This is a map of hype cycle for emerging technologies by Gartner, Inc. A full report assessing more than 2,000 technologies in 98 areas is also available.
“In fact, by observing how emerging technologies are being used by early adopters, there are actually three main trends at work. These are augmenting humans with technology — for example, an employee with a wearable computing device; machines replacing humans — for example, a cognitive virtual assistant acting as an automated customer representative; and humans and machines working alongside each other — for example, a mobile robot working with a warehouse employee to move many boxes.”
Well, “a walking warehouse employee” sounds like an outdated concept. I think many already unemployed wish to still be or to become again “walking employees”, alongside with a robot or not — but that is not going to happen: robots can walk/jump/run on their own, with the other “seating” robots managing the process.
Looking at this plot, one can ask “What is smart dust?” Well, this is, according to Wikipedia, a 20-year old concept for millimeter and smaller size wireless sensors, and nanobots/nanorobots, I would add. Bioacoustic sensing is something new to me.
But the most important question to ask is “Which skills/education/business do I/my kids/my company need to pursue to be marketable in 10-15 years.” The answer doesn’t sound as revelation: bioengineering, electrical engineering, programming (cloud, mobile, web, databases, algorithms), statistics, analytics, life sciences, neuroscience, physics, linguistics, sociology, psychology, human-machine communicators/liaisons, robot teachers. And what is not?
With more and more people out of traditional jobs and with higher demand on talent and smart at job, will the society be in need of more artists, actors, singer, dancers, writers, poets, entertainers, designers, architects, communicators, restauranteurs — professions that currently pay only for extraordinary talent? Will “Quantified Self” include only the human physical substance (which is for a materialist includes complete self), or should we expect achieving a new level of artistic and philosophical creativity via self-quantification? And will it be rewarded by the society? Basically, what will keep billions on this planet busy and out off distraction?