Sign In
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


 

 

VTT Impulsehttps://www.vttresearch.com/ImpulseVTT Impulse
Towards carbon-neutral materialshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Towards-carbon-neutral-materials.aspxTowards carbon-neutral materials
Towards patient-centred, personalised healthcarehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Towards-patient-centred-personalised-healthcare.aspxTowards patient-centred, personalised healthcare
Cyber security modelled on the vaccination programmehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cyber-security-modelled-on-the-vaccination-programme.aspxCyber security modelled on the vaccination programme
A birthday gift from us to ourselveshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-birthday-gift-from-us-to-ourselves.aspxA birthday gift from us to ourselves
All sights on generationhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/All-sights-on-generation.aspxAll sights on generation
Are environmental claims believable?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Are-environmental-claims-believable.aspxAre environmental claims believable?
Better beer based on long-term researchhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Better-beer-based-on-long-term-research.aspxBetter beer based on long-term research
Boost for propeller developmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Boost-for-propeller-development.aspxBoost for propeller development
Brazil paves the way for bioenergyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Brazil-paves-the-way-for-bioenergy.aspxBrazil paves the way for bioenergy
Challenges conceal opportunitieshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Challenges-conceal-opportunities.aspxChallenges conceal opportunities
Comfy but energy efficient homeshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Comfy-but-energy-efficient-homes.aspxComfy but energy efficient homes
Designers needed in printed technologyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Designers-needed-in-printed-technology.aspxDesigners needed in printed technology
Developers of the futurehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Developers-of-the-future.aspxDevelopers of the future
Tua Huomo: Energy production and use – smart choices have an impacthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Energy-production-and-use–smart-choices-an-impact.aspxTua Huomo: Energy production and use – smart choices have an impact
From a fishing port to a model district for smart energyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/From-a-fishing-port-to-a-model-district-for-smart-energy.aspxFrom a fishing port to a model district for smart energy
Intelligence for machineshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Intelligence-for-machines.aspxIntelligence for machines
Minister of Energy would like to expand emissions tradinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Minister-of-Energy-would-like-to-expand-emissions-trading.aspxMinister of Energy would like to expand emissions trading
More than siliconhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/More-than-just-Silicon.aspxMore than silicon
Petri Kalliokoski: Artificial intelligence moves from words to deedshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Petri-Kalliokoski-Artificial-intelligence-moves-from-words-to-deeds.aspxPetri Kalliokoski: Artificial intelligence moves from words to deeds
Salofa creates rapid tests for monitoring health and the environmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Salofa-creates-rapid-tests-for-monitoring-health-and-the-environment.aspxSalofa creates rapid tests for monitoring health and the environment
Same old routine for the next 100 yearshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Same-old-routine-for-the-next-100-years.aspxSame old routine for the next 100 years
Swift and agile in business and in the foresthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Swift-and-agile-in-business-and-in-the-forest.aspxSwift and agile in business and in the forest
VTT Impulsehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/MainPage.aspxVTT Impulse
What's going on in Australia?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Whats-going-on-in-Australia.aspxWhat's going on in Australia?
Digitalization in RTOs: Speeding up the development of bio-based technologies with digitalizationhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digitalisation-in-RTOs-Speeding-up-the-development-of-bio-based-technologies-with-digitalization.aspxDigitalization in RTOs: Speeding up the development of bio-based technologies with digitalization
Modelling and simulation facilitateshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Modelling-and-simulation-facilitates.aspxModelling and simulation facilitates
Tracking peoplehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Tracking-people.aspxTracking people
Could smartglasses replace smartphones? VTT spin-off Dispelix to commercialise a virtual display for glasseshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Could-smartglasses-replace-smartphones-VTT-spin-off-Dispelix-to-commercialise-a-virtual-display-for-glasses.aspxCould smartglasses replace smartphones? VTT spin-off Dispelix to commercialise a virtual display for glasses
Hybrid methods offer new solutions for metals recyclinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Hybrid-methods-offer-new-solutions-for-metals-recycling.aspxHybrid methods offer new solutions for metals recycling
Bioeconomy and circular economyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Bioeconomy-and-circular-economy.aspxBioeconomy and circular economy
Health and wellbeinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Health-and-wellbeing.aspxHealth and wellbeing
Low carbon energyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Low-carbon-energy.aspxLow carbon energy
Smart industryhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Smart-industry.aspxSmart industry
Digital societyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digital-society.aspxDigital society
Smart Citieshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Smart-Cities.aspxSmart Cities
Business developmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-development.aspxBusiness development
Smarter products and modules – produced more efficientlyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Smarter-products-and-modules-–-produced-more-efficiently.aspxSmarter products and modules – produced more efficiently
By measuring you can improvehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/By-measuring-you-can-improve.aspxBy measuring you can improve
A man driven by optimism and curiosityhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-man-driven-by-optimism-and-curiosity.aspxA man driven by optimism and curiosity
Cleaner city traffic with wood-based dieselhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cleaner-city-traffic-with-wood-based-diesel.aspxCleaner city traffic with wood-based diesel
Food in transitionhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Food-in-transition.aspxFood in transition
Why do so many women feel chilly indoorshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Why-do-so-many-women-feel-chilly-indoors.aspxWhy do so many women feel chilly indoors
Transport gets smarthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Transport-gets-smart.aspxTransport gets smart
At the digital forefront of mininghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/At-the-digital-forefront-of-mining.aspxAt the digital forefront of mining
Sustainability and acceptability for mining operationshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Sustainability-and-acceptability-for-mining-operations.aspxSustainability and acceptability for mining operations
Business for transportationhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-for-transportation.aspxBusiness for transportation
Finnish fuel cell technology aims for the worldhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finnish-fuel-cell-technology-aims-for-the-world.aspxFinnish fuel cell technology aims for the world
Converting rags to design clotheshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Converting-rags-to-design-clothes.aspxConverting rags to design clothes
How to become a leading country in flexible energy production systemshttps://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