Oh God, The Future has QUESTIONS.

I'm often asked by journalist for answers to questions about the future.

The call for help, reminds me of a scene from the movie "Oh, God!" starring George Burns in 1977.

In the scene, no one believes that "Jerry Landers", aka John Denver can talk to God.

So "Jerry Landers" is put on trial and given a bunch of questions that only "God" can answer. 

It's hysterical to contemplate a test for the future, must less a "God", but as a child that scene informed my reality about how people value the firm footing of hope and "knowledge" over embracing the groundlessness of the present moment.

How will we communicate online in 2025? We currently use screens, keyboards and touchscreens; voice controlled applications (Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Echo etc) are increasingly common. How will this change in the next decade?

Talking to computers will be something that will be very commonplace but the emerging field of behavioral algorithms will take shape in the world.

Behavioral algorithms will take our perceived behavior by cameras, microphones, location, and biology and allow computers to offer new interfaces and feedback routines based on a hyper contextual awareness.

Communications by 2025 will be focused on behavioral based skills and social systems. Skill based systems will review our "quantified self" or day to day, observed behavior and start to "assist" us by offering "habits" or "environments" to support our conveniences. Our behavioral based social systems will function by alerting our friends, family and peers of changes in our behavior. Much like a social media status update alerts them in 2016 of our current "status". Software will function by knowing how we "feel" not when/where we are.

What role will the following technologies play in 2025: gesture control, brain control (brain computer interface (BCI)), virtual and augmented reality? What else?

Alternative interface will rule 2025, so much so that calling them “alternative” will be like calling Facebook “social media”.

The idea of using a keyboard and screen will be seen as old fashion as using a "smart phone". Just as "Flip phones" seem silly in comparison to smart phones today in 2016.

This is critical to understand because of how we currently review the accuracy of information by making a "choice" in it when we select it.

With alternative interfaces the idea of "choice" or "selecting" an answer, route or even emotion will be preselected for us.

Remember for every interface there is a feedback loop. So you can't have a new interface without a new feedback mechanism. For instance, apple watch is a new interface, using gestures for an interface but also haptic as a feedback mechanism.

More importantly with apple watch to think about is the feature "digital touch" technology.

The idea of sending someone taps or a heart beat is how the social aspects of alternative user interface and feedback loop will look and be common by 2025.

Specifically:

  1. Gesture control- Gesture control will be more common in specific areas of work / automation. Home based / personal based gestures will be more focused on types of "touch". A heavy touch, slip, tilt of a finger.
  2. Brain control (brain computer interface (BCI)- This will be a type of interface but more than likely it will be a tool for observation. To inform games or entertainment. BFI won't be needed until the early 2030's because of advancements in camera and sound technology on our equipment around us. By 2035 BCI will be critical in understanding nuanced pleasure states to inform more complex population and high end goods and services.
  3. Virtual / augmented / mix/ hybrid reality- Alternate realities as an interface will change entertainment, education and some skilled professions more than they will be common enhancements to the traditional user interface. The idea of people enhancing reality outside of these areas by 2025 is not common. By 2045, hybrid reality though will be common and most of what we experience from our organic senses will augmented in some physical and cognitive level full time, including sleep.
  4. What else -
  • Temporal - Systems using annual or historical context will be ubiquitous by 2025. The concept of time as an interface will change how we schedule events and relive our memories. The massive amount of behavior data we will collect in the next 10 years will create a "Truman Show" meets the Star Trek holodeck for shopping and travel.
  • Geolocation - Increasing emphasis on using location as a "filter" or interface will be staggering by 2025. Historical location combined with behavior will give consumers an instant trip down memory lane.
  • Activity - Hitting a staggering wave of adoption by 2020, activity based user interface will be almost ubiquitous by 2025. Software will understand "I'm driving", "I'm walking". By creating an adaptive alternative interface for those types of skills or offering alternative experience. You can see the early adoption of this in software that understands you're running and offers a playlist for you.
  • Behavioral - Software that uses the context of behavior will be seamlessly integrated into our lives. The easiest way to look at "behavior" as an interface would be Microsoft's "Clippy" from the 90's. Clippy would ask "It looks like you're typing a letter want some help?" By monitoring your computer behavior (taking many photos, listening to sad music) computers will be able to offer different feedback and interface options.
  • Biological - This interface is about the sensors we keep on and in our bodies. Digestible and temporary sensors we use in our day to day life will offer up ways to interact with us based on our health and vitality. This revolution will change the face of computing and humanity forever, as we merge into a single information unit from the dark history of “big data” and we move into the new day of “big knowledge”.
  • Environmental - The last of the alternative interfaces and feedback routines is environmental. Just like behavior the rise in sensors will create a network of hyper proximal information that can be used, controlled or changed based on the needs of the person. Today you can see the integration between Jawbone's up3 band and Nest's thermostat as an early example of this new and frightening phenomena of environment as an interface.
This period of time in 2025 will be the last year we have where everything in our lives is not controlled, influenced or enhanced by code. By 2035 "existence as a platform" will be common and everything will be influenced by code.

