Even Jules Verne Would Be Shocked

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I often wonder what it would be like if we could bring Abraham Lincoln back from the grave (not in zombie form), and turn him loose in Washington D.C. or New York City. How would he view our world? In the times of Lincoln, much later actually, novelists like Jules Verne described what their idea of the future might look like. Certainly, Verne believed that this future was far beyond his lifetime, because he could not even imagine a Newscast being any closer than the year 2889 (8 Jules verne inventions that came true, 2011). Verne (2011) described, “Instead of being printed, the Earth Chronicle is every morning spoken to subscribers, who, from interesting conversations with reporters, statesmen and scientists, learn the news of the day.” A mere 30 years later in 1920 the vision of Verne came to life (8 Jules verne inventions that came true, 2011).

Looking back at our past, we can see that wild ideas and lofty dreams are not merely relegated to science fiction, but advancing technology has made them realities. Rockets to the Moon, rovers on Mars, the ability to spy from space, all fictional ponderings of the past made reality today. The question today is not, “can our imaginative dreams come true,” but “when will our ideas become reality.”

The Changing Face of Reality

The revolving possibilities of technology have not only made the Internet possible, but it has fueled a race to find new and improved ways to use it to our advantage. Smartphones have now become standalone computers, cameras, camcorders, and personal assistance all in one hand held mobile device (How technology has changed in our lives in the last five years, 2014). Technology is constantly reinventing itself. Google tells us that one day a pair of glasses will allow us to wear our computers on our face and put the picture anywhere we want it. Thanks to Corning and their Gorilla glass technology, every wall and piece of furniture in your house is a screen waiting to serve up all the information that you will need to make it through your entire day (Godfrey, 2011). You do not have to worry about scratches Gorilla glass is tough as nails, and provides the durable surface needed to stand up to every day usage. As we are propelled into the future, do not be surprised if you cannot tell the difference between real people and their virtual counterparts. If you think this is fiction you have not been reading enough Jules Vern

Changing Technologies and the Workplace

As employees, we have already started working at home, now we can start working at the beach. As leaders, we have the ability to use technology to help our employees to enjoy more leisure, while still maintaining productivity. It is no secret that the landscape of industry has changed drastically in the face of new technologies. Just as the assembly line of Henry Ford changed the flow of production on the floor, robotic technology is changing the way production occurs in the future. The internet has made even the smallest of businesses global forces (How technology has changed in our lives in the last five years, 2014). The technology of the future promises to turn our world into a global community. Even our glasses will allow us to learn on the go by making us the most mobile generation in the history of humanity (Bhutto, 2012). Only one question remains to be answered, how far will technology take us as we rocket into the future?

References

8 Jules verne inventions that came true. (2011, February 8). Retrieved from National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/pictures/110208-jules-verne-google-doodle-183rd-birthday-anniversary/#/jules-verne-inventions-television-news-cast_32049_600x450.jpg
Bhutto, H. (2012, May 7). Google glasses project. Retrieved from You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSnB06um5r4
Godfrey, J. (2011, February 24). A day made of glass corning’s vision for the future . Retrieved from You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qmwdbhsbVs
How technology has changed in our lives in the last five years. (2014). Retrieved from Center Tech: http://www.centertech.org/

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Britt Watwood April 19, 2014, 12:17 pm

    A book I keep on my bookshelf at work was put out by US News and World Report in 1973 entitled “1994: The World of the Future.” I found it in an antique store a few years back. What is most interesting to me is just how wrong future predictions were. In 1973, they foretold that cancer would be cured and moon bases would be established in 20 years, yet they did not see the internet coming or our cellular use in the 90’s, nor did they foresee AIDS.

    Foretelling the future is tough!

    Much of what you suggest about leadership is a cultural change, not a technological one. Do you think most leaders are ready for this change?

    Reply
    • Jay April 20, 2014, 2:20 am

      It is interesting to see the different ideas people have about the future and what it will hold. I feel that one day there will be a cure for cancer. New ideas are surfacing all the time. I hope that I am not just being the eternal optimist, cancer has devastated many good people, and I hope someday “1194: The World of the Future” will be looked on as a prophetic oracle. Alas, you are right the future is hard to predict.

      To answer your question, no most leaders are not ready for this change. I believe that the changes, both cultural and technological, are happening so fast that many leaders are playing catch up. “Until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth” (Schilling, 2013). In some cases knowledge is increasing every 12 hours (Schilling, 2013). It takes a special leader to keep up with this kind of shift.

      Thank you,
      Jay Prewitt

      Reference
      Schilling, D. R. (2013, April 19). Knowledge doubling every 12 months, soon to be every 12 hours. Retrieved April 19, 2014, from Idustry Tap: http://www.industrytap.com/knowledge-doubling-every-12-months-soon-to-be-every-12-hours/3950

      Reply
  • Ivette Trentini April 19, 2014, 5:43 pm

    In order to be the Devil’s Advocate, I think we are realizing that technology can be a tool or our master. My thoughts are that it is up to us to be productive, but we can no longer resist the changes that technology brings to our worlds (at least in our culture). In my personal case, it is GREAT that I can answer emails from my phone, thus not allowing them to pile up for a Monday morning. Yet, in a moments notice, a random thought can be Googled on my phone and it may not be worthy of time or attention.

    Reply
    • Jay April 20, 2014, 2:25 am

      I agree wholeheartedly, technology is a great tool and a poor master. I enjoy using my smart phone to look up obscure factoids, I relish the convenience that it provides when I’m on the go, but I do not let it rule my life. When I am home, often times I will turn my ringer off and screen my calls. I do not typically allow work to encroach on my private life. When I am home I use technology for my enjoyment, and when I work I use it for my productivity.

      Thank you,
      Jay Prewitt

      Reply
  • Twaina Harris April 20, 2014, 4:26 am

    Today, I saw Captain America (Part 2). Many of the technologies in this week’s videos and readings were shown in the movie. There were the class monitors, holographic meetings, 3D, advanced automobile technology, etc. This week’s discussions and this course made me appreciate the movie and the technology in it more than I would have normally. While watching the movie and the innovative technology, it seemed futuristic when in actuality it is becoming part of our reality as you mentioned.

    Even though the future possibilities provided by emerging technology is exciting, I don’t believe I will ever mix work with leisure time. I have a habit of turning off technology to enjoy a movie, the beach, family, and other forms of entertainment and leisure activities. I am more productive when I turn off occasionally.

    Reply
  • Paolo Narciso April 21, 2014, 12:02 am

    I think it is becoming easier to predict what’s going to happen in the future. We have tools now that those in 1973 did not have. The reason for this is Big Data. Big Data simply means the availability and exponential growth of data. If we mine the data, we can predict with some certainty what technologies will be available in the future as well as the correlating ability to diffuse the technology. For instance, organizations like the CDC can mine web search to predict where the next virus would break out. It’s also proven that social media posts can help predict what will happen 3-5 days out. From a financial perspective, we just need to look at what companies are being funded and also find correlations in Intellectual Property filings to see what’s around the horizon. Many of our technologies that we use today are actually products of military research from several years ago. Of course, prediction using Big Data still is emerging but like all technologies, the potential of the practice to grow exponentially exists.

    But I’m not sure leaders are prepared for it. Many of us in the business world aren’t measured 5 years out, or even 1 year out. We are measured quarter by quarter. Hence, we make some fairly short-sighted decisions. Even looking at the budges of companies like Google, 70% are invested in core technology, 20% in proven non-core technology, and the rest in futuristic projects. Many companies aren’t even remotely close to making these types of investments.

    For leaders to be prepared, there needs to be a cultural shift in building for the future.

    Reply

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