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Humans and Technology: The Hybrid Generation
personCat Symonds eventOct 24, 2018

Humans and Technology: The Hybrid Generation

How will we communicate with the world by 2030, and how will technology change us as a society?

We’re living through a technological revolution. The world around us is constantly changing and technology is advancing at an incredible speed. In just 20 years we’ve gone from cassettes, word processors and fax machines to mp3s, smartphones and emails. Innovations and advances in 5G networks, edge computing and cloud technology have allowed systems to run faster and more efficiently and helped drive integrated applications including blockchain, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and facial recognition. These advances have made our lives more convenient and we’ve changed the way we communicate with the world and each other because of them.

So if we’ve come this far in 20 years, where will we be by 2030? What effect will technology have on us as individuals and on society as a whole? Will we be able to use our minds to control computers, communicate with animals, share memories and navigate the web, or is it all just fantasy?

Our Bodies Will Be Augmented

The seamless integration of body augmentation technology and wearables over the coming decades will increase human capabilities and enable us to be smarter, stronger, and more capable. We’ll be able to re-grow limbs, improve memory by electrical stimulation and use nanotechnology to enhance human performance. We’ll have contact lenses that can take pictures, universal language translator earbuds to communicate with anyone in the world and exosuits to increase physical strength. We’ll have more insight and control over our genomes, IVF technology for intelligent embryo selection, and access to powerful gene-editing technology to help fight disease.

Technology will allow us to make modifications to our body, senses and physiological processes, and it will provide us with enhanced memory, communication and productivity, as well as multi-dimensional thinking. We’ll be living in a "trans-human" era, where biology is manipulated at will.

How far we will be willing to accept these applications and what ethical issues they generate is yet to be seen.

Source: Adobe Stock

Our Thought Processes Will Be Faster and More Transferable

As more of the brain's mysteries are understood, experts predict that brain implants will play a more important role in humanity's future. Implantable brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) will dramatically alter the way in which we communicate with each other and our digital devices. Our communication is currently limited to the speed in which we are able to talk or type. With BCIs, we’ll have unfiltered communication at the speed of thought. We’ll be able to share full sensory and emotional experiences with our minds instead being limited by our vocabulary.  BCI tech could also help us communicate with people with severe disabilities and, believe it or not, babies and animals too.

It might not all be good news though as we may have to start worrying about criminals hacking our minds and stealing our memories. Yikes!

We Will Be More Empathetic

Advances in virtual and augmented reality could play an important role in helping us understand the perspectives of others:

  • VR could help us see the world from the point of view of the homeless or refugees, making us more likely to take action or donate money.
  • BCIs could help us understand someone's perspective straight from their own brain, improving communication and reducing misunderstandings.
  • Researchers have already developed a virtual reality system so that criminals that have committed a domestic violence crime can place themselves in the victim’s shoes. The study shows that aggressors of this type tend to have a lack of emotional recognition and a virtual experience improves their perception of emotions.
  • It could even help us better understand ourselves by allowing us to step into the shoes of our future selves to help us make important life changes (to see the effect of saving €300 a month or eating 500 fewer calories per day, for example)
We’ll Become Oblivious

Invisible tech and nanotechnology will continue to advance and weave itself into every facet of our daily lives. We’ll be surrounded by VR holograms, gesture interfaces, invisible cloaks, and targeted interactive marketing. Our WiFi routers will control our smart homes and our mobile devices will predict our thoughts and actions.

Immersive interfaces will penetrate our lives and create seamless integrations between the physical and digital world until, eventually, we’ll become blind to the separation. Am I talking to a human or a chat-bot? Is the scene before me physical or virtual reality? Does it matter?

Technology will become ubiquitous and undetectable. It will be everywhere and nowhere. It will become, true to its name, invisible.

Source: Adobe Stock

We’ll Become The Hybrid Generation

Thanks to this ever-increasing dependency on technology and the depths with which we interact with it, society is predicted to change more in the next 20 years than in all of human history. We will move towards more hybrid systems where people and technology work together to build a smarter society. We will become more embedded in the technology surrounding us.

As advances in areas such as robotics, sensor technology, computer vision and voice and facial recognition continue to be made, the lines between human and computer capabilities will become blurred. Technology will continue to learn how to understand and mimic the way we experience and interact with the world and we will become ever reliant on the invisible world of tech that surrounds us.

As we adapt to these changes and become a hybrid generation, a certain degree of disruption and resistance is inevitable. To what degree will we allow intelligent automated systems to control our daily lives? How much autonomy will we insist on maintaining? As technology continues to replace familiar human experiences, will we lose our sense of self - of being a human individual? How will we draw the line and adhere to ethical issues of disclosure, awareness and consent when interacting with the technological world around us? Or will we just relinquish the essence of what makes us human for the sake of innovation and convenience as we evolve into a new hybrid generation? Only time will tell...

What Sort of Technology Can We Expect by 2030?
  • Driverless cars will be commonplace
  • Our technology will emit scents
  • Our fridges will do the grocery shopping
  • House keys will be replaced by facial scans
  • Drones will deliver goods straight to our doorsteps
  • Implanted microchips will help keep us healthy and alive
  • 3D printers will be mainstream
  • Doctor visits will be replaced by automated exams
  • 20% of all new construction will be “printed” buildings
  • Open-air gesture technology will be integrated into most computers and electronics
  • Tactile holograms will enter the mass marketplace
  • Consumer brain-computer interface (BCI) devices will hit the shelves
  • Space colonies, personal privacy, and flying cars will all be hot topics of discussion, but sadly not yet a reality.

How do you think advancing technology is going to change us as a society?

About the author
Cat Symonds
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Cat Symonds is a freelance writer and translator based in sunny Barcelona. Founder of The Content CAT (http://www.thecontentcat.com), she provides copywriting and translation services (Spanish, French and Catalan to English), with particular focus on corporate blogs and websites, articles of interest and ghost writing.

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Outro

Science and technology are the principal drivers of human progress. The creation of technology is hindered by many problems including cost, access to expertise, counter productive attitudes to risk, and lack of iterative multi-disciplinary collaboration. We believe that the failure of technology to properly empower organisations is due to a misunderstanding of the nature of the software creation process, and a mismatch between that process and the organisational structures that often surround it.