What Will The Next Decade Look Like In Tech?

July 8, 2024  |  Mark Hillary

What is ahead for the global technology industry? We know that important developments such as generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) have been making waves recently, but what are the trends that we can expect to see playing out for the rest of the 2020s?

The business magazine Forbes recently attempted to go even further by predicting the technology trends that will shape the period 2024 to 2034. Bernard Marr is experienced with technology futurism, but even he usually only focuses on extrapolating into the next few years — not a full decade.

Let’s explore some of the trends he discussed.

AI is omnipresent

Bernard says: In 10 years’ time, with the advances we’re seeing in natural language processing and speech generation, voice control could become our default method of interacting with machines. We’re already used to speaking to machines like Alexa or Siri, even though the experience can be shaky and limited. But with natural language processing taking over, by 2034, it will seem completely humdrum to have natural, flowing conversations with technology. 

This is where AI will become entirely immersed into our lives. I fully expect the idea of our own personal digital assistants to be normalized over this timeframe. Why waste time booking a flight when you can explain what you need and then leave your personal assistant to go ahead and work on it?

This idea of just talking to computer systems and interacting with them in much more detail does raise some ethical questions about how we will continue to interact with people. Would we expect a doctor to be a human that completed medical training years earlier or would we prefer an always-updated AI?

Will therapy discussions take place entirely with AI? What about if a large number of people prefer AI friends and romantic partnerships to the struggle of a real relationship?

There are many benefits to AI becoming entirely immersive and easy to use, but it could also have some very profound effects on how humans relate to other people.

Digital Lives

Bernard says: …the differentiation between the online, digital world and the offline, physical world may start to fade. The concept of the “metaverse” may have fallen somewhat out of fashion in recent years thanks to the excitement over generative AI. But make no mistake, the concept – that our digital experiences will be just as important and consequential as our offline lives – is still just as true.

I believe the failure of the metaverse concept was how it was suggested that this would be the default place where people spend most of their time. Perhaps this may be true in future, but it certainly is not today. Nobody is arriving home from work and deciding that they want to spend the next few hours in a virtual game of table tennis. Yet this is how it was pictured.

I think this concept will really catch on as companies continue to embrace the post-pandemic trend to build hybrid teams that can work from home as well as working from a corporate office. By creating a virtual office, that everyone attends, we can bring entire teams together to recreate a personal experience virtually.

Biotech transformation

Bernard says: Advances in gene editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 may have made it possible to correct many genetic disorders before birth. This could reduce the prevalence of many hereditary diseases like muscular dystrophy or cystic fibrosis. It could even reduce the overall genetic predisposition to negative effects of high cholesterol or blood pressure. The societal impacts of this could be huge, including extended human lifespans.

I think the really important point here is that most healthcare can switch to being proactive rather than reactive. If we monitor our health all the time using devices then we can be alerted to any abnormality – rather than just waiting until we get sick and then going to a hospital.

In future, it would be unlikely for a patient to show up at hospital feeling ill and then to find that their cancer is terminal because it was untreated. If the patient were being monitored, then they would have been checked in detail the moment that a tumor was detected.

This has the potential to drastically reduce the cost of healthcare and also to increase lifespans, but there is also a danger that this concept of proactivity may only be available to those who can afford it.

These are just a few key areas and predictions, but do please leave a comment with your own thoughts on where we will see the greatest wave of change.

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