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30 August 2016

Tech for Tokyo: Where will we be in four years’ time?

Written by: Justin Westcott, General Manager at Edelman

Innovation, Technology

I was sat watching the Kirin the other day. It’s a fascinating Olympic event, where cyclists race like horses around a track to cross the line first in and win a gold medal. And while watching it, I was taken back to the origins of the sport, to Japan and the home of the next Olympics in four years.

It is often only through these events, these huge once every four year events, that sometimes one takes pause to appreciate progress and the difference this time can make on life. Technology gains can seem to creep up on us, with the world changing ever so slightly day by day that we never really appreciate the changes that have actually been made and how different today really is from yesterday.

Watching the Olympics in Rio, as I was, on multiple screens and accessing journalist commentary from the event through platforms such as Snapchat, I’m reminded just how different this experience was only four short years ago in London.

We live in what some have called “the second half of the chessboard” in what is also referred to as an age of “exponentialism”, where the improvements are happening faster than ever before. When you overlay these hockey stick-like improvements across multiple technology areas, you get what one of the great, and often outspoken futurists, Ray Kurzweril refers to as the law of accelerating returns – a stacking, if you like, of different technology innovations converging. It leads me to think that in just four years’ time the world could feel very different indeed.

2020 has been one of those years far enough in the future, but with also a nice play on words (20:20 vision) that almost every government, technology provider or media title has at some point launched indicatives or predictions all ending in this year. How many will be a reality?

Future vision

As I sit now, and ponder on what life might be like in four years’ time, I can very easily imagine a future whereby these possibilities could become a reality.

  • I’m sat at home but actually feel like I’m at the opening ceremony, witnessing first-hand the man-made meteor shower they have planned, using my VR headset. It’s better than actually being there
  • A fan of the Kirin, but also the 200 metres, that are both being broadcast at the same time I’ve decided to have two 50 inch screens in my house to watch. Through my AR headset I now have two huge ‘virtual’ screens fixed to two walls in my house. By the way no-one has physical screens anymore, they’re so 2018
  • Due to the efficient returns from the wide adoption of AI in the workplace, and the continued fall in costs of living, everyone now only works four day weeks, so I look forward to my three day binge watching of Olympic content
  • I really like what the presenter is wearing, great jacket. I press one button, and an hour later the exact outfit is delivered via Amazon Drone delivery to my landing pad (a small beacon) that I lay out in the garden so it knows where to land. Such a good service, I’ll probably order some dinner later and have it delivered in that way
  • My friends like to get together and watch the football, so I’ve fired up Facebook VR and we’re all now together virtually to watch the match on one super-sized screen. Just like being out with them, but we don’t have to leave our house and worry about travelling
  • Whilst I’m now very much the wrong side of 40 I’ve actually never been healthier, and on my last health check was showing signs of increased youth. The stem cells I had injected into my shoulder has really cleared up that niggling sports injury and those I put into my face have really cleared up the wrinkles and bags under my eyes
  • I’m taking the kids out tonight, they have athletic training, but thankfully we can just all keep watching the Olympics as we will jump into a driverless Uber and share a virtual screen seamlessly taking our in-home experience out on the road
  • As I look out of the window, little digital pop-ups over lay the buildings we pass, showing special offers tailored to me – should I wish to stop and nip in. I don’t want to be late for the kids’ practice though. They fine you if you’re late.

Just four years. Four long years…

HYPER-REALITY from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

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