How should we think about the far future of technology?

How should we think about the far future of technology?

When talking about the future of technology, how far can be we look ahead? Fifty years? Thirty years? 

According to technologist and anthropologist Genevieve Bell, fifteen years is the maximum — or we’re entering the realm of science fiction.

Genevieve is the kind of person you’d want to be stuck on a deserted island with. Not only is she a brilliant technologist with countless juicy anecdotes to share; she also knows how to detract water from frogs, an aboriginal survival skill she picked up as a child while living in central Australia with her anthropologist mother.

Genevieve has always been fascinated with how people interact with technologies. In one of her past projects, she “excavated” peoples’ cars to help understand what their cars meant to them. 

Not surprisingly, this very much depends on social and cultural context. Car owners in Singapore often keep a red envelope with cash in their glove compartments — also known as Ang Pao — in case they visit a wedding and realize their gift isn’t good enough. Car owners in her home country, Australia, tend to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and booze.

In recent years, Genevieve’s main focus has shifted to AI and cyber-physical systems. She’s the director of the 3A Institute, which aims to develop a new educational branch of engineering for the AI developers of the future. Something that’s very necessary, she says, to ensure these technologies will have a positive impact on humanity.

So what will the future hold for AI? Will we ever reach general artificial intelligence — meaning computers can think like humans? And how realistic is the plot of Blade Runner?

This Friday, I will discuss all of these topics with Genevieve Bell during TNW2020. The session is titled ‘A look into tech’s far future’ and will be hosted on the Impact stage at 6 PM CET. Get your free ticket here.

Read next: The promise of voice AI lies at work, not at home