Technology’s greatest benefit is the empowerment of the individual. With smartphones and task-specific software we can instantly make choices about almost anything. In short, we control our lives in ways unimaginable not long ago.
Facebook, Twitter and Augmented Reality (AR) – the global obsession with real-time interactions – are at their infancy stage and their future potential is huge. Immediacy is compelling and addictive as it gives us a sense of living in the now. Why wait if you can shop, bank, chat and check headline news on the go?
Mobile money and financial services will become widespread in the next decade. People will be able to send money via their mobile phone – buying goods and services, paying taxes and bills and sending remittances across borders. This will make financial governance ever so slightly more accountable in developing countries, and begin to make a positive economic impact at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Africa and India have already adapted this system successfully, with many people getting their wage transferred to their mobile phone.
With location aware devices and applications, the possibilities for businesses and individuals are limitless. AR involves using mapping and tracking technology and then overlaying data on your environment. So imagine walking around a city and seeing it come to life with reviews of the restaurants you pass, entries about the historic sites you see on Wikipedia and an invitation to the ‘live event’ now on as you pass the art gallery? Soon our whereabouts will be appended to every Tweet, photo or video we post. But is this in fact empowerment or just big brother watching?
Content creation is already outpacing our capacity to consume it, making data management an enormous challenge. Products like Google News Source, Facebook Connect and now Google Buzz have tried to take this idea to the next level, however we are still waiting for a master engineered and truly personalised system of lifestyle content management. Once this arrives it will mean that web curating becomes not just real-time but full-time. And where real value is created, it follows that real money can be made.
1. Traffic London
2. Boy photographing at Centre Pompidou Paris
Anne Lise is a futurist and keynote speaker working across the world