Right now, disk storage doubles each year in capacity. CPU power doubles each 18 months. Fibre speeds and capacity double each 9 months.
This is exponential growth in a wide scale. This is the type of technological change that economists call disruptive change. There is not a visionary on Earth who can forecast what this will truly mean in 20 years. Even 10 years is astounding. Just take some of the figures that this leads to by 2020:
- Hard disk drives (likely memory based and at phenomenal speeds and with low power sleep states that provide an instant start capacity). Two (2) Petabytes of storage in a personal device.
- CPU speeds of 100 times those we have now.
- Wireless network bandwidth of 100 Gigabytes/Sec or mere.
This means that we can expect low power Internet tablets for less than a $1. These will be able to make free VoIP calls. Anywhere to Anywhere.
This is a world where in just 9 years, nearly everything will go online. I have already noted how FMCGs will have IP addresses and that even light globes are going online. The future is one where a simple embedded Linux controller will cost less than a cent for a 100 devices.
The digital divide is changing. Right now, only the rich nations have the necessary levels of access to the Internet and ecommerce. The future is one where even the poorest of countries will have complete access.
Think what this means for forensics. For privacy (or the end of).
Start to think what this means for politics. In 10 years we will have low cost tablets. These will be disposable thin and easy to hide with access to the Internet. This is anywhere anytime. This will even mean access in places such as North Korea where Internet access is extremely restricted.
You may say that this will still pose an issue.
After all, the levels of literacy in many developing nations is low. Here is the rub, applications that talk to you are already available. SIRI is not new. I have been using Dragon Voice type for a decade now, but it is a CPU hog. Well, that is changing and these systems are improving. Further, I have “RealVoices” that offer a truly human sounding voice from the PC.
In 2020, we will have a future when any person anyplace on Earth can talk to any other person. This is instant translation of over 100 languages to any other. Of seeing text displayed on screen in any language from any language.
These are not idle claims, they are existing technologies that right now take large systems, but which in time (only a few years) will run on a device smaller than a watch.
Even in a nation as isolated and as poor as North Korea will see radical changes. Ask yourself what these device costs lead to. Think of the pamphlet drops we have seen in the past. In the future, it will cost less than it does to drop a piece of paper to drop a set of digital devices on a village.
Tablets that seem as if magic to the people who have been isolated from technology so long. Devices that will open the world, politics and learning to the poorest peoples on Earth.
Just imagine for a moment
Let your mind wander. For even with all I am saying, there is nothing I can state that will cover the changes, the fundamental differences that will develop from this by 2030. We are entering a new Era, a new world. There is no way to change this fact now, we have already past the point of no return.
Imagine for a moment in the coming years that you are that poor villager or peasant in North Korea. You have been isolated for your entire life. You have seen and heard little with only the doubts and false knowledge provided by your “leader”.
Now, suddenly a device is dropped in a crate from an airborne mission. Far too many at once for even a totalitarian regime to stop.
This device talks to you in your own language. It answer questions. It provides knowledge freely. It shows pictures and videos. Anything you ask. You can see news, you can listen to speeches from the UN or movie stars in your own language (instantly translated).
You can access a wealth of classic books and if you cannot read these will be translated and read to you in your native dialect.
Think for a moment what this will be in regards to education. The existing school and University systems will be exposed to increasing competition. Not local competition any longer, but International. The best teachers will be able to teach from anywhere. I already have students in multiple countries.
In time, we will choose not from a small list of subjects offered in a local high school, but from a global collection and wealth of knowledge that is beyond my ability to contemplate fully. It is beyond any individuals power to truly grasp.
Add holographic technology.
Right now, personal projection technology is expensive, power hungry and available only to the rich. There are already companies creating virtual board rooms where the members are projected into a room they do not inhabit at the time. This is a 2.5 dimensional effect right now. A decade will change this. It will also make it simple and inexpensive. In the coming decade, projection devices will be a simple feature in phones. There are some already in development with this technology.
This is just a taste. I will write more on this topic. We have to start thinking and planning now for the future is coming. What we make of it will depend on how we act now. A decade is a very short time.