“Over the next five years," says technology fortuneteller Daniel Burrus, "we are going to see a transformation in how we sell, market, communicate, elaborate, innovate, train and educate people.”
Burrus has been following and (accurately) predicting technology trends for more than 30 years. He says when he was "talking about social media in the early '90s, before the first Web browser.” When he talks, the technology industry listens.
So what kind of "transformation" is Burrus talking about now?
He starts by explaining a change in marketing. When the Monty Python franchise was lagging on DVD sales a few years back, they put clips of their videos on YouTube and within months, sales were “up 29,000 percent,” Burrus says.
Another example of marketing on steroids: When a music artist was paid $10,000 to tweet about a product, sales went up $100 million in just 24 hours.
Burrus’ marketing examples are just a taste of the changes happening thanks to technology. The three largest digital accelerators, he says, are processing power (“I subscribe to Moore’s law that says processing power will double every 18 months as prices drop”), bandwidth (“the processing power we have on our phones would have been considered a supercomputer in 2000”) and storage (“my first computer didn’t have a hard drive; today I bought a 64 gigabyte thumb drive for $10”).
Here are two concrete technological advances he sees coming down the pike.
3D Web Browser
Burrus sees interspatial 3D Web browsers in the near future. Like modern videogames, these browsers will allow users to, as he explains, “go inside the world on the Internet.”
You won’t need special glasses for this experience. 3D will be embedded in every browser. So, for example, if you wanted to visit a car manufacturer’s website, the new browser would “allow you to walk into the showroom, look left, right and walk over to a sports car,” he says. “You could touch and open the hood and check out the interior.”
But wouldn’t this mean all computers would have to change?
“Absolutely,” Burrus says. “It would transform everything, totally change the game.”
It’s only been two years since Apple introduced Siri, the digital assistant on the iPhone 4S, but, as Burrus predicts, all of us will have what he calls “electronic agents” very soon.
“We will be able to launch a smartphone that has no screen," he says. "It will look like a piece of jewelry and sit on the lapel of your coat.”
Why would you have a smartphone without a screen?
“Because everything will be voice activated,” he says. “You will ask your e-agent or e-assistant to find you the cheapest nearby gas station or read you an email or respond to an email that you verbally dictate. I see this coming in the next few years.”
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