Posts My "wonderworld" does not include business trips

My "wonderworld" does not include business trips

2030s Cognitive Machines: a glimpse of life in a future wonderworld

Getting ready to fly to a conference, my auto-drive electric car rolls its top down on this warm day

In this article, you have:

  • “microscopic sensors embedded throughout the house [which] constantly monitor” your health
  • “wall tiles [which] display the day’s top headlines”
  • a “Mars mission [which] launches ahead of schedule”
  • “smart dust” able to destroy terrorist training camps
  • “auto-drive” cars
  • a headband which can figure out a person’s identity and project it on your eyes

Yet, the person is flying a commercial flight to a conference? The same mistake is present in this 2009 Microsoft video (which is otherwise amazing):

If you have communication technology that is that advanced, the case for conferences and flying around the world for business is greatly reduced. After all, we are almost there already, with tools as poor (relatively to what we should have in 2030) as Skype, WebEx, or Google Hangouts.

There is a reason conferences and face to face business meetings still exist: they remain often the best way to exchange a lot of information quickly, to mix the formal with the informal, and to capture the out of band signals that humans constantly send. So they will probably be around as long as there are “humans 1.0”. But my guess is that they will progressively be replaced by future communication technology. (Apply all this technology to leisure travel and that’s another story.)

What will it take?

  • higher bandwidth, lower latency, and lower price for data (wired and wireless)
  • high-definition audio/video equipment cheap to the point where you can plaster walls with it
  • or, alternatively, smart glasses/headbands which remove the need for shared displays
  • the hardest part: software to glue it all that actually works, and that follows standard protocols

This trend could be slowed down or maybe even temporarily reversed if physical transportation sees fundamental improvements, maybe with ubiquitous hyperloops and cheap supersonic flights.