Technology in the Next 100 Years the Futurologist’s View

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2/6/13

Technology in the next 100 years: the futurologist’s view

ComputerWeekly.com
Technology in the next 100 years: the futurologist’s view
Futurologist Ian Pearson discussed technologies of the future to more than 200 IT, security and finance delegates on the Aurora cruise ship. He spoke of IT security threats from smart bacteria, gadgets which are installed in the skin, the soaring of tax rates precipitating the emigration of graduates to low-tax economies, oil at 30 dollars a barrel, and the reversal of globalization. Gadgets of the future Electronics in the human body will record holiday and other experiences - bungee-jumping for example - and replay them into your nervous system, or someone else's. They will be able to feel the same sensations you did on holiday. This would surpass showing holiday snaps to friends and family. Games headsets are already recording some simple thought processes. Pearson also referred to "active skin". Tattoos would be applied to the skin to provide interactive, touchsensitive video displays. One drawback: hackers may try to access your nervous system, though this threat will not deter all. Pearson referred to the "digital mirror" in which you see yourself as you want to, not as you are. And you could use "active makeup" to change your look during the day. Smart bacteria - the biggest IT security threat to mankind? Pearson said that smart bacteria could be the biggest security threat known to mankind by 2025. They may land on keyboards and work out passwords. "Even before [your password] signals reach the PC and get decoded by the software, they [smart bacteria] are already taking money out of your bank account." He told anyone in the audience who is working in IT security and is less than say 40-years-old: "change your career". He referred to bacteria linked via infrared that form sophisticated self-organising circuits. Robots will replace IT workers - the human-machine convergence Pearson referred to an optical brain in a conscious computer - a billion times more powerful than the brain with emotions and senses. The conscious computer could be fully sentient - benign or malicious. He showed on a slide the stages of man from homo erectus and homo sapiens to what he called homo machinus and bacteria sapiens within 150 years. By 2018 there may be a "robot as smart as you are". Robots may have a higher IQ than humans - and take over many intellectual and IT jobs today. "Today many people work as smart machines. Machines will become much smarter." Research is being funded into making computers thousands and even a million times smarter than humans, he said. Why humans will still be needed - the female-dominated economy "But humans will add value because of the need for compassion. A robot will never be able to sit beside a patient, give them a cuddle and make them feel better. A robot can clear up a bedpan and give an injection, www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Technology-in-the-next-100-years-the-futurologists-view?vgnextfmt=print 1/4

2/6/13

Technology in the next 100 years: the futurologist’s view

prescribe drugs. Compassion needs humans. A PC will be able to do what a human does today in an intellectual capacity. But a human will add value because of emotion and compassion." He said that workplaces will be designed for meeting people. Pearson spoke of the male-dominated economy coming to an end. "Everything I do I could do with a piece of software if I spent enough time writing it. What my wife does, dealing with other people, I cannot do that at all. So she will have a job in 2020 whereas my job will be automated. We are heading very rapidly towards a female-dominated economy. " Globalization in reverse Globalization is increasing. But it will soon start reversing. "You cannot shake hands with someone or give them a cuddle across a network." Globalization, he said, will start to reverse thanks to the refocus on the care economy over a 100 year period. Oil at 30 dollars a...
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