Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Top Ten Technology Trends for the Future

Carrie Gates of CA Labs gave a talk at this past weekend's Ontario Celebration of Women in Computing: "Technology Trends for the Future, and Their Implications."  After explaining how hard it is to come up with a Top Ten list, she gave what she felt were the most important trends and their implications in information technology:
  • Miniaturization: Less memory and disk space, more interdisciplinary opportunities.
  • Consolidation: Standards, complexity, integration, and information sharing.
  • Data explosion: Classification, privacy, security, control, monitoring.
  • Outsourcing: Deciding where workforce should come from, where and how the workforce will work, trusting the provider of services and products, privacy.
  • There's an app for that: Trusting people to write important apps, governance and quality control in app stores.
  • Accountability: Enforcing age limits (upper limits for children's sites, lower limits for adult sites), identity confusion, logging, analysis, balancing privacy/anonymity.
  • Customization: Increased complexity, trusting users to make the right choices (particularly with security settings), issue of it being good for users and bad for developers.
  • Communication / Social computing: Governing what goes up online, expectations of use and access in organizations, combining with other applications.
  • Context: Better help systems, have to be careful with personal information.
  • Convergence: Inter-application communication.
 One cool thing I noticed about this list, especially near the end, is that many of these trends fit into the realm of augmented reality.  Context is pretty obvious, given that the very nature of AR indicates its importance, but a lot of these other ideas are still at least a bit related.  An example given of convergence was MIT's Sixth Sense for the fact that it provides information in a way that makes it 'always available' - AR in general can make information always available, since, at least conceptually, it doesn't require that you switch context between what you are doing in the real world and the information related to that task.  Customization of one's own world is possible because of AR's inclusion of virtual objects.  AR applications can definitely be social in a built-in kind of way, but also in a talking-to-people-in-the-real-world kind of way.  There are even more ways to fit the remaining trends into AR but I'll leave that up to the imagination of the reader.

Are there other up and coming interfaces that speak to this list of trends?

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