Information about science based innovations, solid facts to support decision-making, performance and business development for VTT’s partners, customers and anyone interested in high technology and its applications.
A magazine on science, technology and business

​​​

Same old routine for the next 100 years

Matti Apunen | 24.5.2017

​​New technology makes life easier, new technology is infuriatingly difficult. We are more inclined to see drawbacks than progress and productivity growth. The danger in this is that we stop believing in Utopias, a better future.

We have developed future blindness, says American technology guru Kevin Kelly.

His new book, The Inevitable, an insightful and thought-provoking reflection on the future of us and our devices, is this year’s best book on technology. Kelly is worth listening to because he is an old hippy, and converts give the best sermons.

We tend to think about technology in a naive and nostalgic way by turns. We believe that things were once easy and almost problem-free: using landline telephones was so much easier. 

Then we move on to grumbling that if engineers would only think like real people, our endless operating system problems would be solved and our household smart devices would live in endless harmony.

Wrong and wrong again.

Kelly claims that technology has entered a new phase of what he refers to as becoming, of ceaseless transformation. The technological life of the future will be a series of endless upgrades. Features will come and go, default values will not last, menus and user interfaces will transform.

In other words, we will all, more or less, be first-graders in technology – permanently. However, this is not always due to poor user interface design, but the unavoidable, amoeba-like transformation of technology.

The technologies used in fifteen years’ time have not yet been invented and those that are familiar now will change shape kaleidoscopically. In the digital world, the journey from idea to landfill is amazingly short. The average lifespan of a phone application is now just 30 days.

But, because we have future blindness, we no longer see the progress in evolution, but only stagnation, and start to complain.

Whereas futurists once ardently tried to peer into the future, demand has dried up for journeys forward in time. Our Utopias never transpired; the carefree and cheerful plastic future of the Jetsons of 1960s TV fame turned out to be frightening and dangerous. Robots will destroy ordinary people’s jobs, AI is already plotting the destruction of humanity and that damned PC just crashed again.

So we decide that it is safer to cling to the present and are nostalgic about the past.

We think that the true golden age of technology, the age of enormous potential, has gone by. We recall the colourful early days of the Internet and the bold, entrepreneurial types who changed people’s behaviour and made fortunes in the process. Wrong again, points out Kelly.

In 1990, we understood nothing at all about the Internet. Ten years later, we imagined it to be a giant TV with 10,000 channels and wondered what kind of company is capable of producing all those programmes. The company in question is, of course, Humanity Ltd, and the Internet has nothing to do with TV.

In the same way, we know nothing about the Internet and technologies of 2044. That is why, in their turn, the veterans of the 2040s will entertain youngsters with stories of how great it was to be an innovator in 2017, when it was all just getting started.

Wake up, Kelly says – the Internet is only becoming. We are at the very beginning, where every clear-sighted person can see that the best time to start a new business is right now. 

kolumni_EVA_Matti_Apunen_3_muok.jpg

Matti Apunen
Director, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA


 

 

