ve ever gotten in trying to understand it before giving up.
It’s become such a buzzword around the tech world that even Mark Zuckerberg might get in the game. As it stands, he’s merely researching the various aspects of the underlying technology. But while it might not be wise to invest your dollars in this fledgling financial technology just yet (bubbles anybody?), it’s already made waves and soon it will be a technological tsunami.
2. Flying Cars Aren’t as Far Away as You Think
Tech revolutions are lined up like dominos. One right after the other will land and shake up the world.
The next revolution is transportation. We’ve heard about self-driving cars in the media, but what about flying cars?
Every once in a while some small startup will invent an overly expensive airplane with foldable wings. These inventions don’t line up with our expectations of what a flying car should be. And they typically require a runway of some sort which is highly impractical in urban spaces.
But the taxi business might be the first place we see flying cars. Drone technology has made it entirely possible for vertical take-off vehicles to enter the market at a tenth the cost of a small airplane.
Multiple companies already entered the race. Airbus, Uber, and even Volvo are hitting the clouds. Each hopes to be the first to bring air taxies to a major city near you.
And I can tell you, I’d have paid some nice dollars to avoid traffic in L.A. the last time I was there. Google, you put my life in danger too many times.
3. Wait…Where’s My Robot Maid?
According to Isaac Asimov, “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.” They will be “capable of general picking-up, arranging, cleaning and manipulation of various appliances.”
Mr. Asimov wrote about robots of our decade back in 1964. And he was eerily accurate.
I bought a Roomba five years ago and it requires that I empty it and move it from room to room. At CES 2018, we saw robots that are supposed to be able to do a variety of household chores. But they don’t do those chores very well yet.
One robot decided to run away from its owner. Another flat refused to pick up the trash. And Aibo the robot puppy wouldn’t play fetch.
We’re in the awkward stage of robots. Machine learning is in its infancy and our current consumer robots aren’t the most dexterous. But soon we’ll have robots that can do things better than humans.
4. Machine Learning in Marketing
it’s difficult to see the future. But when something major rolls through the marketing world, it’s hard not to speculate.
Just the other day a machine learning algorithm beat humans at the Standford Question Answering Dataset reading comprehension test. Marketing just won’t be the same once we can employ robots in our service.
Already we employ robots for marketing. Google already uses machine learning in their search algorithms. But we’re due for a complete and utter revolution in marketing tech.
One day companies like Kocomojo, Appery.io, TheAppBuilder, and others won’t be offering a way to DIY your app. They will instead offer to build it for you. But they won’t be the ones building it; their AIs will do that for them.
As machine learning improves, Google will be able to understand context perfectly. Machines will be able to read a blog in a nanosecond and make a decision about ranking faster than any current algorithm.
Supercomputers will become the norm in marketing one day. You will visit a website and the company will instantly know a billion things about you.
Get ready for the marketing tech revolution.
Be Patient, the World is About to Change
If you feel like technology is taking too long to progress, you probably grew up in the 80s and 90s. Over the last 30 year technology accelerated faster than it ever has in human history. And while tech innovation seems to have slowed, it’s really just a dormant volcano of potential.
If you want to stay on the cusp of the next revolution, just keep your ears and eyes open. The world is about to change.
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