Where will their impact be most felt? Among everyday consumers, or within sectors like medicine, and other industry?

 

Like all advancements the impact is being felt now in research labs and with the military. The actually realization of these technologies always is most observable with the consumers. We are addicted to convenience and 2025 will be no different. Anything that makes shopping or "saving" time will be effected first.

If you want to understand technology, study money.

How evident are these technologies today? Where (medicine, science, Google Glass etc)? What will it take to make them mass market / common?

Higher end technologies like "digestible" computing you can see today in medical research. Mass market adoption starts when the ease of use is greater than the convenience the technology creates. For example, email is not as "easy" to use as texting. The interface for email has become heavy. So the lower tech is more popular. Using location as an interface was made easy so a map, GPS coordinates make services like "uber" easy to understand. Mass market adoption is as simple as creating a digital "hit" of a new drug to make life simple and combining it with a piece of information to create a new "consumer element"

How will these technologies alter the gadgetry itself (the hardware and UI)? What will happen to mobile phones, for instance?

2025 will be the end of "mobile phones" as we understand them. The hardware makers, but more importantly the attention platforms, TV, Web publishing will have moved into our lives, into our homes and cars. The internet as we understood it ended sometime in 2012. By 2025 the internet will be us and we will be the internet. Our homes will be environments connected to an "awareness" of our needs. Like all future predictions, this technology will be spread unevenly. Many folks will live in average houses but have very intelligent cars.

We won't upgrade our phones each year, we will by “extensions” to our phone experiences. New cars with better integration to our lives. New TV's with more understanding of our families.

Will 2025 simply be a stepping stone to something else – the next technological shift? What will that be?

Just as 1995 defined a new era in the interface with Windows 95. 2005 defined an era of connected 'social' computing. 2015 defined an era of 'smart' objects. 2025 will transform the last of non-programmable parts of our lives into code. Children born in 2025 will have the option to never understand where the "information" comes from. We are the last humans of a race of people that understood it's origins from the vantage point where you could apply your own bias.

We are at the dawn of the machine age and the sunset of the organic age.


Obsolescence is a technological hate crime

Coping with Cassandra Complex in an age of charlatans and big money. 

From Wikipedia“The term "Cassandra Complex" originates in Greek mythology. Cassandra was a daughter of Priam, the King of Troy. Struck by her beauty, Apollo provided her with the gift of prophecy, but when Cassandra refused Apollo’s romantic advances, he placed a curse ensuring that nobody would believe her warnings. Cassandra was left with the knowledge of future events, but could neither alter these events nor convince others of the validity of her predictions.”

I am Cassandra.

2010

I was laughed offstage. Again. This was beginning to be a pattern. 

