While it took more than half a century for the automobile or landline to win over 50 million users, it only took 12 years for the laptop, 5 for the internet and 3 for Facebook. In a world where new technologies are adopted ever faster, it’s hard to know what we’ll be using by 2030, or how much we should trust them. We get the perspective of Valérie Négrier, Assistant GM, Change Prospective Manager at Dentsu Consulting.
The main areas of future development: 5G, AI, blockchain and more…
If we try to imagine the future, we might focus on three things: technologies themselves, their fields of application and the challenges that arise from them.
Artificial intelligence, 5G (which is now being deployed around the world), blockchain (which promises much but is still relatively unknown) and the internet “of everything” should all play a key role in the coming years. In the longer term, quantum computing should also be up there.
The main impact of these technologies will be on people (in terms of health and well-being) on smart cities and mobility, on information and media as well as on currency and payment methods. No less than 18 banks including the European Central Bank are considering and working on digital currency projects. “There will be real disruption in this area,” says Valérie Négrier.
Finally, at the heart of the issue are questions related to security, personal data, ethics, law and the environment. These are all questions that are relevant to the concepts of trust and transparency, and which will have to be answered very soon.
Towards an augmented human
Is ubiquitous technology, which is increasingly invisible, a danger to our free will? Are we about to lose control and rely on blind faith? Valérie Négrier doesn’t share this fear when it comes to connected devices. “We’re seeing that we’re moving towards an augmented individual rather than one who has lost their decision-making capability, she says. What works best are tools that support decision-making, or that help or alert people, so they feel more secure in what they’re doing, rather than tools that take control of our decisions.”
She believes one of the best examples is the car. “Not so long ago, people were predicting that autonomous vehicles would be driving around in 2021. We can see we’re still far from it, not so much because of technological reasons as regulatory reasons, says Négrier. We also know that people drive for pleasure and this is an important factor. On the other hand, we’re seeing driver assistance technologies have become more popular and today’s vehicles are increasingly equipped with safety sensors. Autonomous vehicles could become more prevalent when it comes to shared mobility, for example public transport via autonomous shuttles. Personal vehicles are less likely to be fully autonomous in the medium term.”
Trust in information and the media: the great unknown of the decade
One of the great challenges of the coming years will be information and media. “The trio of 'artificial intelligence, information and ethics’ is particularly one to watch, for example with the deployment of ‘deepfakes’ or videos that have been modified by artificial intelligence that are so feared during elections,” says Négrier. “Added to the risk of ‘deepfakes’ and other ‘fake news’ you now have ‘filter bubbles’, which filter information that web users see using algorithms so that they only see opinions that conform to their own beliefs. This constitutes a form of manipulation which is a major concern and it is a phenomenon that is too serious and important not to be addressed in the years to come.”
A return to the concept of progress?
“Innovation has replaced progress… and it’s not necessarily good news,” said Étienne Klein, physicist and philosopher, during last year’s Napoléons. “The priority is to move from technologically feasible to technologically desirable and to ensure that technological innovation becomes a source of social and economic progress” concludes Négrier. This is a crucial equation for the future and is everyone’s responsibility.