Emerging issues of change…
24/7/365: no home-office divide – but flexibility!;
By 2010, we talk to our computers, they talk back, and recognize us via biometrics;
By 2015, hyper-reality widespread;
By 2020, micromachines create “smart” materials;
By 2020, people are “globens” – world citizens;
By 2020, routine, computer language translation;
”24/7/365” stands for ”24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year” – which is basically the concept of round-the-clock service and product provision towards which the economy of the U.S.A. is moving. The downside for the worker is increased pressure to meet customer needs; the upside is increased flexibility in scheduling their own workdays and vacations.
”Biometrics” refers to technologies that scan for biological measurements and identifiers, like retinal prints, voiceprints, handprints, DNA, etc. The computer industry as a whole feels the keyboard is on the verge of obsolescence, except perhaps for specialized functions like numerical input, where fingers are still faster than voice.
”Hyper-reality,” or ”augmented reality,” while similar to virtual reality in using computer projections, does not replace real visuals, but creates a visual information overlay for reality: imagine glasses that provide a read-out offering names, degree programs, and hometowns that would float underneath each of your faces and help us all personalize our discussions more quickly.
Micromachines: go to Sandia National Laboratories’ wonderful Intelligent Micromachine Initiative and view movies of machines the width of human hairs. http://www.mdl.sandia.gov/micromachine/movies.html
These will provide extremely detailed and ubiquitous sensing and monitoring capabilities for both machine and organic systems, as well as the potential for extremely efficient, waste-free assembly and production of goods.