At one time, a single computer took up the space of an entire room and could only be operated by a very skilled expert. Its functions were extremely limited and only science-fiction envisioned where it might take us.
Today, we all walk around with a high-powered computer in our pockets and some of us are even relying on technology to safely drive us places.
Furthermore, the interconnectedness of such devices has changed the way we communicate and interact with each other.
Let’s take a closer look at the various areas of technology that are shaping how we live in ways never previously imagined …
There is nothing more fundamental to human existence than the places and ways we shelter ourselves.
Architecture and the process of building homes have entered a new level of efficiency, with the rise of 3D rendering and the emergence of 3D printing.
In the past architects had to work with hand-drawn sketches and 2D impressions. Today they can create fully 3D environments that can be applied to the real world to ensure everything is perfect before any building takes place.
It also allows for greater adaptation and problem solving, because you can play things out virtually.
When this is coupled with the ‘3D printing’ of cement or more modern materials, the main bulk of a house can be built in a day at the press of a few buttons.
This has the potential to pull millions out of poverty in the third world and tackle climate change through the use of eco-friendly pop-up houses.
This is all without mention the use of ‘smart devices’ that control and manage everything within a home.
Big Data and Analytics
While there is a legitimate fear of big corporations like Facebook using and abusing our personal data, its collection and analysis are allowing us to learn more about human behavior, disease, and global societal problems.
On a personal level, our exercise watches, personal finance apps, and even what films and TV shows we watch (Netflix), are driven by data collection and analysis. We are becoming more efficient humans.
The biggest companies in the world are now data gathering and information operations, and some research suggests that by 2020, 1.7 megabytes of new data will be created every second, for each person on the planet!
How that is used and applied, from marketing to global hunger, will have huge implications on the way we live.
Health and Wellbeing
A combination of better data related to disease and illness and more advanced technologies, mean it’s both easier to diagnose and treat disease and illness. It is now also easier to track a patient’s ongoing condition, which in turn allows for better overall health management and treatment.
From P2P payday loans where everyday people become the lenders, to digital cryptocurrencies like bitcoin that easily allow someone from Florida to complete a transaction with someone in Zimbabwe, technology is completely changing the world of finance.
In the West, we take the open internet for granted today. The number of connected smart devices continues to rise and even our homes have a central helper in the form of Alexa and Google Home.
However, some areas of the world still do not have internet access, though the likes of Google and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are working to change that.
Solar-powered drones and balloons are just some of the ways this is happening.
When the third world is fully connected, their economies and wellbeing can only improve and that will reverberate across the world.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
We’ve all heard about virtual reality headsets and augmented reality games like Pokémon Go, but just how close are we to mass adoption of AR and VR and what does it mean for businesses and consumers?
Well, everything from virtual tours of holiday destinations to augmented office meetings with malleable presentations, are becoming the norm.
The total revenue brought in by AR and VR last year was already $5.2 billion, but by 2020 this is expected to reach a staggering $150 billion as the cost of consumer technology decreases and it becomes an accepted part of everyday life.
Technology has shaped and will continue to shape the way we live. Almost everything we do today will change in the coming years. Who knows, we could go from driverless cars and paying in Bitcoin with our phones, to full-blown smart cities and consumer space travel!