In the last 80 to 100 years, we have seen the greatest leaps in technology since the beginning of civilization. Even though some ancient cultures made great scientific achievements or were more advanced than we first realized, the technological advancements of the last century have occurred at a pace never seen in human history. Starting with the industrial revolution at the turn of the 20th century, humanity's obsession with progress has made the world smaller through global communication and now we're harnessing smart technologies to make our devices predict our needs.
We put our best minds toward finding faster and easier ways to accomplish everyday tasks and to communicate with the world. We've come a long way quickly. Let's look at how we got here.
THE EVOLUTION OF TECHNOLOGY
As stated above, most technology is born out of a desire to make a task or tasks easier. We see a need or a problem, and we seek to find the solution that will lessen our workload. The principal was in place in creating the first machines--sewing machines, the cotton gin, grain mills, and so on. With the discovery of electricity, we enabled the harnessing of more than just mechanical energy. It's not a surprise that within a hundred years of the first lightbulb, we had the first vestiges of the internet.
In the last 100 years, we have made leaps never imagined by previous generations. After the industrial revolution, the technology we developed made huge leaps.
Inventors conceived the internet after World War II, with the first messages sent in 1969. Over the next 20 years, the exact protocols and systems used to form the internet would change and evolve until, in early 1990s, the world saw the first home computer users logging on to the internet. This was the age of dial-up modem and very slow connections. To see a picture, you had want to see a picture to wait for it to download.
Shortly after the internet became a mainstream form of technology, people created websites at an exponential pace. One of the most exciting things about the emergence of the website was that the average person could have one. Long before Facebook, there was GeoCities, and long before texting there was AOL Instant Messenger. The first websites were mostly text with a few interactive features.
Websites and the internet helped expand markets for the personal computer. By the mid-1990s, most Americans had access to a personal computer. Computers completed changed people created, stored, and shared data. The invention of floppy discs allowed people to take data with them and to keep digital records as opposed to hard copies. Computers changed the way we shop, with the creation of online stores and home delivery options. Virtually every aspect of our lives has changed since computers became mainstream.
Another step in our technological evolution was the invention of the mobile phone. The first mobile phones, kept in bags inside cars, people called "bag phones." The next incarnation was a big, bulky object that looked more like a walky-talky than a phone. Since the early 1990s, mobile phones have gone through many changes. For years, they got smaller and smaller, but with the invention of the smartphone and the touchscreen, they've now increased in size again. Phones have replaced a lot of other technology, including portable music players, GPS devices, handheld organizers, and pagers. Now, your phone can perform all these tasks.
Along with phones, came the invention of apps, or applications. An app is a program that runs on your phone or tablet. There are apps for banking, socializing, shopping, and games. Almost everything we used to do on our personal computers, we now do through an app on a phone.
The creation and evolution of mobile phones and personal computers have completely changed how we communicate. We are now far more likely to send a quick text than make a phone call. We stay connected through social media rather than letters or even face-to-face meetings. We are more connected around the world, but possibly more disconnected than ever for actual verbal communication.
One of the greatest advancements across many technologies is the trend towards losing the cords. Over a century ago, the first electric devices required power cords to function. Homes had to have wires connected outside to the power grid. Every device in the home had to have wires attached to function. Now, we are still reliant on the corded power grid, but device are losing the cords. Phones were one of the first devices to go cordless, and now almost all electronics have followed, including computer components, video game components, and even some household electronics.
As times goes on, experts predict that our dependence on technology will continue or even increase. We won't be giving up our smartphones, however, there's more to technology than just communications. Technology is trending towards "smart technologies," or the use of artificial intelligence within our devices. Let's look at some other smart technologies that will soon change our lives.
One way smart technologies are coming into our lives is by teaching our devices to "talk" to each other. This means our stuff "knows" what other stuff we have, and they can use each other to help us make lists, order products, or be alert about our environment. Soon, your phone may tell you it's raining before you get out of bed in the morning. That might trigger your coffee maker to brew coffee,
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Years ago, before the internet, we imagined the future to be a time of hover boards and jetpacks. We made movies depicting people wearing funny clothes that look like space suits driving flying cars. Interestingly, the future has not gone that way. It turns out, we like smart technology that helps us, rather than flashy hover boards.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
We used to imagine a future full of flashy tech toys, but the real future for smart technology lies in the ways it can help us. Smart technologies can keep us healthier by forcing us to take a real look at our health. It can help us see problems in our environment and find solutions to fixing it. Smart technology doesn't have to give us hover boards like in the movies. It can give us ways to monitor our air and water, and help us live better lives.
WHY DOES TECHNOLOGY MATTER?
It's important to keep up with technology trends, even if you don't make use of all of them, because they are becoming pervasive in our lives. Self-checkouts are becoming more common. Cars are becoming intuitive. To function in a world full of smart technology, you need to know how things work and how to use what's out there. These devices are coming whether or not we want them. Learning how to use and understand smart technology will help keep it safe rather than ignoring or staying away from technology. We should embrace the future so we have control over it.
10 SMART TECHNOLOGIES THAT ARE COMING SOON
As we've established, one of the most significant advances in technology is in smart technology. These are devices that can predict your needs and make suggestions or get involved. Examples that exist now are things like smart watches, fitbits, and apps that "learn" your likes and dislikes.
