We have just come out of 2018, and I would consider it to be one of the slowest years yet for innovation in tech.
Not say that their hasn’t been any innovation or important events that have taken place – I see examples such as Lightning Network launching, Dropbox & Spotify IPOs as pretty significant. The three examples sit on the back of innovation from almost 10 years.
If we look at other innovations from around the same time (2008) – we see the largest social networks of 2018, finding their feet and really taking off. Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr.
Even more importantly for what the future of TV and digital entertainment – Hulu was not even a year old, Netflix was itself only a year old at that point and Amazon Video was not far behind.
It would be wrong not to at least mention the launch of the original iPhone which came in 2007 – and change everything.
So my thought is; where is the innovation now, and what will come next?
One area I am certainly following is the push to decentralised the internet – and embrace the ‘original’ winning formula (the competing ‘internet’ was centralised – and quite unlucky to not win out).
This is actually one of the reasons I have started blogging again.
We spend so much time in these walled gardens, creating a new version of ourselves to simply gain satisfaction from our friends and acquaintances – or even strangers. Not only is it unhealthy, we are relying on algorithms to decide what information we consume.
Decentralised is having your content spread across the internet in various entities brought together by you device. From this point independently built apps – (how we have many different web browsers to view the same websites) can decide for itself how it shows you the content, and what feature are important to you – (again how you may choose browser extensions)
Having a single service – such as Facebook, hold not only all your likes and interests, but your reviews, location history, family photos, contacts is only a privacy disaster waiting to happen.
Having for example photos stored on a separate service to Facebook or Instagram could provide better quality image storage for a small fee – something that can’t be bought from Facebook. Whilst products such as Flickr and 500px do have higher quality. They are still closed platforms, and couldn’t be inserted into a social feed.
Being open allows for entities to compete on feature lists, interchangeability and pricing.
Now, the decentralised internet can’t operate for free – without yourselves becoming the product through targeted advertising. Which is how all the free services are ‘paid’ for. Open creates a competitive market that will in no doubt undercut the existing paid services, and have more comprehensive feature sets compared to the existing centralised platforms.
Forget the dream of flying cars, there are too many restrictions, big issues around noise, and very limited infrastructure. The future is self-driving cars, and it’s here already.
Waymo One, launched their self-driving service and is available to the public in small area of Arizona. Won’t be long before this expands and be more readily available.
Uber are already trying to figure out how they fit into the self-driving world, and personally I think they will follow the airline model and simply sell seats. Third party companies will do the heavy lifting in terms of managing fleets.
Almost all car manufactures are working on self-driving vehicles, along side all electric, this will push them into the next full cycle of vehicles. Each and ever car currently on the road being replaced with electric cars – with varying levels of autonomy. Primarily due to them being cheaper to run, less moving parts, so less repairs, and longer life parts including batteries.
From the first cycle, we will then see another cycle where the autonomy will be far superior than the first cycle, safety will be proven and the insurance industry will price human drivers out of the market. Batteries will be even better, motors will be even more efficient , and most noticeably, car designs will massively change.
My prediction is 5 years at most for self driving to be common enough that more than 50% of the population has used one at some point in their life. Likely with a ‘driver’.
First cycle would also start around this time, with the second cycle hitting at most, 10 years later.
This is potentially huge business for the car industry, and where many would predict the end for car markers, this is potentially just the beginning.