10 sectors to watch over the next decade (part 4)

<<< Part Three: Genetics and Artificial Intelligence

We’re almost at the end of our ’10 Sectors’ series, and today I’ve got some big ones for you.  Whilst many of the others that have previously been mentioned will have a massive impact on global society as a whole, the two sectors I’ll be highlighting today will undoubtedly impact everybody reading this.  One because of practical utility, and the other because it is something that society cannot exist without and permeates every thing that we do.  So then, on with the show!

Augmented Reality (image by The Lightworks, Flickr, CC)

7. Information Technology – Computer technology has changed the world as we know it completely, that much is both obvious and undeniable.  Whilst the next decade will continue to see computers increase in power and utility exponentially,  how we use such technology to access information will be where the most impact lies.  Even if you look at how the internet has evolved over the first decade of the 21st century, we can see just how much IT might continue to become a part of our daily lives and, more importantly, our identities.

The first drastic change we are going to see will come from how we interface with our information.  Touch-screen capabilities will become common place, as we have already seen develop with objects such as the iPhone.  Furthermore, augmented reality interfaces will enable us to overlay the vast databases of information we are building onto the physical world around us.  Within the next decade, we can definitely expect to see augmented reality glasses released that project such information directly into our field of view.

Learning about the history of some important public installation or place, or even finding out which item on a restaurant’s menu is most favoured by previous customers, will be as simple as waving your hand in the air.  Even if we postpone the advent of wearable augmented reality, the universal ownership of mobile phones in the developed world will only help ensure that this information revolution takes place.  Just over the last few years we’ve become connected to our vast information network on a 24 hours basis, and the next few years is where we will see this connection begin to bear it’s fruit.

Of course, such interfaces and software is of little use without the information to back it up.  There are projects underway already to create digital copies of all books and publications, and we can expect these projects to evolve from merely creating online photocopies into a database of information that has the ability to be cross-referenced and integrated with cutting-edge artificial intelligence algorithms.

Beyond this we are also seeing our personal identities become increasingly digital; our voices and opinion heard through blogs, our interests and activities logged through social networks.  It is difficult to comprehend just how large an impact such an advancement in information will have, because it will be one of those moments that quite literally changes the way we see the world – and the funny thing is that we may not even realise it has happened.

All of history’s knowledge at your fingertips, all of the time.  If ever there was a landmark for when the ‘future’ is truly here, it’s this.

US national debt (image by propublica, Flickr, CC)

8. Global Economics – we have all been made aware of the fact that the global community has been coping with a massive financial crisis over the past three years.  Despite the complete media saturation, I still feel that there aren’t many outside of the financial sectors that really comprehended just how close we came to complete financial meltdown.  Fast forward a few years and it almost seems like nothing has happened, back to business as normal right?

Well, not really.  The economic crisis is not over by any means, and there are many commentators and analysts out there who will say that all that has been achieved is to put a band-aid over a crack in the dam.  Those with more extreme views will tell you of inevitable scenarios of hyperinflation and the end of capitalism as we know it, but it’s hard to truly side with such strong opinion (maybe because the reality they preach is just too painful?).  Beyond these extreme points of view however, there will be very real consequences that emerge out of this financial crisis – and they will start to manifest properly within the next few years.

The first drastic change will be the likely shift of economic power away from the United States.  The Chinese and Indian economies will dominant the 2010s, and could by extension very easily lead to a massive political shift of power as well.  The vast amounts of government debt that has been built up by countries such as the United States over the past few decades will start to have serious consequences for their domestic economies and financial influence around the globe.  Unfortunately, much of this means financial problems on an individual level; and it does seem like the reckless abandon of the last decade or two will be paid for in spades.

It’s hard to predict what will happen, but one thing we can be certain of is that there are some absolutely monumental changes in the global economic landscape to be seen during the next few years.  What is of vital importance is that we do not lose sight of the people and projects around the globe that desperately require aid and assistance because, whilst it might be a crisis of capitalism and lifestyle for many of us, it is often a matter of life and death for those in need.

End of Part Four

Another day, another two sectors for you to start looking into!  Although I’,m sure that the topics being discussed within this series’ of posts are not completely new to most of you, I do hope that I’ve been able to shed some more light on just why these sectors will be so important as we move forwards as a global society.

Make sure you come back on Friday for the conclusion to the series.  I’m having some trouble cutting down to just ten – so even I’m not sure exactly which two sectors will cap off the group!  As always, please leave any comments you may have; and if you are enjoying these posts then please do use the share function buttons below (available for most of the good networks) or the Twitter button at the top of the article.  It doesn’t take long, but it does make all the difference for the site!

Continue to Part Five >>>

5 Responses to 10 sectors to watch over the next decade (part 4)

  1. […] extent.   Augmented reality applications, which have been discussed here on Future Conscience before, are a technically impressive way to do this and there are already a number of great examples of […]

  2. […] & Technology, Lifestyle & Society, Religion & Spirituality, Science & Environment← 10 sectors to watch over the next decade (part 4)The Future of Future Conscience: An experiment in comments […]

  3. Mohan says:

    There was an excellent BBC Click pgrmoarme a month or two ago about the future of libraries. With digital books, the library system is likely to undergo significant changes, and not all the publishers want to continue the library model in the future.Perhaps Internet chat/forums/blogs have replaced libraries? Did people ever share ideas in libraries in the past though? They definitely do in web forums and blogs though.The more troubling aspect in the digital future is book lending between friends/colleagues. In the paper world, I probably have a dozen books at home, and the rest have all been lent to people that I’ve never had back (I’m not complaining hopefully they have been lent to a third or fourth party). In the digital world you can only forward an App/ Book Store link to a friend for them to purchase it. So sharing’ or promoting’ this type of education/literacy is easier in the paper world.In the new model an author would [probably] end up earning more money. Richard as an author are you in favour of the new model or not?

    • Robert Gordon says:

      Great comment – thanks Mohan!

      I absolutely agree with you that this is an issue with the current digital model of publishing. I made sure to make When Winter Calls both DRM-free but also released under a Creative Commons license so that the text could be freely shared amongst people non-commercially. It’s still not a straight forward process though, unfortunately…but I think that things like Creative Commons are definitely an attempt to give back more control to content creators from the hands of platform custodians.

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