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The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It - Abraham Lincoln

by  David Dwyer on  29/11/2013    1940 Reads

The continued pushing of technology boundaries by Apple and Google

The pace of technological change is astounding.
 
So many of the gadgets we now use every day were strictly Hollywood fantasy 15 years ago. But today, 3D tellies and touch-screen tablets are more John Lewis than James Bond.
 
What’s driving this relentless innovation? Abraham Lincoln once said that “the best way to predict your own future is to create it,” and I think that’s what’s happening now. We’re actively, consciously creating our own future, at least in terms of technology, rather than waiting for it to evolve.
 
More so than in other industries, there’s a stark choice to be made in technology: stand still, follow others or take the lead. Several tech firms – Apple and Google among them – have made that third choice. They’re determined to set the agenda for the future by creating it themselves.
 
Ground-breaking new products like Google Glass or Apple’s iTunes have come about from the desire of the companies behind them, as well as the extraordinarily gifted individuals in them, to create products or experiences that are entirely new. They’re the result of innovators taking existing technology and pushing it to the very limits to redefine what’s possible on a home computer or mobile device. When they do this, it changes how we can live our lives, and thus our futures. 
 
Take Google Now. Billed as a sort of ‘personal assistant’, Google Now employs card technology to present users with bite-size bits of relevant information on their mobile device. The app responds to requests for information when you ask for it, as well as offers it before you do. If you’ve got a flight booked into your calendar, it’ll remind you of your check-in time; if it knows your usual route to work, it’ll warn you of traffic jams or delayed trains. The geeks at Google have taken elements of existing technology – database searches, card-based design, the unstoppable rise of mobile devices – and turned them into an entirely new product. And as we all know in technology, if it’s not new, it’s old.
 
Another hallmark of this new future that the technology giants have created for us is the convergence of devices. We can access websites and apps on all our smartphones and tablets, pretty much anywhere we take them. We can even access them on the way to wherever we’re going, with the spread of wi-fi on coaches and trains and Bluetooth connectivity in cars.  
 
The future we’re living in today is fully connected and seemingly limitless. It’ll probably also look hopelessly outmoded in just a few years, as the tech giants stride out even further into the outskirts of what’s possible. 
 
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society.
 
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