Late in 2014 I had the opportunity to visit NYC for an event co-hosted by IBM and Pure Matter. The purpose was to put a diverse group of future-forward thinkers together to discuss the future of work…This is my story, and my take away. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
We live our lives online. Ninety-one percent of us wake up and reach for our devices because we are, well, more or less addicted to technology. But really that isn’t it at all, the real addiction is connection; we as a society are addicted to being connected. We have this deep-seated fear that we are missing out on something and that even a few minutes away from our technology gadget and there may be some catastrophic event that slipped through the cracks.
Most likely that “Big Event” was a picture of your friend’s lunch or a new blog post, but the relative importance of the event is always individual and it doesn’t really matter if it is or isn’t important, it matters how we feel.
What I find perhaps most profound is that I don’t think we are at all addicted to technology, but I do think we are going to live in a world where technology only continues to be at the root of everything we do. In fact, it is going to become so important, so embedded in our lives that the next evolution is going to be one where technology is invisible; much like our hair and our skin, tech will become a ubiquitous component of our existence.
In the future I picture a world like this …
Whether for personal use or for work, people will use technology for everything, but the actual physical device will lose importance. This isn’t to say that the big tech product makers won’t continue to make gadgets, but this is a warning shot that the future will be about accessibility and connectivity. Does the device I’m using allow me to connect to what I need to connect to? If so that may be enough.
Here is the other thing that isn’t so much a prediction, but just a fact that most people are still struggling to wrap their brains around: In the future, singularity won’t be our devices and us. It will just be us. We will be “Wired for Sound” as a stage producer may say, but really what this means is we will literally become the technology. Our bodies will serve as the carrier of the human life form and embedded artificial intelligence.
We will be living, breathing machines. Like something out of a Bourne movie or the Matrix, only I hope with more dignity and grace. Regardless, the tech evolution isn’t about more technology, it is about more connectedness, more data and more availability, all while making technology less visible.
Society will be endlessly connected and some will ponder whether the world will be better for it, but this is the direction we are heading and I am confident when I say the only direction we will head is forward. Apparently, technology hasn’t been built with a reverse gear; I have a feeling this has a lot to do with those who innovate have a limited desire to revisit the past unless it helps them move forward faster.
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Also follow #NewWayToWork on Twitter to hear more from Daniel Newman (@danielnewmanUV) and other social business influencers as we tackle the future of work together.
This article first appeared on IBM Social Business and can be found here.