In 2007 I was stood in a packed pub in London on a work re-union night. Getting served was a nightmare.
The group had decided not to stay a moment longer than necessary, but since we’d arranged to meet one of our old colleagues here, and since he was also late, we waited and fought for recognition from the bar staff.
When our colleague finally turned up, he carried with him an astonishing device - the first physical iPhone any of us had seen. This small, 11cm by 6cm “widescreen iPod with touch controls" created a mini stampede as the bar’s occupants, the hippest of Londoners, forgot all about preserving their cooler than thou images and elbowed their way over to gaze in awe at it.
That was 10 years ago. Today, these devices, with their touchscreens, OLED displays, biometric sensors, hundreds of GB of storage and 4G capability are ubiquitous. This isn’t a story about Apple changing the world, but rather a story about how much the world is changing.
‘Futurologists’ make a living out of predicting the future, and (for me at least) provide great entertainment in the process. Recently though, their predictions have felt less like science fiction and more like inevitable science fact. This is probably because 2017 was a year of marvels; immunotherapy and gene therapy ‘miracle’ successes in cancer, Huntingdons and haemophilia trials, Space X’s inexorable progress towards the stars, autonomous vehicle trials, the Tesla model 3, iPhone X’s facial scanning system and so on.
Reflecting on this over Christmas, I started reading about could be next. 2025 has a nice dramatic ring to it and has been mercilessly exploited by futurologists to bring their predictions to life. Most of these predictions are basic extrapolations of current trends rather than dreams of hover cars, and all are hair raising. Some examples of what 2025 will look like are as follows:
- There will be one trillion devices connected in the internet of things, generating an additional $19 trillion of additional revenue and enabling the acquisition of knowledge of anything you want to know, anywhere, and at any time
- Today’s three billion online users (instagramming their meals) will be eight billion, all with access to cloud computing power, AI and crowdsourcing
- Huge progresses in the treatment of disease will have been made thanks to cheap, large scale genomic sequencing and use of AI deep learning to understand and treat their root causes
- Autonomous cars will be commonplace, and will make up around 10% of all vehicle sales
- The mobile phone will be beginning its graceful exit from the stage, bowing out to wearables of increasing sophistication
- Distributed ledgers (blockchain) will be commonplace and 10% of global GDP will be based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) applications
- Bioprinting (bioengineering and 3D printing) will grow useable artificial organs
- AI will have replaced a large number of white collar roles impacting physicians, financial controllers and possibly even certain board members.
Even filtering out the head transplants and robot butlers, these predictions portray an extraordinary picture… and it is only seven years away.
The drive is of course the consumer – us, reading this blog. As a customer of services we are a becoming ever hungrier for innovation and change, and, as long as it makes life simpler, ready to adopt it.
Why write this? Basically, to try to bring to life the pace of change. If I’ve had any success in doing this then you need to ask yourself the question, is your business adapting at the same pace the world is changing?