Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Here’s 7 things we know about the future of technology

June 19, 2015

What does technology have in store for us in the future, and how will it impact our lives?

For London Technology Week we got stuck into this very issue at the inaugural Tech City News FutureTech panel, at our very own IDEALondon.

There was standing room only for a wide-ranging discussion that covered everything from 3D printing, to robotics, the Internet of Everything and beyond.

Each of the points below is taken (and borrowed) from the panel of experts, which included CEO & founder of Asset Mapping, Bill Clee (a resident of IDEALondon); founder & CEO of Andiamo, Naveed Parvez; CEO of Insane Logic, Zoe Peden; and Chris Holder, partner at Bristows LLP; as well as yours truly.

So, here are the seven things we all now know about future technology following this fascinating discussion:

1) We shouldn’t fear the growth of robotics

The rise of the robots and ever increasing automation has sparked fears about the impact on the jobs market, particularly in manual and factory jobs. The overwhelming view from the panel was that in a lot of circumstances, robots will take our jobs. But jobs will be created as well, not least through maintaining and advancing the technology further. And another very good point was made: that the exact same thing happened when the car was first introduced. Are we still worried about horse groomers today?

2) 3D printing will fundamentally change manufacturing…

But to quote Naveed Parvez from Andiamo, right now we need to “stop printing chess pieces and owls.” We are still in the very stages of this journey, but after we’ve grasped the potential of the materials we’re using in 3D printing, it will allow us to explore the real opportunity for positive change. Will we even need to build any more factories? Production could be mobile; taken to areas where they it is needed the most. All you need is an Internet connection and the file of what you want to build. Simple.

3) There is a lot of work to do on the regulation of emerging technology

Technology today outpaces legislation – and the legal brains of the world are struggling to keep up. According to Chris Holder, partner at Bristows LLP, it’s not so much the time it takes to introduce new legislation, it’s the lack of forward thinking. If we can anticipate future tech trends, why can’t we gear up the legal wheels ahead of time? However, we must also be mindful not to over-burden start-ups with red tape which could strangle innovation.

4) We need to work out who is actually ‘driving’ in driverless cars

Is it the driver? Is it the car manufacturer? Is it the software? If a driverless car has a crash, legally speaking, who is ‘behind the wheel’? It has lawyers scratching heads right now. This massive obstacle needs to be overcome if we are ever going to be chauffeured around in our driverless cars.

5) Buildings will think for themselves

This is where the work from Bill Clee and his team at Asset Mapping is so exciting. Buildings will be able to monitor and control their own temperature, control lighting depending on where people are inside, and they will proactively order parts for maintenance where it is needed. It’s the plumbing in the background, but it has wide-reaching implications. When we reach the point that buildings start interacting with the city environments around them, the magic starts to happen.

6) The Internet is about to get a whole lot bigger

The Square Kilometer Array Telescope, when fully operational in the 2020s, will generate more than ten times the amount of data we see in everyday Internet traffic today. We have a whole new phase ahead of us in terms of scale of the web. Plus, today only around 1% of ‘things’ are connected to the Internet. We’re barely scratching the surface with #IoE, and it’s only going to get bigger.

7) Everything will have normal names

This is was one of the best quotes of the evening, and it came from Bill Clee: “In 10 years time, Big Data will be called Data. Smart Cities – Cities. Internet Of Things – Internet.”

And when you think of it like that, it makes you wonder what future tech we’ll be talking about in ten years.

You can watch the hour-long discussion from the event in full here:

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