People have a tendency to hold onto what they know. I am not a psychologist but I would guess this is grounded in some need to make sense or control the world around us. Whatever the explanation, I find it to be interesting considering the times we are living in.
Anyone who reads my content regularly knows I tend to lean towards writing about the future. It is a fascination of my with a lot of time spent researching "where things are going". We are at a point where a decade worth of technological change could equate to what use to take 50 years. This is mind-blowing stuff.
It is evident that most people do not want their minds blown. Simply put, it is too much for them. Unless it is something where there are a lot of reference points, few will consider it. Then, when a proclamation is made of how things change, reference points are drawn where there are none.
I will give a couple of examples of how this plays out.
Let us start by looking at smart phones. This is a technology that saw the merging of mobile phones, computers, and the Internet. By the time they were introduced in the late 2000s, all three of these components were something people could understand. They had a lot of reference points using each technology for more than a decade.
Thus, the idea of a smart phone was not too far-fetched for people to grasp. Even the idea of mobile communications gave people time to adjust since it was shown on Star Trek. Again, when flip phones showed up, it was something we could process.
Now let us take a look at CRISPR. This is a field that caught people by surprise and blew their minds. Seriously, how many of us stay up on the advancements in gene editing? The idea, for most of us, is outside the realm of anything we can process. How in the world could the average person be prepared for something like that?
In reality, this is such a huge leap that we cannot process the implications of the technology. Thus, when we are fed the idea of "designer babies", that is what we embrace. Overlooked are thousands of other aspects to this technology and the impact it can have.
Of course, when we look back at things in hindsight, we realize the potential they were wielding at the time. Napster make headlines because it was a direct assault on the record industry. Who can forget Lars from Metallica acting like records were his children. At the time, it made sense to sue people who were downloading music for free, thus violating the copyright laws.
Looking at the implications, how many at the time would believe we were witnessing the beginning of the elimination of CDs and, eventually, DVDs. A decade later, both were basically gone.
I often use the example of Netflix because it is epitomizes what happens and how quickly it can take place. Blockbuster spent decades preying upon small video stores, putting most of them out of business (if it didn't buy them). It was the largest video rental company in the world.
Netflix started in 1998 but did not reach mass consciousness until a decade later. It took a just shy of a decade before we became accustomed to the idea of the red packets showing up with DVDs in them. Of course, while that was taking place, the company was expanding its offering for this new service called "streaming".
By 2010, the largest video rental company entered into bankruptcy. The fallout for Blockbuster showed its head in roughly 5 years.
I bring these points up to show how far-fetched something seems at the time yet end up altering society very quickly. In 2005, it was crazy to think that CDs and DVDs would be basically defunct. After all, how would we get music and movies if that was the case?
Looking back, it seems logical.
If that is the case, then why do people have such a tough time believe that a large portion of banks, like the newspapers before them, could be wiped out in a decade? Just because something had a hold for over a century does not mean it will continue. After all, look at the havoc Elon Musk and Tesla is having on the automobile industry. Does anyone really believe that all of the top 7 or 8 car companies will be around in a decade?
I wrote an article the other day about Web 3.0 to illustrate some of what is taking place out there. What was described in that article is being worked on today. There are companies across the globe working on different aspects of each of the technologies mentioned. To think that we are not moving in that direction is the far-fetched idea in my opinion.
Quite simply, a 3D internet is too much for people to comprehend. People today understand search to be typing in a word to get a bunch of words back. This all takes place on a screen which is the gateway to this world.
That is not how information is going to be in the future. Search at that time will include both the digital and physical world. Instead of trying to find where the nearest Italian restaurant is, search is going to include what is the present location of your grandmother's wedding ring.
This is possible because there will be a digital copy of our entire physical world. Data is already starting to provide the foundation for this. What do you think Waymo and Tesla's autonomous driving programs are doing? All that data is allowing those systems to generate a digital representation of all they "see", enabling the system to maneuver just like a human would.
We, as humans, tend to be slow with change. This does not bode well for what is coming. The situation gets more difficult the older one is. Millennials have an easier time adapting since their world was nothing but chance since they were born. Those of us who were a little older, we grew up in a time when change, at least at our level, was slow to emerge.
Thus, it is important for us to suspend our beliefs when looking at a lot of this. The potential for the technologies in front of us is far greater than most of us can imagine. Trust me when I state that industries are going to collapse over the next decade. Just like there were companies involved in video rentals and CD/DVD production which are no more, we are going to see the same thing happen across dozens of industries.
Here is one: do you think there will be car dealerships in another decade? I would not bet on it.
Another important factor in all of this is control. Just because an entity is powerful today does not mean it will be 5 years from now. This is also something that seems hard for many to grasp. Billion dollar companies are popping up all over the place. It is a fact that can place a tremendous strain on this who are the incumbent.
The world of retail is being turned on its ear due to online shopping. Malls are suffering while traditional retail outlets are claiming bankruptcy all over the place.
Many are surprised that the devastation is happening in a time when online sales amount to about 10% of the total. That means 90% is still done in a physical store. Yet look at what took place. How will things look when that number doubles over the next decade as it is expected to?
The point is that it does not take a great deal of change for industries to be obliterated. What happens if 10% of the holdings in banks end up in cryptocurrency? What does that do to the banking system? How will things change if 10% of the financial transactions move from Wall Street to decentralized exchanges? What is the impact on the Internet providers if 10% of the people access the Internet through mesh networks?
We are dealing with some very powerful stuff that is going to alter society forever. Each day, we see the expansion as progress is made in each area. What really sets things going is when the advancements start to merge the technologies. Convergence is much more powerful, bringing us to exponential levels.
Our linear minds have difficulty grasping this. We are accustomed going from point A to point B. However, as evidenced by the smart phone, we see the speed of things when technologies converge. The growth rate becomes unprecedented.
We are going to see a lot of that over the next 10 years.
How prepared are we mentally for that is the question.
If you found this article informative, please give an upvote and resteem.