Predicting the Future

Over at All things D, Venture Capitalist David Cowan talks about predictions he was asked to make about the future. His predictions involve more immersive wearable computing than Google Glass and a loss of the taboo of cyber attacks. He envisions our vision essentially merging with Hollywood’s depiction of robotic or cyborg vision – think of the Terminator. If you’re looking for a specific tree, it could highlight it for you and draw your attention to it. Cowan also thinks it’ll allow us to review past moments it has recorded or allow us to see someone else’s point of view. Interestingly, I think this is a technology that has the opportunity to either bring humanity closer (helping us remember names, auto-translating foreign languages) or be the final nail in the coffin for human interaction. Call me curmudgeonly if you want, but I start to lose my patience when people keep being interrupted by their phones when I’m trying to socialize with them. By definition, there should be very little more urgently needing your attention than me if I’m actually there and the other person is not. A few check are fine. And if someone is relying on your texts to meet up with you or get directions, just let me know and it’ll go a long way towards ameliorating the situation. But once people don’t even have to look away to be involved in something else, it could lead to a roomful of people who are all alone – or interacting with those outside the room more than those inside the room.

As for cyber attacks, he may be right, but his tone appears to be a positive one mostly because it would allow new businesses to be opened to help with this. I’m not surprised – he’s a venture capitalist. But cyber is a lot harder to stop because it’s harder to attribute to the attacker. That emboldens people to make attacks they wouldn’t do kinetically. And it also empowers random dudes as long as they’re intelligent enough. So countries or entities that couldn’t attack us normally can potentially cripple us in cyber. And the results, because of this recklessness could be even worse. You could suddenly find your bank accounts wiped out or the power could be cut off to hospitals. A determined country could essentially destroy out lives – I don’t quite share Mr Cowan’s enthusiams for cyber attacks.

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