In 2015 the World Economic Forum published a report called Technological Tipping Points and Societal Impacts. 800 ICT experts were asked to identify when they believed certain tech tipping points would be reached – or indeed if they had already happened. The report surfaced Six tech megatrends:
- People and the internet (wearable, implantable, interactions with objects)
- Communication, computers and storage everywhere (cheap, ubiquitous power)
- The internet of things (enabled by smaller, cheaper, smarter sensors)
- AI and Big Data (impacting jobs)
- Sharing economy/distributed trust (new efficiencies, new business models)
- The digitisation of matter (3D printing)
Tech tipping points
The report explores some of these tipping points in detail, exploring positive, negative and unknown impacts and also highlights how shifts in action have already been happening. For example, in the section on Driverless Cars (predicted to reach tipping point by 2026), it is noted that the UK’s Department of Transport has already confirmed plans to change road regulations to accommodate driverless cars.
The experts predict the tipping point for Digital Presence – a scenario in which 80% of people have a digital presence – should be reached by 2023. Digital life is inextricably linked with a person’s physical life. In the future the experts predict that building and managing a digital presence will become as common as when people decide how to present themselves to the world everyday through fashion, words and acts.
It’s worth exploring the report for interesting, balanced case studies on developments in ICT. The report is available here.
If your idea of the future is robots watching TV…
Meanwhile, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory is helping an AI predict human behaviour by learning from the telly.
After watching hours of The Office, The Big Bang Theory and other shows, the AI learnt to identify high-fives, handshakes and other interactions. It then learnt what led up to the acts and then tried to predict what humans would do next
- The AI got it right 43% of the time.
- However, humans were right 71% of the time.
So perhaps the robot and emotional intelligence tipping point is some way off yet!