It may be possible soon for an app to learn what you order from the grocery store each week and create an automatic order. Your phone can automatically save the numbers of people you contact. Your devices can learn your sleep and eating habits and make suggestions for restaurants to remind you to sleep. Smart technology can even help you get healthier. Let's look at several smart technologies that are coming soon.
If you've ever seen a spy movie, then you've seen a prototype of smart glasses. They are glasses that incorporate a tiny computer, allowing the glasses to project information into your field of vision. They can also detect changes in the weather or sunlight and adjust accordingly. Imagine a world where your smart glasses can identify anyone in your field of vision who is also wearing smart glasses or another form of detectable media.
This is already part of our lives limitedly. When an app makes suggestions for new contacts based on who you've emailed, that's smart data. Our phones are starting to "listen" to who we call and send messages to. Soon, you may just need someone's name to add their profile to your contact list.
ELECTRONICS YOU CAN WEAR
We already use this a little in the form of smart watches and fitbits, but more is coming. We may see earphones that can detect your heart rate or contacts that measure blood sugar. The things we wear may tell us what's going on inside our bodies. Soon, technology you're wearing might tell you're having a stroke before it happens, so you can seek help.
This is something else we're already seeing on the market. Things like the Amazon Echo allow you to control your home with your voice. Soon, it will be more extensive. You'll be able to control every aspect of your home with your voice and remotely. You'll know who's knocked on the door, what your pets were up to, and you can even get start dinner from where you work!
This is a high-tech idea that's finally making its way to the average person. With advances in first-person game play and graphics, this will make gaming super realistic. It will also allow you to travel anywhere you want from the comfort of a chair. You can visit a sunny beach while you're stuck inside on a rainy day.
SAY GOODBYE TO SCREENS
The need for a screen will be less important as graphics technology changes. Remember the "holo deck" from some "Star Trek" TV shows? Well, holograms may become a reality for communication or even education. This smart technology may also help people see by sending images into their eyes.
COMPUTERS THAT READ YOUR MIND
Again, this is something we already use, to a degree. It's possible for quadriplegics to perform tasks using their brain hooked to a computer. Hopefully, this technology becomes cheaper and more mainstream. It will make a huge difference for those with life-changing injuries or birth defects. It could also allow gamers to play games "with their minds," so they could use this smart technology for fun and with a purpose.
UBER, LYFT, AND MORE
Car services are "universally available services" because they have no restrictions by country or language or any barrier. They can operate anywhere there is the internet and a willing participant. These Type services will become more prolific and people will have the ability to connect to services everywhere.
NO MORE SHELVES OF MEDIA
The days of physically owning games and DVDs are ending. Soon, all content will be digital and you will pay or subscribe to a service to get the media you want. Your age and subscription status will determine your ability to access certain media. Smart technology will know what you want to watch.
AI: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
We already see this a lot in the movies, usually with robots being a resource for artificial intelligence. It's also already in play with things like Siri, Cortana, and Google Now, Smart technology like A.I.
OTHER THINGS TO LOOK FOR
Smart technologies, part of technological advances that have been a long time coming, are now coming faster. Ever since we first looked at the sky and imagined harnessing electricity or when we made the first phone call, we've been on this path.
The internet, smartphones, and artificial intelligence are all things that have made a huge impact on our world. We are more connected than ever. Technology has made the world smaller so we can instantly communicate across the globe. We can be anywhere in about 24 hours. We have made it possible to stay more connected than ever. However, we often feel more disconnected than ever before.
It's easy to get lost in our phones and to choose Facebook over real communication. Technology has made our lives more convenient. We can have anything we want delivered within a few days. However, there are also good things we get using technology. We can save more lives than ever. Our medical advancements have allowed us to live longer and to save lives we couldn't save 100 years ago. Smart technologies continues to allow us to see inside our bodies and make real-time, better choices.
Because of technological advancements, we have the tools to be better than we've ever been. We are on the cusp of growing replacement organs or limbs, or healing paralysis and allowing people to walk again. All of these things come from technology.
Technology also allows us to have fun. Due to technological advancements, the games we play are more real than ever before and they give us realism while also offering a great escape from "reality." We can "go" places while spending no money to travel. We can play games that challenge us to monitor our bodies as we play sports. Technology, although not without its downside, has given us so much, it is important for us to focus on the good. We should all attempt to educate ourselves on what's coming in smart technology and be part of harnessing it for a better future for everyone.
The internet has become such an integral part of our lives, we have a hard time remembering what life was like before they invented it (if you're old enough to remember that time in history). And, instead of moving into the background of our lives, software developers and engineers are preparing it to move into more aspects of our lives.
Something the scientific community calls "the internet of things" (IoT) will soon bring smart technologies to us in more and different ways. We will talk to more and more of our appliances, control more things in our home from a distance, and have more of our electronic devices serving as personal assistants (move over Alexa and Cortana).
Grocery shopping has even moved online. Many (if not most) large grocery stores now allow you to go online to register for online shopping. Big grocery retailers, like Walmart, and chain grocery retailers are allowing customers to shop online, and then go to the store to pick up groceries. All of this convenience we owe to the internet and to other technological innovations. Smart technologies and technological advances are here to stay, and the best thing we can do is to stay on the lookout for advances that can help us improve our lives.