This was the year I created a presentation regarding the the impending economic disruption digital would cause. For two years I presented this information throughout Europe, Australia, and the US. This was when I started to be ridiculed by many of my peers within the ITSM industry.

After almost two decades in the business, I had become skilled at anticipating the direction of IT professionals and their customers. While much of the original presentation may be difficult to understand, I think you will agree that it was an urgent message for all white collar workers in 2010. 

But really, the truth of it is that someone who started on a computer help desk in 1990 probably had a better idea than the leadership running it what was going right and what was going wrong with technology.

 

You can see the original below or link here.

 

When I look back at this presentation, what I find most remarkable is not the prescience of my findings, but the relentless kindness I gave the topics through the year 2050.

To the few people who continue to follow and support my work in 2016, you are my mentors and my friends, and you are leaders in your own fields.

Last week the World Economic forum met in Switzerland and announced that we have entered the “4th Industrial Revolution.” Jobs are going to change so vastly that it will be hard to comprehend in the moment. Hindsight will be the only true lens through which we can understand the world we live in today. 

The report and findings are located here.

2012

This was the year I began to speak of how the Internet would disappear. 

I had created a presentation called "Existence As a Platform," where I explored the idea that soon everything we touched would be programmable, that the human body and mind could be reshaped in real time through algorithms, conditioned environments, and massive amounts of data. And eventually this data could be transformed into universal wisdom. 

More simply put, what would happen if we combined the qualified self with the Internet of Things? What would happen if every "thought leader" with a Fitbit and a Roomba were providing us with a some greater understanding of our collective unconscious?  

Why did I think this worked? Because I lived it. The rest is history. (Or as I dubbed it in a moment of levity, Christory). Again, I was met with some laughter, but this time people took note. My name started appearing in tech news articles, and it was making its way into industries outside of tech.

You can see that presentation below or link here.

 

 

2014

This was the year I took a radical departure from my "futurist" self and focused squarely on suffering--suffering brought about by our digital age. 

In this vein, I created two presentations: “What Happens When the Internet Disappears” and “Designing for Wisdom." Again people misunderstood my message and some even called for me to return to the “glory days” of Chris Dancy, when I spoke about the future with such clarity. They wanted me to stop talking about emotions, to leave out such human elements. Topics about our existence were almost too directed, too purposeful. The words I used, images I chose, and ideas I expressed were directed at a populous lost between two worlds and suffering deeply from a perpetual sense of grief.

You can see a combination of these presentations below or link here.

 

2016

I’ve spent the weekend stuck inside during the blizzard here in NYC after the premier of my Showtime episode of Dark Net called 'Upgrade.' I'm reading Kierkegaard and finding the intersections between his philosophy and Jung’s perception of time and identity. And all this has brought me to this one plea:

Please, take a moment today to think seriously about your place in this emerging new world order. 

And know this: if you feel sadness at work, you are not alone.

We live in an age where the system that drove us to this point, “money,” is falling apart. Money has seemingly reached its own Singularity. It's trying to make the jump to something faster, slicker, and harder to measure. It's trying to manipulate behavior itself. Billion-dollar, publicly-traded companies' entire portfolios consist of ways to capture, measure and direct your attention. To force your hand to click, swipe, or pull to refresh.

The marionette of behavior science and data sorcery is crippling our day-to-day grasp of reality.

 

The only thing evolving faster than technology is our quest to make ourselves king.

Think about the indignation we feel when an Uber driver speaks to us as we speed away to our next meeting.

We just used a piece of technology to force someone to come to our location, we manipulated their cloud-based computer to give them directions, and we hijacked their radio so we could play our favorite Spotify playlist. We then ignore the human being driving the car, and once we've gotten where we want to be, we jump out without even a parting glance. We never see money trade hands, we only “rate” the human’s ability to leave us alone.

This doesn’t have to be the present, and it definitely doesn't have to be the future.

Nor do we need to fear for our jobs, time, or families.

