This post is a bit of a departure from my usual stuff but The Web Summit (now known as The Summit) got me thinking…
One of my favourite TV shows when I was a kid was Tomorrow’s World. I loved the way it showed me what the future might hold. I sat glued to the screen just to see what was going to happen right now, next year and in the distant future.
For me The Web Summit was a 2 day long version of Tomorrow’s World. It was packed with start up businesses with amazing ideas outlining the technological future. I didn’t get to see nearly enough of their pitches but everything I did see was in one way or another mind-blowing.
On the main stage I watched Robert Scoble with his Google glass and Shel Israel talk about their new book ‘The Age of Context’. They talked about how technology is going to be enhancing our lives even more, becoming more relevant and more targeted. How it will offer us better experiences as it evolves, and yes how it is going to be even more invasive, how we will need to hand over more of our selves to use it.
As Robert said:
“Tech will know what we want next, it will know us better than our spouse”
On the library stage I went to quite a geeky talk about Douglas Englebart entitled “Have We Realized the Dream of Augmenting Human Intellect Through Computer Interaction”. Englebart predicted a future when technology would mesh with human beings and make communication seamless even when you were geographically far away. You can read more about him here.
On day one I saw Caspar Schlickum talking about how big data can be used to give a better and more personalised experience to users.
All of this is painting an amazing technological future. Yes there are issues about privacy but the world is moving forward at a terrific rate.
As scary as it seems we will probably grow older caring less about our privacy. 10 years ago would you have imagined that you would give up so much personal data or allow big corporations to mine so much data on you as you do now?
The thing is it’s not far away, technology is speeding ahead and we need to keep up with it. As Gary Vaynerchuk said at the summit:
“Everyone in this room, including me, is grossly underestimating the impact of the Internet”
I’d have to add that it’s not just the Internet we underestimate it’s all technology. As businesses we need to stay informed and connected to make sure that we don’t slip into being technological dinosaurs. We have to switch off our skepticism for a while and embrace what is coming our way.
I for one am looking forward to the future that The Summit promised.
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