February 06, 2015

The Future of...Things That We Carry


The Future of...Things We Carry
It's hard to imagine this now, but within the next 30 years, we won't carry any devices. Smartphones will give way to much smarter implantables. Voice interfaces will supplant typing. For those who can't make the transition so easily, virtual keyboards will still offer a sense of tapping on keys.

The things we carry will become the things we wear: watches, glasses, headsets. This makes sense, if you think about it. The underlying infrastructure must first be built and tested on early adopters before it can evolve into a more sophisticated product. In the future we won't look quite like the cyborg caricatures we've imagined. Instead...

The things we wear will give way to things that are embedded, so that information is delivered to us invisibly, via a smart lens, an earpiece or even a subcutaneous chip. If you have a very young child right now, you'll blink twice to take a photo on her wedding day.

That may seem like a far way off, but the seeds of this future are being planted right now. Last week, Google announced a massive integration we've been anticipating for a few years: at last, 40 providers (including Airbnb and Ford's Sync) are part of the newly-opened Google Now platform. This means that soon, Google will check your calendar, the weather and traffic, see it's snowing and offer to remote start your car 20 minutes earlier than you'd planned on leaving for work. By the end of this year, one automagical mobile interface will effectively replace an assistant, a car key, a pair of soggy heels and the inevitable Tylenol.

Platforms, and the people who use them, will become more important than devices we're so fixated on today. Regardless of your industry––whether it's retail, news media or banking––the tools already exist to capture your customer's attention when she's likely to be most receptive. You must recalibrate your strategy: create your content or digital experience for her specifically, given her past and predicted behavior and her preferences at a particular moment in time. Be responsive to her needs, not just the needs of her device.


Things You Won't Be Carrying Much Longer
Oh, what a tangled web of cords and plugs you weave. (And always in the middle of a busy walkway at the airport.) You should get your hands on one of the new, magical batteries that last for days and days. Or instead, leave your computers and tablets and phones at home! Wear Microsoft's just-announced HoloLens, and you'll see all of your screens appear right before your eyes. Or you can join a remote NASA JPL team on, say, Mars, to conduct science experiments. All of our worlds will be one enormous touchscreen. As long as you're not standing in an elevator. Then you'll probably get arrested. Journalists, you don't need to carry those fancy, elongated notebooks anymore. Because robots will do your reporting for you. (Remember me talking about that last spring?) For those of you with George Costanza wallets, rejoice! This Swedish company has effectively rid Sweden of cash, and you of permanent back pain.

 


Musical Interlude 
💽  "The Things They Carried" by Eux Autres.

 

Nerdness
Watching erotic videos could help improve performance for male weightlifters. If you want to carry more weight, schedule a little "me time" first. According to science:

Previous studies have shown that visual images can produce rapid changes in testosterone concentrations. We explored the acute effects of video clips on salivary testosterone and cortisol concentrations and subsequent voluntary squat performance in highly trained male athletes (n=12). Saliva samples were collected on 6 occasions immediately before and 15 min after watching a brief video clip (approximately 4 min in duration) on a computer screen. The watching of a sad, erotic, aggressive, training motivational, humorous or a neutral control clip was randomised. Subjects then performed a squat workout aimed at producing a 3 repetition maximum (3RM) lift. A significant (P<0.003) improvement in 3RM performance was noted after the erotic, aggressive and training clips (versus control).

In conclusion, baum-chicka-baum-baum.

 

IRL
I have many announcements! (1) I've joined the masthead at Inc. Magazine. I'm their new tech columnist, and I'll be offering readers advice on the future of business. Look for me in March! (2) At Harvard, I've been researching and building a new blueprint for the future of journalism education. An excerpt will be published in next month's Nieman Reports, with a book following shortly after. If you'd like to get on the list to receive an early copy, let me know. (3) Knowledgewebb Training has launched with Kara Snesko at the helm! If you or your company are in need of hands-on training, give us a shout. You can view/ download our 2015 course catalog here. (4) The new Webbmedia Group website launches Monday. If you want to receive our monthly trends report, you can sign up here. (5) I'm going to be on stage debating the future of artificial intelligence and robots at the Milken Global Conference. Guess who my debate partner is?

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