Technology has never been so pervasive in an individual’s life. Though historically we have trusted human interaction over automated computer processes, recently, we’ve become more accustomed to the influence of technology on our daily routines. Therefore, it is changing how humans think, communicate, and work.
New tools allow us to do more in less time and communicate ideas instantly and effortlessly. They provide the freedom to focus on more profound problems.
Tech Changes Human Cognition
Mobile technologists are at the forefront of this movement. They’re actively designing and developing new technologies that shape the future, and they are excited about the possibilities it has to offer. In our 2017 Technology and the Human Condition survey, we’ve discovered that experts, more than mainstream consumers, understand the benefits of technology. This mentality comes with many changes to the way we view its role in our lives.
Product teams envision a future where the ubiquitous presence of computers is as common with non-technical consumers as it is with technologists. We surmise that technologists’ immersion in a culture of innovation has led them to have a more forward-thinking perspective. This more radical outlook has lead to a greater trust in technology.
“Technology removes the most menial and unfulfilling tasks for humans. Now we have time and energy for more abstract thinking. Technology has eliminated our need to continuously fight for survival.” – MARCUS SMITH, SOFTWARE ENGINEER, STABLE|KERNEL
The Effects of Artificial Intelligence
Technology is taking over more routine, repetitive tasks. As a result, humans are trusting technology to make our lives simpler as AI is creeping into our homes, transportation and our smartphones. Driverless cars are on the road in many of our cities. Though, just a few years ago, we wouldn’t have entertained the idea that we could hail a private car through an app with the swipe of a finger.
Fifty-nine percent of our survey respondents say they would ride in a driverless Uber car today.
Now it is possible to travel without having to interact with a human at all. This kind of disruption has transformed our concept of what we consider to be normal and safe.
But, are mainstream Americans ready to embrace direct communication with a computer? AI enthusiasts seem to think so. Research firm Tractica estimates by 2021, more than 40 million homes will have a home assistant. Amazon’s industry-leading Alexa is now a household name; they’ve sold more than five million units since 2015.
Google jumped into the smart assistant space in Nov. 2016 with the launch of the Google Home. Though Google and Amazon are not the only smart assistant products on the market, they are expected to sell more than 24 million combined units in 2017.
While Amazon currently leads the smart assistant category, 50 percent of our survey respondents believe Google will eventually outpace Amazon. These same respondents also believe Google will be the most innovative tech giant in 20 years.
Related: A Deep Dive Into Machine Translation
The Internet of Things
Personal home assistants are one of the newest connected home devices to join the Internet of Things. Gartner research suggests more than 6.4 billion devices will connect to the Internet in 2016. This number is expected to reach anywhere from 25 to 50 billion by 2020. We asked those surveyed what they thought about the future of IoT, and the majority believe IoT will achieve widespread adoption quickly. In fact, 72 percent of respondents agree or somewhat agree that all electronics will have an IP address by 2050.
Technology merely enables humanity to be more productive. It is a tool meant to enhance our abilities to create solutions to the problems we face as a society. Ultimately, human need and desire will drive innovation.