The start of a new year is a time for looking ahead, so the introduction of an audiobook by a noted futurist should be especially welcome.
Emerging Trends is the first in a projected series of five volumes that Maxim Jago is writing especially for IEEE-USA; the overall title of the series is What Will Our World Be Like in Ten Years?
The work of Jago, who is British-born, spans multiple industries — from Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and Extended Reality (XR) — to education and the creative arts. The author of numerous books and online courses, Jago’s volume on video editing with Adobe Premiere Pro is the standard text most film schools use. In addition, millions of people worldwide have viewed his more than 1,800 online tutorials that teach the subject.
With Emerging Trends, IEEE members and other technical professionals need look no further for reliable predictions about how social developments will likely affect contemporary technologies over the next decade. The audiobook offers Jago’s views on about 31 developments he defines as “impactful for several important facets of our lives, in the next ten years. He goes on to pinpoint them as themes that are “the most compelling and worthy of attention.”
Jago is very enthusiastic about A.I., affirming that its importance “cannot be overstated.” He says that systems already in place demonstrate they can manage, gauge, remember and value-judge with greater precision and consistency than humans ever could. Further, Jago predicts increasingly autonomous robotic systems that will depend on A.I. training; or dynamic A.I. systems, that will update and retrain themselves as an ongoing, changing state.
“Natural language interaction with computers is perhaps the most significant of the new technologies that will benefit our species,” Jago says. He goes so far as to envision the day when completely non-technical individuals will routinely use computers and hold ordinary conversations with computers.
Jago’s list of 31 developments also includes such societal issues as socio-political uncertainty, the rich-poor divide and spirituality. He proposes what he calls “an optimistic-realistic outlook,” with the benefits coming from “autonomous robotics, deep learning, socio-economic changes resulting from blockchain, wide-area crowd funding, and environmental controls leading to a new era of potential.”
For this listener, one of Jago’s most provocative and interesting discussions is the matter of Privacy. “Over the next ten years,” he explains, “we are likely to lose almost all of our privacy and, in the main, we won’t care.” Jago equates the trend toward loss of privacy to how ice cream makers market their products, noting, “There is very little positive nutrition in a bowl of ice cream, but knowing it doesn’t stop us from loving it.”
This futurist contends that the benefits associated with sharing our information will seem to outweigh the costs. Jago points out those so-called “free” services will be significantly enhanced, if we agree to share our browsing habits and favorites. With a nod to those who value their privacy, he predicts the evidence so far suggests a positive outcome.
“We are likely to develop encryption and security systems in the next 10 years that are effectively unhackable,” Jago says. What’s more, the author points out the potential for personal data to be used for great good.
“Rather than hemming in users with similar results to their last search, our online platforms have the opportunity to selectively expand our horizons with ideas and information new to us in exactly the ways we might need,” he affirms.
In Emerging Trends, Maxim Jago also discusses where 27 other trends are going in the coming decade. These trends include medical developments, sensor technology, safety, military, the environment, the news media, and agriculture. In light of his extensive background in media technology, Jago also talks about trends evolving in sensor technology, XR, gaming, social media and portable computing.
In short, Maxim Jago’s observations and predictions should be more than enough to kindle — if not ignite — both the curiosity and the imaginations of engineers and other technical professionals.
Beginning 1 January, this new audio book: What Will Our World Be Like in 10 Years – Book 1: Emerging Trends is available free. Click here to go to the page to download your free audiobook in MP3 format or download directly above.
The companion e-book is also available free to all IEEE members via the IEEE-USA Shop. Non-members pay $9.99. Sign in with your IEEE Web Account; add the e-book to your cart; and check out to get your free companion e-book.
Helen Horwitz is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in Albuquerque. She was with IEEE from 1991 through 2011, the first nine as Staff Director, IEEE Corporate Communications.