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
Online banking for stiff fingers and weak eyeshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Online-banking-for-stiff-fingers-and-weak-eyes.aspxOnline banking for stiff fingers and weak eyes
The new agenda enhances the use of research infrastructurehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-new-agenda-enhances-the-use-of-research-infrastructure.aspxThe new agenda enhances the use of research infrastructure
An export product tougher than nailshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/An-export-product-tougher-than-nails.aspxAn export product tougher than nails
Impulse 1/2016https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2016.aspxImpulse 1/2016
Comfy but energy efficient homeshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Comfy-but-energy-efficient-homes.aspxComfy but energy efficient homes
Energy solutions and the 2050 goalshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Energy-solutions-and-the-2050-goals.aspxEnergy solutions and the 2050 goals
We cannot afford not to have robotshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/We-cannot-afford-not-to-have-robots.aspxWe cannot afford not to have robots
Risk management in an increasingly complex worldhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Risk-management-in-an-increasingly-complex-world.aspxRisk management in an increasingly complex world
Ambassadors of service-mindednesshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Ambassadors-of-service-mindedness.aspxAmbassadors of service-mindedness
Impulse 1/2017https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2017.aspxImpulse 1/2017
Tracking peoplehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Tracking-people.aspxTracking people
The energy sector is jointly preparing for cyber threatshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-energy-sector-is-jointly-preparing-for-cyber-threats.aspxThe energy sector is jointly preparing for cyber threats
Taking the bioeconomy to a new level through digitalisationhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Taking-the-bioeconomy-to-a-new-level-through-digitalisation.aspxTaking the bioeconomy to a new level through digitalisation
Maintenance support for astronautshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Maintenance-support-for-astronauts.aspxMaintenance support for astronauts
International entrepreneurship does not happen overnight it needs to be nurturedhttps://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
Jari Gustafsson: Old and new workhorses as recession beatershttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Old-and-new-workhorses-as-recession-beaters.aspxJari Gustafsson: Old and new workhorses as recession beaters
Senior Scientist Jukka Hemila, VTT: From technology hype to customer understandinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Senior-Scientist-Jukka-Hemila-VTT-From-technology-hype-to-customer-understanding.aspxSenior Scientist Jukka Hemila, VTT: From technology hype to customer understanding
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
Clearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technologyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Clearing-the-way-for-new-materials-with-ChemSheet-technology.aspxClearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technology
Robotics – technology with multi-faceted potentialhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Robotics-technology-with-multi-faceted-potential.aspxRobotics – technology with multi-faceted potential
Biobased aromatics essential to the fine chemical industryhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Biobased-aromatics-essential-to-the-fine-chemical-industry.aspxBiobased aromatics essential to the fine chemical industry
New breed of business from cellulosehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/New-breed-of-business-from-cellulose.aspxNew breed of business from cellulose
Transport gets smarthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Transport-gets-smart.aspxTransport gets smart
Transition in the shipping industry: intelligent ship´s bridgeshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Intelligent-ship-bridges.aspxTransition in the shipping industry: intelligent ship´s bridges
Towards bioeconomy with the power of woodhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Towards-bioeconomy-with-the-power-of-wood.aspxTowards bioeconomy with the power of wood
Modelling and simulation facilitateshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Modelling-and-simulation-facilitates.aspxModelling and simulation facilitates
Digitalisation in closing the gaphttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digitalisation-in-closing-the-gap.aspxDigitalisation in closing the gap
Can a phone help you achieve peace of mind?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Can-a-phone-help-you-achieve-peace-of-mind.aspxCan a phone help you achieve peace of mind?
Impulse 1/2018https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2018.aspxImpulse 1/2018
Return on investmentshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Return-on-investments.aspxReturn on investments
Finland’s old nuclear research reactor to be decommissioned – New Centre for Nuclear Safety under constructionhttps://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
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
Digitalisation of the shipping industry requires cutting-edge researchhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digitalisation-of-the-shipping-industry-requires-cutting-edge-research.aspxDigitalisation of the shipping industry requires cutting-edge research
Gerontechnology providing everyday assistance and safetyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Gerontechnology-providing-everyday-assistance-and-safety.aspxGerontechnology providing everyday assistance and safety
Digital ecosystems are emerginghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digital-ecosystems-are-emerging.aspxDigital ecosystems are emerging
Sensor of tomorrowhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Sensor-of-tomorrow.aspxSensor of tomorrow
Industrial 3D printing takes offhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Industrial-3D-printing-takes-off.aspxIndustrial 3D printing takes off
Finland provides community housing solutions for Namibiahttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finland-provides-community-housing-solutions-for-Namibia.aspxFinland provides community housing solutions for Namibia
Passion spurs researchhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/passion-spurs-research.aspxPassion spurs research
Raw material for fuels, chemicals and food from atmospheric carbon dioxidehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Raw-material-for-fuels-chemicals-and-food-from-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide.aspxRaw material for fuels, chemicals and food from atmospheric carbon dioxide
Finland is aiming towards smart transporthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finland-is-aiming-towards smart-transport.aspxFinland is aiming towards smart transport
Minima Processor LTD – World record in energy efficiency accelerates development of IoThttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Minima-Processor-LTD-World-record-in-energy-efficiency-accelerates-development-of-IoT.aspxMinima Processor LTD – World record in energy efficiency accelerates development of IoT
The rise of robotic carshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-rise-of-robotic-cars.aspxThe rise of robotic cars
Turbine blades bring millions in savingshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Turbine-blades-bring-millions-in-savings.aspxTurbine blades bring millions in savings
Food in transitionhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Food-in-transition.aspxFood in transition
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
Impulse 2/2017https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2017.aspxImpulse 2/2017
The story of Finlandhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-story-of-Finland.aspxThe story of Finland
VTT’s spin-off GrainSense puts a laboratory in farmers’ handshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/VTTs-spin-off-GrainSense-puts-a-laboratory-in-farmers-hands.aspxVTT’s spin-off GrainSense puts a laboratory in farmers’ hands