Last month, people celebrated Back to the Future Day, a light-hearted observance of the day the characters in the 1989 hit film Back to the Future Part II traveled ahead to 2015.
But technology is advancing at a much faster pace today than it was 26 years ago. The progress we will experience in the next five to 10 years will definitely out-measure that of the last five to 10 years. We are just around the bend from life- and world-changing technologies we can’t yet imagine.
Here are four reasons to be really excited about tech innovation, which is transforming everything:
1. Tech fosters collaboration and connectedness.
Technology is blamed for causing less communication and connection between people. Although innovations like smartphones and social media were built with the intention of bringing people closer together, in many ways they have done just the opposite.
We are constantly on our phones, missing out on face-to-face interactions and distracting us from what’s happening in the moment. In fact, people between the ages of 18 and 36 check their smartphones an average of 43 times per day, according to research published by SDL in 2014.
But as technology becomes more advanced and more integrated into our lives via the internet of things, we will become more connected and social than ever before. There will no longer be physical blocks that we carry around and stare at while dining, chatting or working. Everything will be seamless and integrated, which will yield unbelievable collaboration and connectedness.
2. Tech is improving medical care and health.
Innovations in technology are radically changing the way healthcare is delivered and monitored. Smartphones, tablets and wearables are increasingly being used and are allowing patients to take control of their own health.
After all, seven in 10 U.S. adults already track at least one health indicator such as weight, diet or a symptom of a condition, according to a 2013 survey from Pew Research. In this new system, healthcare is evolving to become proactive rather than reactive, allowing patients to potentially catch and treat problems earlier.
In addition, technology allows treatment to become more individualized. Those with rare and specific illnesses, disabilities and injuries will benefit from new technology and the tailored treatments they allow. Providers, hospitals and health systems can personalize and track treatment plans to better fit the needs of individual patients, and patients can personalize their exercise regimens, diets and health goals.
Not to mention that advances in science and technology are ushering in a new era of medical research that will likely cure many diseases in the coming decade or two.
Health tech and biotech have the power to transform the lives of millions, if not billions, of people in the not-too-distant future.
3. Tech increases the abundance of resources.
Technology is being used to spread food, wealth and other resources around the world. Agritech innovations are aiming to increase the amount of water and food supplies, as well as their quality. Crowdfunding websites are allowing charities to better connect with communities around the world, to raise the funds they need. Innovations are allowing medicines and vaccines to be created and distributed at lower cost, increasing access to necessary treatments around the world.
Technology will show where the greatest needs are and then help to alleviate them. With the help of new innovations in technology, poverty, hunger and disease will decrease tremendously in the coming decades.
4. Tech gives us more time.
Technology is increasingly eliminating jobs. The workforce is being automated, and robots can perform many jobs more efficiently than humans can -- and this will continue at an exponential rate.
As more and more jobs are automated, and resources become abundant, we will have more time to grow our intellects and our hearts. We can focus on the arts, obtain knowledge and personally grow and help others. We will live less by the sweat of our brow, and more by the inspiration of the mind and heart.
What predictions do you have for the next wave of tech innovations? Let us know in the comments.