Imagine going an entire day without your smartphone. Unthinkable, right?
During the past decade, we’ve seen technology change our lives in ways that have made it utterly indispensable. And this year, from homeschooling to virtual meetings, food delivery apps and streaming platforms, technology has continued to prove its value. Not only have we seen what technology can do to improve our lives, but we have seen what we can do with technology. Of course, we’ve also seen the expansion of the digital divide in some communities, too.
And this is just the beginning. We’re on the brink of an industrial revolution, and what comes next could affect us all differently. Some of us will benefit, of course, but others might be left behind. So, what will the future of technology look like? Who will define it, and how will it impact our lives?
Over the past few months we’ve been talking with industry insiders on The Girls in Tech Podcast about how they envision the future of tech across various industries, and we’ve walked away with some interesting insights. Here are the five key ways we see the future of tech unfolding.
1. How we connect
This year has been a true test of technology’s ability to keep us mobile and connected while we sheltered in place. While the Internet of Things (IoT) has already altered the way we live our lives inside and outside of our homes, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the ways in which technology will become an integral part of our lives. We’ve already seen explosive growth in e-commerce with an increase in the use of delivery apps and online shopping.
The pervasiveness of these apps and IoT devices is a clear indicator — the AI-powered household is inevitable. And, according to Joanna Peña-Bickley, Head of Research & Design for Alexa Devices at Amazon and the founder of Designed By Us, these connected homes will be coded — soon everyone, from electricians to plumbers, will need to understand code.
2. How we move
When it comes to transportation, tech is taking us to the next level. Consumers want vehicles that will make time spent on the road safer and more enjoyable. Auto manufacturers are looking to autonomy as the next frontier, with the development of more accurate positioning and navigation systems. With increased safety and reliability, the future of cars will become a lifestyle as auto manufacturers are innovating vehicles to become extensions of our everyday experiences. Not only have we started seeing safer and smarter vehicles, but car interiors will be furnished with the latest developments in infotainment to keep us engaged while we make our way safely to our destination. Speaking of which, the revolution of the daily commute will be all about micro-mobility with transportation solutions for that pesky last mile. Get ready to make driving your next hobby!
3. How we care for our health
As life expectancy increases, our focus is likely to shift to quality of life. And with an emphasis on well-being, we’ll likely be turning to various technologies.
These days, we have access to countless mobile apps and wearable devices that count our calories, track our steps and monitor our heart rates. Technology will likely play a huge role in helping us maintain our health moving forward. Particularly with the advent of telemedicine, wellness technology designed to treat and prevent chronic health conditions will give us the tools we need to fulfill the promise of long healthy lives.
4. How we make decisions
Regardless of how advanced we are, certain life moments — such as buying a house — will never lose their significance. At times, this process can feel daunting, and for some, it’s simply inaccessible. But tech companies are on a mission to help simplify and demystify the homebuying process.
Businesses like online real estate company OpenDoor, are digitizing the homebuying experience for their customers and streamline processes for their agents and vendors. Using technology, they are able to empower homebuyers to determine their own journey from touring homes with on-demand access to conducting their own inspections. Models like this are especially valuable during the pandemic when we’re trying to limit physical contact.
5. How we embrace perspectives
Tech needs everyone. (We cannot stress this enough.) And as tech companies continue to embrace and drive diversity, we can expect to see more perspectives reflected in our daily interactions with technology. From representations of communities of color in movies to the evolution of femtech, every voice plays a valuable role in the evolution of technology, and ultimately the evolution of ourselves. That’s why your voice is needed.
Yes, lots of exciting developments await us. Developments that promise to empower us, mobilize us, help us to care for ourselves, and help us to understand one another. These tech advances will impact the way we live our lives and broaden job opportunities for women in tech — so, the future of tech, as we see it, is bright.