7. Rise of the Machines

What is it?
In the future, chips will be embedded in almost everything and almost everything will know where it is. While true artificial intelligence is still a long way off, we are already seeing the emergence of increasingly intelligent machines that can ‘talk’ to each other. We are also seeing machines that can ‘recognise’ individual users and machines that can work out what mood a user is in and adjust themselves accordingly.

The consequences of this are significant. First people and objects will be monitored and measured from afar. Items with digital components will be remotely serviced or upgraded while other devices will be able to certify that something is what it says it is — everything from people and machine parts to food and bottles of medicine will carry a digital trace of where they’re from and, perhaps, where they’re been.

The use of machines to speed up transactions, predict what people want (often before the person knows themselves) and devices that adapt themselves to the user rather than the other way around.

People could grow increasingly uncomfortable with machines that seemingly know everything about them. There could also be a flight away from high-tech to high-touch, especially if the economy turns sour.

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