ISE 2015: time to look towards the future
Does ten years in the future have anything to do with now? When companies are looking at profit and loss in Q1 2015, why should they be thinking about personnel, equipment and how their businesses should operate in 2025?
This was the dilemma futurist Lars Thomsen confronted in his ISE 2015 keynote in a speech focusing on what will be the 'tipping points' – the innovations that change the paradigm and the way we do business – over the next ten years. While largely focused on the digital space, his arguments have implications for the entire visual communications spectrum, from print to digital signage to manufacturing.
Three of his predictions stand out as ideas that cross sectors. Firstly, he asserts that so-called 'stupid' technology will be replaced by reactive, deep learning technology, to the extent that our computers will become true 'personal digital assistants', able to understand and react to human input and suggest intelligent responses to commonplace emails or to perform what is a repetitive manual task, automatically.
His second point raises the idea that robotics will become not only a viable alternative, but a much safer, more cost-effective solution for menial tasks, including cleaning, driving and factory operations. Thirdly, he suggests that the creation of a singular 'digital nervous system' is inevitable, and that the integrated systems that we are just beginning to seriously discuss will become a singular integrated system, based around millions of inter-connected devices that can share knowledge and work collaboratively to function more efficiently.
None of these will become established without presenting their own challenges, but his basic argument is sound. Every one of these innovations would – if their full potential were realised – take the pressure off humans by alleviating the information overload we currently labour under and, crucially, give us more time start thinking again – a commodity that, as we well know, is worth its weight in gold.