It’s 2027, and you’re walking down the street, confident you’ll arrive at your destination even though you don’t know where it is. You may not even remember why your smartphone is telling you to go there.
“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:17 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: The progress and advancements being made now on smartphones, specifically the iPhone, are mind-boggling. But what a lot of people are missing as they embrace this new technology is the degree to which we are ceding control of our daily lives to our electronic minders. The Internet Of Things is now controlling our home heating and air conditioning systems, our cars, our finances, shopping, how we travel and our daily schedules. And that iPhone you currently hold in your hand is getting ready to take up residence inside your hand. Don’t believe it? You better.
There’s a voice in your ear giving you turn-by-turn directions and, in between, prepping you for this meeting. Oh, right, you’re supposed to be interviewing a dog whisperer for your pet-psychiatry business. You arrive at the coffee shop, look around quizzically, and a woman you don’t recognize approaches. A display only you can see highlights her face and prints her name next to it in crisp block lettering, Terminator-style. Afterward, you’ll get an automatically generated transcript of everything the two of you said.
As the iPhone this week marks the 10th anniversary of its first sale, it remains one of the most successful consumer products in history. But by the time it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the “phone” concept will be entirely uprooted: That dog-whisperer scenario will be brought to you even if you don’t have an iPhone in your pocket.
Apple is busy putting ever more powerful microprocessors, and more wireless radios, in every one of its devices. Siri is getting smarter and popping up in more places. Meanwhile Apple is going deep on augmented reality, giving developers the ability to create apps in which our physical world is filled with everything from Pokémon to whatever IKEA furniture we want to try in our living rooms. All these technologies—interfacing with our smart homes, smart cars, even smart cities—will constitute not just a new way to interact with computers but a new way of life. And of course, worrisome levels of privacy invasion.
Apple’s acquisitions—it buys a company every three to four weeks, Chief Executive Tim Cook has said—tend to be highly predictive of its future moves. Since it first bought Siri in 2010, Apple has continued to make acquisitions in artificial intelligence—Lattice Data, Turi and Perceptio among them, all of which specialize in some form of machine learning. The company is reportedly working on its own chips for AI.
Apple has also made many acquisitions related to augmented reality—the overlay of computer interfaces and three-dimensional objects on a person’s view of the real world—including Primesense and Metaio. Mr. Cook has said he is so excited about AR he wants to “yell out and scream.”
By 2027, the problem of bulky AR headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens should be solved, which means Apple and others are likely to release some sort of smart eyeglasses. With their ability to convincingly supplement our visual and auditory reality, delivering information at the time and place most appropriate, they’ll occasion a cultural change as big as the introduction of the smartphone itself.
“What you’re going to see with all this augmentation is the psychology of using your iPhone could change dramatically,” says Ryan Walsh, a partner at venture-capital firm Floodgate who from 2014 to 2016 directed product management for media at Apple. “Instead of using your phone to get away from the world, you’ll use it to join in the world in a much deeper and more meaningful way,” he says. read the rest of this story at the Wall Street Journal