Many of us think that we have reached equilibrium with technology, nothing has changed since the advent of the internet, and many believe that not much will change from here on out. They would be woefully wrong, though, because as technology evolves, so will its industrial and commercial applications. Sure we might not be zipping around on hover discs, or dictating our notes to a floating sentient sphere, but the future is near and there are some exciting applications we can look forward to.
Much like the Earth shifted from one huge continent into smaller continents over time; the work place is doing the same. From the traditional paradigm of 9-5 office work, we have seen trends emerge and the creation of what has come to be known as the sharing economy, which is a peer-to-peer offering of services or products, regulated by a community not necessarily a central authority. Even in its infancy the sharing economy has proven its worth through company’s such as Uber, Upwork and Airbnb.
Also, we’ve seen an increase in freelance employees working away from the traditional office space, due to the wide availability of the internet. Telecommuting cuts down costs for both employers and employees, will we see a virtual workspace in the future? Will 100% of work interactions take place via video conferences? With the cost of renting and maintaining commercial space constantly increasing it is more likely, but still pretty far fetched. Honestly though, telecommuting and redefining the traditional workspace is pretty hum-drum, let’s take a look at the more sci-fi like scenarios!
Li-Fi or Light Fidelity is a promising new technology that replaces traditional Wi-Fi radio signals, with light. Yes you read that right, your office light fixture will also be your wireless network and anywhere a lighting fixture can be installed also has the capacity to be a connection point to the internet. It’s based on LED lighting, though, not incandescent or fluorescent light. The reason the technology is restricted to LED lighting is because LED lights can flicker at such a quick rate that it becomes undetectable to the naked eye.
This flickering (on the side of the receiver) works like the 0101 of binary code to convey data. And because light is the fastest (physical) electromagnetic wavelength, it can beam the internet to your device at a ridiculously fast 224 gigabytes/sec (theoretically) or proven speed of 1 Gbps. So the sci-fi movie we always see with a bunch of blue LEDs everywhere might not be that far off from reality! Of course, at the moment the technology is still in development, but industry has shown immense interest in investing in Light Fidelity internet. If you’d like a bit more information, check out this very interesting TED talk on the subject and the project’s official website.
Yes, as we delve deeper into artificial intelligence and machine learning, we will see more and more positions being filled by silicone based artificial life-forms. There is already a hotel in Japan where the receptionists are a robotic woman and for some reason a robotic velociraptor who speak both English and Japanese. We’ve already seen a shift in heavy industry, where robots work tirelessly to do tasks that would either drive humans to madness or would be too hazardous for us squishy people. That’s not the only trend to provide the source material for the next Terminator movie, though. As A.I. (artificial intelligence) becomes more versatile and capable, scientists are speculating they might even start replacing white collar jobs, such as accountants, logistics and other professions heavily based on calculations.
Eventually, though researchers expect that A.I. might even be able to replace writers and editors (technically spellcheck is a kind of editor, albeit a really dumb one). Courier companies such as DHL, Amazon and Domino’s (yes the pizza) have all announced plans to use drones to deliver their packages, shortening the shipping process significantly. The scariest thing for me is that in the future this same article might be written with the title “Humans are taking our jobs”.
Do you have any idea what the workplace of the future will look like? Let us know in the comment section below!