← Back to home

Predicting the future of tech

I was reading Steven Sinofsky’s twittered musings on the topic of iPads replacing other forms of personal computers. He’s probably right. I don’t know. I also can’t find the tweets anymore. Steven posted an excerpt of an article from 30 or 40 years ago where the author doubted utility of a computer mouse. As you can imagine, that article is very funny to read now that we live in the future it was trying to dismiss.

In retrospect the sceptics who had wrong predictions will look the same as Steve Ballmer’s interview about the iPhone.

The topic of trying to predict the future reminded me of the great article by Ben Evans called “Office, messaging and verbs”. Do yourself a treat and read it. My takeaway is this one:

Rather, the way they change tools is if you give them fundamentally different ways to achieve the underlying task.

This is awesome on many levels. I like to be reminded about the fact that we don’t know what we don’t know. Also, I enjoy to observe my hindsight bias. I like how most of the tech things of today are so obvious (not) to be invented!

I sometimes imagine myself going to the ancient world and picking and choosing what novelties of 2019 I’d tell the people of that time (yeah, silly).

I love this quote from Hal Varian:

If you want to understand the future, just look at what rich people do today.

Indeed, having fruit as a staple in ones diet, modern health care (Germany is doing very well on this front), international travel, mobile communication devices were unthinkable of a middle class person not even a hundred years ago.

I get full of appreciation for innovators and dreamers. I’ve been dismissive about many recent novelties (touch screens, YouTube, bitcoin). Since then I’ve decided to be more open to the ideas that I think are stupid, that I don’t understand or that seem to be useless. Ideas are fragile.

These days, I personally look forward to the culmination of the Moore’s law, quantum computing, space travel, new energy storage tech, privacy war, withdrawing from hedonism and false self-reliance empowered by technology, switch from excessive consumerism to more sustainable drivers of the economy, liberalization of hardware development, basic income, self-driving cars and many more things. I’m optimistic that mostly good things will survive, and that we’ll all be just fine.