If we look back over the last 30 years or so, the pace of change has been dramatic: technology has had a dramatic impact on our lives. In the 1980s, the personal computer came into regular use. Little did we know just how much this would shape our future. 30 years on and many of us are now fully reliant on our connected devices to get by in our professional and personal lives. So, what can we expect to see in the next 30 years? Some of my colleagues recently peered into future and came up with a few ideas of what the world might look like in 2045.
Robots already exist; indeed, they are playing an increasing role in society. It's likely that in 30 years there will be billions upon billions of robots, particularly for manual labour, but also for use in environments in which it would be dangerous for humans to operate safely. The software for controlling robots, and enhancing their capabilities is constantly being developed and by then it's likely that they will become a mainstream IT activity - just as today companies develop apps for us to download and use in everyday life.
Inevitably, the boundaries between humans and robots will become blurred. The use of artificial materials and technology are already mainstream aspects of healthcare (hip-replacements are now a routine procedure and programmable cardiac pacemakers are used to regulate a patient's heart-beat. By 2045, technology is likely to play a much wider role in healthcare: robots performing surgery; nano-robots being used to administer drugs or perform microsurgery; or specially installed sensors monitoring and tracking people's health to provide feedback to healthcare professionals. All of this shows just how important the development in robotic technology will be in assisting with diagnosis and treatment, ultimately increasing human life expectancies.
It's not just the workplace or our healthcare system that will be transformed, but our homes too. Already our homes are becoming 'smarter': we have smart TVs, smart meters, smart kitchen appliances and smart cars. Put simply, our homes are becoming increasingly more automated. It's likely that by 2045, our energy, water and food consumption will need little input from us - beyond ensuring that we have enough money to pay for it.
Other aspects of our lives will also be radically changed. You've probably read or heard about 3D printers. They exist now, but in the future they are likely to impact the way we produce goods. What we now consider to be 'normal production' will be revolutionised by the use of 3D printing, giving us the ability to design and create what we need, from crockery, to clothes, to construction materials to build our homes.
The PC might have brought computing into the mainstream, but it's quite likely that by 2045 you'll probably only find the PC in a museum. You only have to look at film cameras in comparison to the digital camera in our smartphones today to realise how fast technology is developing. But today technology is no longer discretely located in *a computer*. More and more aspects of everyday life are dependent on computers and the Internet.
For some of us the future may sound exciting, although others may try to cling on to the non-robotic life we once knew. However, in the end, avoiding technology will be akin to trying to turn back the tide. But the wider integration of technology will increase the 'attack surface' for cybercriminals and others who choose to use technology to launch cyber-attacks. So it's important that all those developing technology include security at the design stage.