Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Future of Technology

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about how technology has progressed so rapidly in the past few years. This leads me to think about how fast it will progress in the coming future. The trend I have observed, is that people prefer to carry fewer things with them. Google has been pushing Google Wallet for payments via NFC, while Apple is working on Passbook for a similar purpose. This would enable people to ditch their credit cards for their phones. Already, wallets are getting thinner with preferences towards plastic over cash. Soon enough, IDs will also be securely stored on your cell phone, so you don't need to carry a physical ID card.
People would like to leave behind their home and car keys so they can have lighter pockets. There are many door locks in the market which can open with a smartphone. As for cars, Viper and other manufacturers have come up with solutions to unlock and start your car from your smartphone.
At the end of the day, all you are left with is a smartphone in your pocket, which can help you do everything. How cool would it be if you didn't even need to carry that smartphone? Then you would not need to worry about forgetting anything at home when you are headed out the door in the morning.
I think eventually we will be able to do that. With the push of cloud computing, it should be fairly easy to access all of the same data which is on your smartphone from any other device or a terminal. But then you are restrained by the accessibility of a terminal. Since the terminal's only function is to verify your identity, and access all the data from the cloud, it only needs to be a dumb terminal. All it would need is a touchscreen (just like on your phone) for you to be able to interact with it. With time, these touchscreens are getting so cheap, they should be easily integrated on all glass surfaces. This touchscreen would verify your identity via a fingerprint, iris scan, or some other biometric scan which is secure. If you take a cab, the passenger window can turn into a touchscreen. If you are standing at the bus stop, the glass enclosure can become a touchscreen. While you are riding the bus or train, the window can become a touchscreen. Eventually, there is a possibility of making hard surfaces touchscreens. This way, everywhere you go, you have access to your smartphone capabilities.
As far as the digital interactivity goes, the touchscreens can fulfill that. We would still require microphones and speakers to enable phone calls. It would be possible to install a microphone with every touchscreen interface. As for the speakers, there has been a lot of development in omni-directional speakers. These speakers transmit sound in a specific direction, like a laser. With these speakers also enabled in every touchscreen, there would be a possibility of having a private conversation while standing in public, just like we do right now!
I don't know how long these technologies will converge together and this future will be possible or even if it ever will happen. But I sure hope it does, and it happens soon. Those would be some exciting times to live in!

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