A tech revolution is underway, and it is changing everything. We can already see how sensors, artificial intelligence, and quantum computers are reshaping industries, but in the process, it all is changing the rules of our society too.
Here are six major ways how technology is changing society and the norms associated with it:
- Limitless Digitization
It started with words and numbers, and today digitization is penetrating almost every area. From video games, movies, music, and what not, we are gradually going for DNA sequencing, artificial intelligence, biochemistry data, and more. Everything that can be digitized is getting so. The potential of this action is tremendous. In fact, given the way how sensors and IoT are becoming a norm, digitization is rather essential.
- Job Cuts
When the industrial revolution took place, countless people lost their jobs as machines replaced them, and factories were left with limited workers. Now, history is repeating itself with another revolution- the tech revolution.
Digitization is greatly affecting the low-salary service industries, and the changes are already visible. While Amazon is rolling out drones to replace warehouse workers and delivery guys, several companies including Google have their driverless car projects underway which will eliminate the need for human drivers. A variety of software and programs are also being released which can take on human jobs. These include insurance brokers, architects, teachers, and more.
Even some of the most valued jobs, ones which were believed to be completely risk-free, are vulnerable now. For instance, in a decade of so, we have will robot surgeons advanced and accurate enough to replace actual human surgeons. In fact, by using exceptional AI, biometric sensor data, and connectivity to super rich database these robots will surpass even the best surgeons and doctors.
- Unification of Man and the Machine
When Google first revealed the “Google Glass” it took the entire world by surprise. The glasses, that were practically indistinguishable from ordinary prescription glasses could take photos from a mini camera, stream live videos, do internet browsing, all this on a minute screen.
This, however was just a beginning. Today we have come quite far in merging machines with human bodies. There is a rise in the development of custom prosthetics that can be operated with the help of software and apps, and computer guided exoskeletons that could be used by the military are also a priority for some of the most powerful governments around the world.
Even the director of engineering at Google- Ray Kurzweil, has made astonishing predictions. According to hum by 2030s we will be able to experience full virtual reality immersion with the help of nano-robots that will reach inside our brains and connect our neocortex with cloud, just the way we expand the power of our smart-phones with cloud today.
- Problem of Abundance
Contrary to common belief, abundance rather than scarcity of all sort of things will be what that will become a major problem to deal with in the near future. Our brains are not prepared for the rush of information we subject them to every day.
We get data from a variety of media streams- social media, emails, instant messages, and what not. Since our minds have not evolved enough yet to process this kind of information it gives rise to anxiety and restlessness. The problem is quite prevalent in the office-culture today.
Our average attention span is also getting smaller and smaller. Gone are the days when people loved reading books, and spend hours just chatting with friends and families. Today it is all about hyperactivity. We need results fast, almost instantly. Patience is becoming a rare virtue, and a lot of this has to do with the rise of technology.
- Cost of Living will Plummet
If technology is destroying jobs, it is also lowering the cost of living as well. It is a strong possibility that the cost of most services could become as low as nil in the next 2 decades. Internet and software have already made a variety of things super cheap today, free even. Some examples include- education (with many governmental and non-governmental organizations offering free online courses, and education materials), communication (free calls using VOIP, instant messages, video calling, etc.), energy (increasing promotion of solar energy, rechargeable batteries, etc.).
Within next two decades we will have mastered quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and alternative sources of energy. Robotic surgeons and 3d medicine printers will make healthcare extremely cheap. Driverless cars will make transportation safer and cost an average citizen no money.
- Personal Assistants
It won’t be long before we have created AI that matches the human intellect, especially since we are on the verge of creating powerful quantum computers. Once the super AI is achieved, society will observe a radical transformation.
Every individual will have their own PA, which will learn from their behaviour and grow accordingly. These digital assistants will be so powerful that they will be able to assist us in our lives better than our actual friends and family members. They will remind us about our dentist appointments, upcoming birthdays of loved ones, and even help with relationship and career decisions. It will make us more and more dependent on them, blurring the line between what’s human and what not.
Technology is changing our world, and our society. At this point, it is so powerful, and the momentum is so strong that mere observation can be enthralling. However, for concrete transformations we will have to wait a little longer.