Jan Chipchase: Four Tech Trends Propagating Right Now

The futurist identifies four key global trends to consider today.

A recent piece at Fast Company featured four deep tech trends identified by Jan Chipcase, whom travels the globe to understand how technology (and design) are taking shape across various dimensions of our lives, from the workers of China to the citizens of Africa — and every nuance in between. In short, we should expect to see the following trends belie many of our perceptions and behaviors that relate to technology, currently and in the near future.

  • Increasingly fast roll-out rates: The gap in time between a new technology impacting the industrialized world and the developing world will continue to diminish. To illustrate, there’s talk of 4G launching in Africa soon–a continent where sufficient food and housing are pressing needs.
  • The ubiquity (and transience) of network access: With two year contracts, credit checks and other administrative red tape still acting as barriers to entry to full mobile service for many, we can expect to see different business models for mobile access emerge. A market segment in which highly connected mobile phones are disposable or transient and personal identity is carried over between devices – may emerge sooner than we may instinctively believe.
  • Unaffordable disconnection: For those of us that have felt a knot in our throats after lack of WiFi access has left us disconnected from business e-mail for an hour or two, take heart – the expectations and pressure for constant connectivity are worse in other parts of the world. According to Chipcase;

What happens when, in principle ID is embedded, with the assumption that of course it’s with you 24/7, in the same way that underwear is with you 24/7, or an earring is with you 24/7? And I don’t know when that’s going to happen, but it is going to happen…I think it’s a wonderful example, if you’re asking where it goes, it’s technology amplifying existing behaviors and assumptions. Technology disrupts, but it also amplifies.

  • An increasingly less distinct line between socially acceptable and creepy: Just as the distinction between our online and offline behaviors is blurring, so is the distinction between once private information and public. This shift is about more than just more people lifecasting or Tweeting their every thought — it’s also about how more increasingly connected objects are making us more comfortable with sharing increasingly more personal information.

We are already seeing more personal connectivity and broadcasting become a broader cultural force. While FastCompany submits that the question will essentially be less about whether you opt into a product or behavior or more about whether you opt out of a culture, we believe the shift will be less dramatic. We believe the ‘line’ will be more of one drawn in pencil, with broad adoption and levels of participation shifting over time. Some parties participating in this–deeply, quickly–capitalize on the openness of information afforded by connected products. However, many people are slower to adopt it, or choose to share particular information with a more limited audience and, in some cases, only with themselves.

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