“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility of our future.”
-George Bernard Shaw
Every day technology moves faster than you realize. Even if you are the most optimistic tech fanatic, you are probably underestimating the accelerating pace of advancement. The famous inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil echoes this idea of exponential growth when he says: “Our intuition about the future is linear. But the reality of information technology is exponential, and that makes a profound difference. If I take 30 steps linearly, I get to 30. If I take 30 steps exponentially, I get to a billion.”
Do you think that our lives 20 years from now, and that of future generations, will be better than ever before or do you think that they will be so dystopian that you shudder to even think about it? Do you think that greater automation, better machine intelligence and even more unpredictable advancement in every aspect of lives are good or bad? On the one hand we hear that machines will take away all our jobs and that we will have to compete with robots. And on the other hand we hear that many new industries and jobs will emerge. As always, you will find people arguing for either side, but most often they will be on the negative and catastrophic side. Regardless of what you think, the coming wave of transformation will be very different from any other change or transformation in the past because of what I call innovation proliferation. Basically, every innovation will lead to ten others, and those ten will lead to a hundred other. At each stage, the number of life-changing technologies grow exponentially.
Since the future is unstoppable anyway, it doesn’t really matter whether you think the future is going to be good or bad. All changes comes with their own advantages and disadvantages. How you feel depends on which side you choose to focus. Personally, I think that the future will be very exciting and that smart technology will bring improvements to our lives that we couldn’t have accomplished by ourselves.
I believe that very phase of technological evolution goes through a unique and interesting cycle. At the end of each cycle, we move to the next phase but re-enter the same cycle. I call this a 1/4th U Turn. Once you understand this concept, you won’t feel overwhelmed thinking about any changes in the future. The rest of the lessons are my unique take on the future based on my own research and thinking. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing about it!