What's Next, Electric Airliners? // In 1903, Wilbur Wright successfully flew the world's first airplane for less than one minute, and everything changed. Neil Armstrong would walk on the moon only 66 years later. In 1953, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins, and Francis Crick won the Nobel Prize by exploiting biophysicist Rosalind Franklin's work in co-discovering the double helix DNA structure, and everything changed. Medicine was changed so drastically by this discovery that some diseases were eradicated altogether. On January 2016, private citizens successfully launched the SpaceX Falcon 9 to deliver the Jason-3 Earth observation satellite into space. A Virgin Galactic rocket plane blasted to the edge of space in late 2018, capping off years of difficult testing to become the first US commercial human flight to reach space since America’s shuttle program ended. What's next, an electric airliner? Will airlines ditch their gas-guzzling fleets for clean-burning electric jets? If that happens (it almost certainly will), everything will change again.
:: think critically about tech :: The 2020 electric NIO EP9 is one of the fastest cars in the world, gas or electric. However, are electric cars as pollution-free as they are touted? If the electricity used in an electric car was produced with coal, then isn't an electric car a coal-burning car?
Will Google Earth become Google Live? // Will we be able to access a live feed of the Earth from the Internet instead of still photos of blurry neighborhoods? The answer is "yes." Live satellite cameras fed directly to Google will replace satellites taking pictures from space, and everything will change. Will parents be able to locate their children with Google? Will the police be able to track criminal activity on Google Live? Will a program like "Google Live" profoundly affect our concept of privacy? If law enforcement can see you speeding from cameras in outer space, will traffic cameras become a thing of the past? The answer to all of these questions is "yes."
The next question is, "When do all of these potentially world-changing ideas come to fruition?" The answer is, "Sooner than you think." Technology, inventions, concepts, and knowledge are advancing so fast that it often seems like an indistinguishable blur. So, how fast is "fast?" No one knows for sure, but the consequences of not knowing are dire, especially in business. Paradigms shift so quickly that it's difficult to decide what technological concepts are real, what will last, and what will happen next.
Information technology is firmly based in business. Consider a business selling the first MP3 digital music player in 1999. It held less than 10 songs and cost $450. Today, MP3 players hold tens of thousands of songs. As a matter of fact, since the dawn of smartphones and applications like Spotify, the MP3 player has become redundant.
:: think critically about tech :: The Adidas Parley shoe is made entirely from recycled ocean plastics. Is this a business model for Adidas AG, the German multi-national company, are a marketing strategy, or both? (or neither?)
As a business, were you ready for that paradigm shift? Did it occur to you that MP3 players would lose ground or do you have a glut of MP3 inventory in your back room that you're now forced to put on sale? Start to consider one of the primary business tools: the personal computer (PC). In 1988, a single state-of-the-art PC cost $14,000. Today, $14,000 can buy one hundred business-ready personal computers that are exponentially faster and more powerful. Will PC prices and power change as radically in the future? The answer is a resounding "yes." Making decisions about an always changing, ever-moving technology now starts to seem unfeasible.
Why Keeping Up Matters // Time to make a critical business decision: What is the correct smartphone for your employees? Let's imagine that you're the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a medium-sized pharmaceutical company. You need to purchase 1,250 of the right smartphones for your representatives in the field, today. By the way, if you choose incorrectly, you're fired. If you choose incorrectly, and your competitor chooses appropriately, they win and you lose. Business is not an endeavor where everyone gets a hug and a ribbon for doing their best. Doing your best in business is an assumption; doing it right is an expectation. When it comes to technology and the incredible speed of its advancement, business decisions are as critical as they are difficult, and this is one decision you cannot afford to get wrong. However, there is a way to make sound, tactical, and strategic decisions regarding technology.
:: think critically about tech :: A solar-powered airplane (Solar Impulse) circumnavigated the globe. Based on Moore's Law, is it reasonable to expect low-cost, commercial solar-powered aircraft any time soon?
What comes next, business computers that don't need large local hard-drives to store your computer files? Will application software like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Excel even be installed on business computers or even a local network? Maybe we'll just get subscriptions to any software we need instead of ever having to purchase and install it. In point of fact, none of these concepts are impending, it is already happening. It's called the " Cloud."