In the late '80s, a group of TV presenters joked about what the internet was. ‘What is the Internet?' They joked. ‘Could you tell us?’
The late twentieth century was a gold rush for the technological space. Innovations and patent filings rolled in a continuous haze towards the end of the last decade as companies fought to be the standard: video format wars, computer manufacture licenses, market share dog races and a host of closely contested spaces. But none of them has had more influence than the internet.
The internet has not only connected the world; it has created billions of jobs across countries and has become a stable source of livelihood. Here, we review five innovations that could have as much life-changing effect as the internet.
The blockchain sits on top of this list, because, while it is the not the most probable, it is the only one could in a stretch replace the internet itself. In, popular sitcom Silicon Valley, Richard’s cutting edge algorithm is built on a ‘decentralized internet,’ and becomes the new wave.
The blockchain disobeys all form of conventional laws and rules we are familiar with, and cuts away the role of a middle man. The blockchain is also immune to corruption, and proves the most difficult form of record in existence to be falsified. The possibilities are limitless, from smart contracts to being fraud-proof. A decentralized world would however, not be welcome news to many existing companies such as Google and Facebook—and even banks.
Systems already using the blockchain include cryptocurrencies, smart law contracts, pharmaceutical patenting, banks, and even health sectors
2. Artificial Intelligence
This is happening much sooner and is already happening (take a minute to pen down how you see the world in 2040!). Artificial Intelligence covers familiar wide areas such as machine learning, and deep learning. With great leaps in AI comes automation, ease-of-use, climate and disaster predictions, autonomous vehicles, and processes independent of human inputs.
Artificial Intelligence is sure to be the foundation of many future developments. And by ‘future,' the next four of five years would rather be a weird one even to you. AI is making exponential leaps in such a short time, and autonomous vehicles might be a common sight in the next two years.
Well, a few might cringe at the thought of cryptocurrencies becoming the next big thing. That it is cringe-worthy is not the deliberation, but the very likely fact that cryptocurrencies might just be the next revolution that would take the world by surprise.
Cryptocurrencies, also called digital currencies, are a form of ‘digital money’ which is very much independent of the government, or banks, or fiat/paper money such as dollars and euros. The principle underlying cryptocurrencies is the aforementioned blockchain.
What makes cryptocurrencies a potential world revolution? Well, cryptocurrencies are not controlled by governments or institutions, and adequately meet the flaws of the fiat currency. Countries tend to invest in gold reserves for hard times or wars. But even gold might not survive the war or an economic meltdown. What would survive? You guessed it—Digital currencies.
4. Smart Homes
We are quite pleased now when we switch on our TV with our Samsung smartphones, or when we regulate the cooling system on our sofas and right between bouts of ice cream. The possibilities are, however, obviously well beyond that. Within the next few years, connected homes would be a reality. And you would be able to control everything in your house with a push of a button (or a Midas touch!): from light bulbs to the doors in your driveway.
How about fridges that automatically order milk when you are low in supply? Anything to make your life easy. Humans love ease, and it wouldn’t take a genius to know smart homes are just a matter of time.
5. Augmented Reality
Its closely affiliated term, Virtual Reality, has received undue hype over a long time, but it is probably AR that should be the rave. The latter is presently having more use cases, and is gradually defining the next stage of how the world might look, and possibly how we interact with each other.
Apart from the familiar use of augmented reality in the ad space and the entertainment industry, the easiest one to give us the potential of AR is Google’s new Glass which helps autistic kids to be better comfortable in social situations. AR is still in its nascent stage, but its potential is obviously limitless.
Other exciting developments such as quantum computing and bio-chips could have easily made this list too. It just shows how incredibly fast the world is developing.