The future is complex. It arrives quickly like strong wave or slowly like a gradual tide, dependent on existing contexts. The pace of successful, new applications and businesses is dependent not only on established infrastructures, install bases, and technological capabilities, but cultural settings as well.
While considering what 2016 might have in store for us technologically, I am struck by the number of cultural live-wires awaiting us. There is always a gap between what we can do, what we understand, and what we’re comfortable with, but today gap seems wider than usual. Over the last decade, people have acclimitized to the mobile/social norm. But this mass adoption — a Great Digital Onboarding—has staged the population into a network ready for computation and analysis. As this network has matured into a stable, more stagnant ecosystem dominated by Google, Facebook and Apple, we will begin to see new companies not building applications for people to join, but applications for analyzing the people already present. This is a shocking shift. The apparatus of technology will not be presented as a space for people, but as a mechanism pointed directly at them.
This change is why I believe the gap between capability and comprehension will snap back. As successful applications for processing our digital selves emerge, conversations will be kicked off in an attempt to negotiate a comfortable future.
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