Right now we can choose to use technology to make us more mindful of our bodies and environments.

Your smart phone is worthless if you do not pick it up. Take back your attention, focus on the tangible things around you, on family and friends, on food and art.

Obsolescence is a technological hate crime and you’re not a victim.

Now

The compassionate heart of a warrior is at hand. Realize you are connected to so many others who are struggling at this very moment. Realize you are not alone.

Wish them peace. Wish them love. Only then will you find it yourself.

Nostalgia will not repair the idealism of our past. 

Technology will not save us from our unrealistic relationship to the future.

Contemplation will not cure us of our disastrous relationship with now.

 

Life after the Internet

Children born in 2016 will never use passwords, keyboards or worry about battery life.

The internet will be something leftover from their parents, iphones will be old fashion and wearable computing will be “clothing”.

They will live in a world of software updates and firmware patches.

Children of the future.jpg
Time itself will have fallen away and memories will be something you control with a preferences in software.

The quantified self will just be “life”.

Our legacy should not be how we used our tools, but how we designed them.Our biology and behavior have evolved to become the interface to our experiences via code.

The human race has created a “Truman Show” meets “Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind” world of immediate convenience.

The digital dualism of “Technology will save us” and “Technology is destroying us” is ripping apart families and soon communities. Yet, we still refuse confront this fundamental truth, we are technology.

Our legacy should not be how we used our tools, but how we designed them.

We are no longer in an age where blunt instruments of mass distraction, consumerism and hype have the same outcome on our minds.

We have the ultimate responsibility to talk about technology from an ethical and contemplative point of view.

We can no longer wait for a leader to come forth and direct us away from our own fears to the safety of another innovation that will correct the current crisis.

death of a cyborg.jpg
Crisis is life, optimization is suffering, convenience is death.

It’s time to become ok with not being ok.

Meta-Ted talks

Often I find my story in other peoples's presentations. It's humbling to discovery other people find my years of body hacking inspirational or at minimum "noteworthy".
Today I came across a Tedx Talk from Sept 29, 2014 by Lauren Constantini. The gentleness of her story was very kind.

Wearable technology is a revolution that is changing the fabric of our humanity, I only hope we continue to evolve the conversations. 
 

On the other hand, Gerd Leonhard looks at my work as if I want to be "super human".  His time is short and I appreciate his message but I don't want to be a machine. 

 

 

 

 

 

With the impending release of the Showtime series "Dark Net", featuring my story, I think it's important to come to terms with how other people experience my story.

I've struggled with how my story will be told. In the world of public attention and opinion the secret trade off no one warns you about is the "right" to define yourself. Not very Buddhist of me, but something I'm learning to empathize with. 

It's no secret if you read my tweets or follow my Facebook, my life is rich for dissection. Let me be very clear about something. 

The only struggle I have with life, is one I have with clinging to the illusion that I'm in control of myself or my fate. Technology is not and never has been an issue. I'm the tool I fear and I become easier to manipulate with silicon.  

Shame me, point fingers at me, put me on a pedestal or make me king, it will not change one simple truism. We are all suffering a heavy burden and technology is illuminating the struggle.  

Wouldn't we choose to build apps, devices, services and systems differently had we known how we would use them? Couldn't facebook be about exploring your values, instead of defining your evolution?
What would it be like if you followed your mind, heart, arms, sleep, diet?
Wouldn't a truly compassionate system allow you to create a compassionate place for you to rest in?

For now, I've decided to accept my own "friend request" as a mindful cyborg. 

Algorithms on behavior

Academic friend on Twitter worried about algorithms on behavior.

As someone who has instrumented and recorded more data in the last six years than most people will in the next 300 let me be very clear about what behavior change entails.

Algorithms for emotions are not that complex.

We need to get over this notion that we are unique little sunflowers.

Copernicus yourself.

Find me a selfie with the front facing camera, shot on a warm sunny day with 7 to 9 hours of sleep and you will find a happy person.

