Monthly Archives: February 2013

The astonishing connected world

Ever looked at a vision of the future from, say, 30 years ago? According to those 1980s authors, our future contains such excitements as flying cars, living in space and colonies on the moon. Unfortunately, none of these things have really materialised; although we’ve made progress in quite a few of them. However, one thing almost never predicted is every individual wandering around, always connected, always linked to the sum of human knowledge, able to share thoughts and experiences with the entire world as a matter of course.

Naturally I’m talking about the Internet, and the evolution of the smartphone and the widening spread of mobile data, all of which add up to rich, connected applications pervading our daily lives. For many of us, we can’t imagine life without always-on connectivity, and are completely stuck when our phones/tablets/whatever break or run out of power. Going beyond the mundane desire to tweet pictures of what I had for dinner, connectivity has even played a part in overthrowing dictatorships and corrupt regimes in the Arab Spring. If I want to know the situation in Mali, learn how to fix my car, or just watch a cat falling down the stairs repeatedly, its available near-instantly, wherever and whenever I want it.

Today I’ve worked with people I’ll never meet, on a product they’ll never see, I’ve pair-programmed with a friend 80 miles away as if he were sat next to me, and I’ve watched a music video performed by 40 people, from radically different backgrounds, scattered all over the world. The likes of YouTube have made unlikely celebrities (Numa Numa guy anyone?) and launched countless careers and forced the music and broadcasting industries to turn established ideas on their head to stay relevant in today’s connected world.

Looking to the future, I’m hesitant to speculate what will come given the start to this post; and there are a great many terrifyingly plausible visions of our future, however I think its safe to say that it’ll be interesting.