We stand in front of a revolution. The third wave of technological development is here soon. The first wave was the computer, the second was the mainstream internet and the imminent third wave is going to revolutionize society more than we’ve seen before. So says Preben Mejer, one of Denmark’s leading experts on the future of technology. We asked him to name 5 technologies that are going to change the world in the near future.
AI is going to change everything. It’s going to change things more drastically than anything we’ve ever experienced – even more than what the internet has done. AI is already integrated into many businesses. For example, if you apply for a loan it could very well be an AI who decides if you get it or not. Recent research shows that 73% of the routines in the American health sector can be automatized. The big challenge with that is not everyone who loses their job to automatization will be able to get a new one. The upside is we can afford it as AI is prospected to increase the GDP by 1,3 % every year – which is significantly more than the internet did when it became mainstream.
Speech controlled digital assistants
Digital assistants are already present in most smartphones. Amazon, Apple and Google all sell digital assistant speakers. They can already make bookings on my behalf and anticipate my needs. Increasingly, it will act on my behalf and act as though it is me. We need to discuss which type of decisions a digital assistant can make on my behalf and what happens to it when I die.
Internet of Things
Our internet is going to change from a network of humans to a network of things. Objects get sensors, and soon they can hear, see, feel and register things. Your fridge can tell you if you need milk and your coffee mug can alert you that the coffee is turning cold. As it is today, I can turn the heat in my house on and off from a distance through my smartphone. However, more complicated use of IoT is starting to appear, such as different IoT devices communicating through the cloud, which makes them intelligent and in the end able to act autonomously. So, if a water pipe breaks, it’s not going to just alert me, it’s also going to call for a plumber right away.
A digital twin is a digital replica of physical entity – in which data about the entity is stored. By that, it bridges the physical and digital world. The digital twin allows companies and organizations to analyze data about a physical entity digitally.
In the future, everything and everyone is going to be created with a digital twin. In the beginning, we start with simple data such as a service log for an elevator being journalized. However, in the future, more and more data is going to be attached to the digital twin. A new ecosystem of data is going to emerge. We are going to see data brokers and people selling their data. If you have a rare disease, your digital twin could be worth a lot of money, and why would you give that away for free?
Ambient user interfaces
The way we interact with technology is going to change. We are going to see a shift from physical devices to computers being ambient in the entire room and users interacting with it by speech. In the other end of the scale, we have immersive realities such as VR and AR. The next thing is going to be extended realities like holograms, which will enable us to visualize data in a completely new way – making it 3D instead of 2D.
Preben Mejer is one of Denmark’s leading experts in future technology. He has been a well-known figure in the Danish tech world since its beginnings in the early 80’s. With his various companies and ventures, Preben Mejer has always been at the forefront of technology. He is now the founder and chair of Radr.dk, whilst also being on the board in a number of organizations. He has generously contributed with some of the ideas and thoughts behind this year’s theme at IWDK.