What we've done with technology is changed the aperture of our interactions and relationships to ourselves and how we express those feelings.

Same sunlight, pinhole or canyon.

Behavior is light, tools create the aperture.

Behavior change is found in the constraint not the output.

10 years ago it was very difficult to change behavior.

Our tools and interactions still mainly relied on other people over automation algorithms for feedback loops based on attention.

The worlds best scientist, theorist and philosophers have spent centuries trying to unravel human behavior tied to some causal relationship.

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view human behavior is now very manipulable because of the tools we use to share and construct our identity.

Social media and connected media did this with what I referred to as soft data the ability to create a persona in real time or a way of being seen in a different light.

Wearable devices such as fitbits or home sensors such as thermostats or air quality make this next layer of data more difficult to manipulate I referred to this as hard data.

While you can manipulate the perception of your mood on Facebook your body's reaction to your mood outside of neuroplasticity is nearly impossible to manipulate inside collected data systems.

Essentially homes become lie detector tests.

Yogis and other deep contemplatives have learned to control their biological relationships to their minds with thousands of years worth of practice in contemplation.

Because the human race is at peak attention our ability to focus is so splintered, you can actually pass a tempest into a teapot at this point.

Beyond hard data and soft data we reach the state I referred to as core data.

Core data is the information you were born with and collect and measure via genetic testing microbiomes, and lab work.

Core data is essentially on irrefutable in its weight and irrepressible in its fluidity.

Simply put it would be impossible for normal human beings to change their genetic makeup without outside influences.

That being said it is not impossible to do.

Scientist shown genetic reversal and even repair through environmental augmentation.

The study of this science is epigenetics.

How much of the worlds press has focused on my overwhelming weight-loss know when it's bothered to take time to ask about the other significant changes in my life.

Enhanced intelligence, lean muscle, rest and recovery, social economic and even spirituality.

I simply operate in a constant state of flow.

This is a combination of cognitive iteration through constant feedback loops created from the environment, my body, verified through my genetics, blood work and biomes.

Simply put we are going to build a race of people that use technology to enhance every part of their lives or make them simple feedback systems for other attention biased systems.

We need to stop creating technology to accelerate a race to the bottom of the brainstem.

Our limbic system is a primitive part of our brain whose purpose has long been outlived.

Building systems that rely on eyeballs or attention is going to crush our ability to sustain the economy for another 5 to 10 years.

Most 20-year-olds in computer science or other white-collar jobs will be unemployed within 10 years.

We are Kardashian-ing ourselves out of jobs.

Everyone is a genius with the worlds next billion-dollar idea.

The reality TV shows, convenience economy, celebrity as everyday people all point to a scratch off lottery mentality which reveals the aging system of materialism and the exponential evolution of capitalism.

Technology isn't evolving money is.

Money has decided to force its way into your body onto the walls of your home and become a veil between you in the world.

The most lucrative brands depend not on your attention but on your behavior.

Worlds largest brand harvest your behavior or make it easy to collect and sell your behavior.

The emerging sciences in artificial intelligence and deep learning our computer sciences are attempting to continue to stay relevant in a time where it will be revealed that humans are simply living out their own little groundhog days.

If you're someone who's interested in the future of employment I would encourage you to look into behavior, convenience, and automation. These three skills will guarantee a healthy salary and a good 10 years of work. Simply put behavior is the interface for all goods and services within five years.

Beyond 10 years I would encourage you to look into environmental manipulation to foster genetic repair and enhancement, simply put the world will make YOU a better place.

If you're fortunate enough to be working in 20 years, encourage you to study philosophy anthropology and Buddhism.

I am passionate about creating an alternate economy for disparity in our world's income.

I believe we are at a turning point not only in our ability to support ourselves in the world in our ability to understand and to come to terms with what it means to take care of and show compassion to each other and ourselves.

We are in the future and you are unevenly distributed.