Impulsehttp://www.vttresearch.com/ImpulseImpulse
A birthday gift from us to ourselveshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-birthday-gift-from-us-to-ourselves.aspxA birthday gift from us to ourselves
A future without wastewater?http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-future-without-wastewater.aspxA future without wastewater?
A machine is more humanehttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-machine-is-more-humane.aspxA machine is more humane
At the digital forefront of mininghttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/At-the-digital-forefront-of-mining.aspxAt the digital forefront of mining
Boost for propeller developmenthttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Boost-for-propeller-development.aspxBoost for propeller development
Cell screening leads to new cancer treatmentshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cell-screening-leads-to-new-cancer-treatments.aspxCell screening leads to new cancer treatments
Challenges conceal opportunitieshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Challenges-conceal-opportunities.aspxChallenges conceal opportunities
Finnish expertise for solving global problemshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finnish-expertise-for-solving-global-problems.aspxFinnish expertise for solving global problems
From ideas to major innovationshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/From-drawing-board-to-major-innovation.aspxFrom ideas to major innovations
Health benefits and efficiency without sacrificing food qualityhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Health-benefits-and-efficiency-without-sacrificing-food-quality.aspxHealth benefits and efficiency without sacrificing food quality
VTT Impulsehttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/MainPage.aspxVTT Impulse
Same old routine for the next 100 yearshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Same-old-routine-for-the-next-100-years.aspxSame old routine for the next 100 years
Serious efforts to boost the Finnish economyhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Serious-efforts-to-boost-the-Finnish-economy.aspxSerious efforts to boost the Finnish economy
An export product tougher than nailshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/An-export-product-tougher-than-nails.aspxAn export product tougher than nails
Impulse 2/2014http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2014.aspxImpulse 2/2014
Impulse 1/2016http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2016.aspxImpulse 1/2016
Impulse 2/2015http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2015.aspxImpulse 2/2015
The rise of robotic carshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-rise-of-robotic-cars.aspxThe rise of robotic cars
Impulse 1/2017http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2017.aspxImpulse 1/2017
Impulse 1/2014http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2014.aspxImpulse 1/2014
Impulse 2/2016http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2016.aspxImpulse 2/2016
Impulse 1/2015http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2015.aspxImpulse 1/2015
What's going on in Australia?http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Whats-going-on-in-Australia.aspxWhat's going on in Australia?
Turbine blades bring millions in savingshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Turbine-blades-bring-millions-in-savings.aspxTurbine blades bring millions in savings
How to become a leading country in flexible energy production systemshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/How-to-become-a-leading-country-in-flexible-energy-production-systems.aspxHow to become a leading country in flexible energy production systems
Let's make bioeconomy a realityhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Lets-make-bioeconomy-a-reality.aspxLet's make bioeconomy a reality
International entrepreneurship does not happen overnight it needs to be nurturedhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/International-entrepreneurship-does-not-happen-overnight-it-needs-to-be-nurtured.aspxInternational entrepreneurship does not happen overnight it needs to be nurtured
Before information gets lost in numbershttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Before-information-gets-lost-in-numbers.aspxBefore information gets lost in numbers
All sights on generationhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/All-sights-on-generation.aspxAll sights on generation
Tracking peoplehttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Tracking-people.aspxTracking people
The future 5G network proceeds to test phase in Ouluhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-future-5G-network-proceeds-to-test-phase-in-Oulu.aspxThe future 5G network proceeds to test phase in Oulu
It is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growthhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/It-is-the-duty-of-entrepreneurs-to-seek-growth.aspxIt is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growth
Research with impacthttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Research-with-impact.aspxResearch with impact
Finland’s old nuclear research reactor to be decommissioned – New Centre for Nuclear Safety under constructionhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finlands-old-nuclear-research-reactor-to-be-decommissioned-new-centre-for-nuclear-safety-under-construction.aspxFinland’s old nuclear research reactor to be decommissioned – New Centre for Nuclear Safety under construction
Digital ecosystems are emerginghttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digital-ecosystems-are-emerging.aspxDigital ecosystems are emerging
Professor Tiina Mattila-Sandholm, Valio: Businesses and researchers need to find each other in a new wayhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Professor-Tiina-Mattila-Sandholm-Valio-Businesses-and-researchers-need-to-find-each-other-in-a-new-way.aspxProfessor Tiina Mattila-Sandholm, Valio: Businesses and researchers need to find each other in a new way
More speed to network services with 5Ghttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/More-speed-to-network-services-with-5G.aspxMore speed to network services with 5G
Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn: Renewal of economy will bring new growthhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Renewal-of-economy-will-bring-new-growth.aspxMinister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn: Renewal of economy will bring new growth
Swift and agile in business and in the foresthttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Swift-and-agile-in-business-and-in-the-forest.aspxSwift and agile in business and in the forest
Finland on its way towards low-carbon year 2050http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finland-on-its-way-towards-low-carbon-year-2050.aspxFinland on its way towards low-carbon year 2050
Risk management in an increasingly complex worldhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Risk-management-in-an-increasingly-complex-world.aspxRisk management in an increasingly complex world
The story of Finlandhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-story-of-Finland.aspxThe story of Finland
Demand for energy storage is growing rapidlyhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Demand-for-energy-storage-is-growing-rapidly.aspxDemand for energy storage is growing rapidly
Passion spurs researchhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/passion-spurs-research.aspxPassion spurs research
Quantum standards for the new SI systemhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Quantum-standards-for-the-new-SI-system.aspxQuantum standards for the new SI system
Are environmental claims believable?http://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Are-environmental-claims-believable.aspxAre environmental claims believable?
The perfect pilot environment for Arctic solutionshttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-perfect-pilot-environment-for-Arctic-solutions.aspxThe perfect pilot environment for Arctic solutions
There is no better innovation model in the worldhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/There-is-no-better-innovation-model-in-the-world.aspxThere is no better innovation model in the world
Clearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technologyhttp://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Clearing-the-way-for-new-materials-with-ChemSheet-technology.aspxClearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technology

CONTACT US

P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland
Tel. exchange +358 20 722 111
Opening hours Mon - Fri 8:00 - 16:30,
UTC +2 time zone

CUSTOMER SERVICE

info@vtt.fi
Tel. +358 20 722 7070
Opening hours Mon - Fri 9:00 - 11:00 and 12:00 - 15:00,
UTC +2 time zone