random thoughts on what will be disrupted next

it’s kind of fun to watch things get “disrupted” really fast.

In my lifetime some memorable things I’ve seen disrupted or replaced were:

  • Floppy disks sort-of-slowly got replaced with CD-ROM’s.
  • VCR’s slowly got replaced with DVD’s.
  • Music from analog, to digital-through-a-disk, to pure digital.
  • In college they completely removed every book from this massive library and turned the whole damn thing into a computer lab and co-working space that was laptop friendly.
  • Buying software from a store.  WTF??  Can you even DO that anymore?
  • Having to “search” for knowledge.  It used to be a chore, now it’s incredibly accessible.

There’s usually some “outrage” in the beginning of any disruption (“But encyclopedias are an institution! You can’t replace them with this “computer” thing!”), then in like 6 months no gives a shit anymore because the new technology is soooo much better and everything adapts in short order. I

Every single one of those “disruptions” I witnessed allowed humans to be more productive, lead better and more fun lives, and allowed people who previously couldn’t afford something (such as being able to store gigabytes of information) completely accessible.

  • Wired headphones are dying right now.  Soon as I got Apple AirPods and used them for a week, then tried clunky-ass wired headphones I was disgusted by them.  There’s like…WIRES and crap hanging all over me.
  • I think eyeglasses are going to be the next big industry to get some serious competition from tech companies.  I’ve used Google Glass, the SnapChat Spectacles etc……and while those products aren’t insanely useful at the moment, once battery, computational power, and visualization projections shrink just a TAD more………”useful eyewear” will become a thing.  This trend will play out just like watches: Digital watches have been around forever, but then in one fell swoop Apple released one that was truly functional, and literally the next year they were the 2nd largest watch maker in the world.  And the technology keeps iterating better and better.
  • Screens. This one is a bit away, but eventually when everyone has some sort of digital eyewear, you won’t really need giant TV screens or phone screens.  Your entire field of vision could be a screen.  I think screens will get so thin, so durable, so crisp, and so cheap that they’ll be used to emulate scenery on walls like it’s a window.  Imagine being able to live in a lame white-walled square room, but you slap some screens on the wall that truly make it seem like you have a penthouse view of Manhattan!
  • Cars you drive yourself.  I can’t wait for this.  Instead of a Mercedes, I would rather own a crap-tastic 1979 Toyota Minivan with a hole in the floor IF IT DRIVES ITSELF.  Driving is lame and dangerous and a huge burden and waste of time.  It’s already clear Tesla is the dominant leader in this, and every single car company on the planet will transition shortly after.
  • Software. Right now humans write software.  Eventually you’ll be able to describe a problem you want solved to a sufficiently clever AI, and it will design the software FOR YOU.  For example you can say: “Hey Siri, make me a software that let’s users register an account and then tracks all their social media accounts from one app” and it would do it. This would take a human a while do drum up….but a computer could do it in a few seconds complete with human-simulated testing and re-iterations of the software for maximum speed and usability.

As I get older I think the thing that will leave me behind is virtual worlds.  By the time VR/AR is prime-time ready I’ll be at least 40+.  For me it will be a novelty, and I would use it a bit, but the kids being born at that time will just THINK THIS IS THE WAY YOU LIVE.  They will likely grow in some sort of hybrid real/virtual world where they can “travel to space” from the safety of their home or talk to their friends like they’re in the room.

Just like kids now just expect TV’s to be thin, and phones to be these durable pieces of glass you can play with and access any information, the kids of the future will “see” and experience the world in different (and way cooler) way.

End rant :)
-N