It goes without saying that the last four decades have seen incredible leaps forward in technology, with a large chunk of that innovation founded on the creation of smaller computers that wield magnificent power. But while today’s computing marvels have accomplished a lot, it’s nothing compared to what we may see in the future. Many forward thinking software engineers still see the available applications that our handheld PDAs and smart phones use as immature and somewhat crude. Yes, that snazzy new phone has tons of slick apps, but programmers still see a vast future ahead that we’ve not yet reached.
So what could the future of human communication look like? It may well be rooted in the increasingly ubiquitous connectivity that connects most of us now in our daily lives. With more devices becoming available in a global network, more access to data, and each other, means more ways that devices can communicate, even if we are not directly involved. However, the real advances will be in the ways that we communicate with our devices. Today, we must type, click or browse to accomplish our tasks, but the goal for future devices is that they might understand us much as other humans do. Consider the possibility of taking a device out of your pocket, and simply asking something relatively obscure, such as, ‘What does a shofar look like?’, and a sudden hologram appears showing an ancient horn made from a ram.
The concept of responding to humans in an intelligent manner means that the newer efficiencies in computing power and connectivity can be leveraged into new digital assistants who actually understand us and use their access to data to help us. This will mean that we no longer will have to understand ‘search engine speak’ in order to find the results we need, we will simply be interacting with our devices as though they are truly alive and responsive.
What’s more, the future of these devices means they will be able to “think” ahead or “remember” things that are important to you, even if you can’t remember. We already carry our smart phones with us at all times, such as in meetings. Think of the incredible power, when three weeks after an important meeting, you could simply ask your phone, “what was it Tom said about our January sales in the meeting?”, and the phone plays Tom’s voice back instantly. It may be some years away, but each new phone iteration and software advance brings this closer to reality. As devices become faster and more intuitive, these newer concepts will eventually be the norm.