March 25, 2016–Los Angeles, California–What is the future of communications? My great grandparents lived through the birth of the telephone and only a few generations later, I witnessed the birth of the cell phone, computer and internet. Technology is advancing at rapid pace speed. Common acceptance of robots, drones, self driven cars, holograph technology, Oculus VR, virtual reality, and big data running the show will likely happen in the next decade or two.
The interactive world of communication today is in every aspect of our lives including consumer behavior, media, social interaction, marketing, advertising and public relations. What will the digital world do with all of the content that this both creates and requires? The future of communication to me involves a world beyond interactivity. It involves a content intensive community steered by the power of big data “knowingness.”
You will no longer have to “log on” to post something about your life because you will always be on. I imagine the future of communications will include cameras 24/7 photographing us, sold to consumers as the ultimate selfie camera to install in your home, car, (or head for the matter, eg Google Glass). In reality, these cameras will function as content creation vis-à-vis surveillance and data mining gold. Just like the days of the California Gold Rush, the gold of the future will be those that mine most successfully with apps and products that generate knowledge and big data.
At what these cameras deem to be special moments in our lives they will snap photos, create content, and offer us the option of posting the photo it has taken of us on our behalf or not. These in home surveillance cameras will impress us with their knowingness that we would like to capture and remember that moment. They will offer us the security of knowing the inside of our homes are always being watched and make us forget that the inside of our homes are always being watched.
It’s easy to envision our smart phones or the camera in our home detecting smiles or picking up the sounds of laughter and automatically creating content in the form of a short video clip or a photo. These apps and communication devices will impress us by helping us document our lives, retain memories and knowing us well enough to know what we want and like to share. It could show us the photo on our closest screen device and say, “This is a great photo of you laughing with your friends. Shall I post it to your social media pages?”
In the same vein, our shopping habits we will be big data mined for content which will translate into knowing what we need. In the future we will be automatically sent and billed for basic products that our computers can order on our behalf without us having to log on to do it. Our computers will find us the best prices, the best delivery options and present our credit cards on our behalf as payment.
The future of communications holds the possibility of a world where we are virtually in each other’s lives with the touch of a button on our wrists. Where “knowingness” is no longer a worried mother texting her child, “Where are you?” but a push of button on a computer that checks every virtual camera available and reports back to the mother in hologram form.
The future of communications is making the consumer feel at ease with the overbearing intrusion on privacy by coating the security risks thick with convenience. Believing you are a buying a product that makes your life easier because it knows you will be a theme of the future. The refrigerator that reorders your groceries when you run out of milk and cheese will be the spoonful of sugar that helps the frightening medicine, that even your appliances are watching you, go down.
The breakdown of privacy will occur in ways that we can’t yet imagine, but it will be a trade for knowledge. Perhaps a computer automatically notifies every family member immediately if one of the others is sick, has injured him/herself and or is at the doctor.
For more on the future of communications:
1. Big Data by Bernard Marr argues big data is here and will dominate the future of communications. Bernard Marr theorizes that our refrigerator will reorder groceries for us.
2. “What is the future of communication?” by Johnathan Strickland argues that augmented reality could take the place of a smartphone. It suggest that 50 years from now we may see brains project thoughts that communicate with computers with an electronic version of telepathy. http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/future-of-communication.htm
3. This video shows the MIT invention that proves we can move physical things virtually.
4. Could you hug a friend virtually and they will feel it? “Forget Skype and Facetime, THIS Is The Future Of Communication!” via For Fun 24 http://forfun24.com/forget-skype-facetime-future-communication/
5. Cars communicate with each other and know when to stop eliminating the need for traffic lights. “The sensors would fit on most cars that are made these days, according to the study by MIT. Many cars will be connected to the Internet in the future, and these cars would have the capability to communicate with one another. Eventually, traffic lights would become obsolete because they would no longer be of use to cars which could communicate with one another.” http://www.inquisitr.com/2907306/mit-unveils-traffic-lights/
5. Robot in Silicon Valley brings you what you need at hotel
6. Can you drink a a beer virtually through Oculus VR? “How the Budweiser Garage Brewed Up an Immersive Experience for SXSW Attendees [Video] Anheuser-Busch pours itself into Austin” By Alfred Maskeroni http://www.adweek.com/video/advertising-branding/how-budweiser-garage-brewed-immersive-experience-sxsw-attendees-video-170177
This article is for education purposes only for Syracuse University Newhouse Communications Journalism.