Thursday, 31 August 2017

Most Disruptive Technology in Human History

I have always fancied myself as a Futurist.

How hard can it be?

You day dream your way to the world of the unknown, devise all sorts of predictions and then articulate it all in an entertaining presentation. You then sit back and wait for the big speaking appearances to flood in and bank the fees, all the time bearing no accountability for your predictions.

I have attended several conferences where a Futurist has presented and in every case, I have enthusiastically looked forward to hearing what they have to say. However, in all cases, I have not really understood much of what they were saying or the relevance to the conference agenda.

Was Henry Ford a futurist? He envisaged producing a motor vehicle many more people could afford, therefore revolutionising transportation. He delivered this by way of the first mass produced, production line.

Alexander Graham Bell imagined a world where we could speak to each other in real time even though we were far apart. His dream was a more connected, communicative society. Look at us know. Was he also a Futurist?

Brisbane hosts the first ever World of Drones Congress this week. It commenced today (31 August) and concludes on 2 September.

The drone commenced life as a military item and has morphed in to a toy used  largely for (poor) amateur photography. I am perhaps typical of many males in that I would really like a drone but have no idea what I would realistically do with one. They just seem like a cool thing to have.

Renowned Colorado Futurist Thomas Frey is booked to speak at the Congress and he has given some time to “futurizing” about the impacts of drones on the way we live.

He describes Drones as being the “most disruptive technology in human history, incomparable even to the introduction of mobile phones”.

A big statement indeed, but he provides examples to support this.

He outlines that drones could change the basic concept of ownership. *“If I’m doing some construction work on the house and I need an electric drill, do I have to have one in my house or can I just summon one?”

He added that a drill can be flown in, used for 15 minutes and sent back which changes the idea of ownership.

“This gives us so many more freedoms that we just didn’t have in the past”.

He made a number of other predictions too including:

  • Drones will be managed in fleets, with every organisation or business owning its own fleet of drones
  • Many new and interesting job opportunities will evolve
  • Humans will accomplish far more than ever, perhaps 10 or 20 times more than someone 20 years ago.

And he is suggesting this will all happen within 13 years.

The application of drone technology in to everyday life presents endless possibilities. From the delivery of urgent goods and medicines to delivering a new putter on the 11th hole after you threw the old one in the water hazard out of disgust.

It may be the take away pizza or the bottle wine.

It most probably will be a used in ways not yet imagined, unless of course you have commenced your work as a Futurist.

*Quotes extracted from Brisbane Times articles published 30 August 2017

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