When I speak at conferences or churches, I am normally asked to speak on “What’s Hot”. However, over the years, I also throw in things that I think are coming in the future.  It is too late to help anyone if you tell them that desktops are dying and tablets are going to become the way we compute IF everyone in the room already has a tablet!  I know I found myself telling people that tablets were going to be the wave of the future long before a single person in the room had one!

One of my most outlandish predictions deals with what I call VIC (Visual Interface Computing).  I believe I am the only one using this term, but it best describes what I believe is coming down the road for all of us. I believe Microsoft is done, and Apple is definitely struggling. Google is the company I am watching, from their Android OS, to their driverless car.  They are also introducing what I believe is the first generation of VIC, Google Glass. Google Glass is cool, and fun to play with, but for now, it is only for those of us that are on the bleeding edge of gadgetry.  (No, I don’t have Google Glass yet!)

However, before Google Glass and other VIC devices will replace our smart phones and tablets, it has to accomplish two things. First, it has to become completely invisible as a wearable computer. Google Glasses either need to look just like normal glasses, or they will need to continue their evolution (yep, already started) of going to contacts. Google Glass will become the way we compute when it isn’t obviously a nerdy contraption strapped to our heads.

The second phase for Google Glass to become a success might seem really out there, but it is something I have predicted WILL happen. Second, Google Glass will become a standard when it is no longer dependent on verbal commands. How would that be possible? Simple! Last year I predicted that within 10 years, we will be using Google Glass or another type of VIC, that will be able to do what we want it to do simply through thought commands.  You will use your thoughts to “take a picture”, look up something on Google, pick a song to listen to, check Facebook (if it is still there by then), etc.   When I state this in my presentations, I see people roll their eyes. I know some believe I might be crazy or have fallen into science fiction and have left the practical future of technology. However, I have been watching the growth of BCI (Brain Computer Interfaces) and it seemed to me that the future would see the marriage of VIC with BCI and open a whole new way of computing that will drastically change everything.

How far off was/is my prediction? This week I discovered a company that is releasing the first app that uses an attachment to Google Glass that will enable a user to tell Google Glass when to take a picture and, if the user likes the picture, to post it on Twitter or Facebook…ALL WITHOUT SAYING A SINGLE WORD by only using their thoughts! Check out the link, but be sure to come back and read my conclusions! http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/09/forget-ok-glass-mindrdr-is-a-new-google-glass-app-that-you-control-with-your-thoughts/

Yes, it is primitive. Yes it is nerdy. And, yes it isn’t practical for the average user. It is years behind my two part prediction. But, I have been watching technology for over 30 years, making predictions, and I knew Windows 1 and Windows 2 weren’t ready for the masses, but predicted Windows would be ready one day, and when Windows 3.1 came out, I pushed it as the future of how most of us would compute (which we did). I remember running a cover story many years back encouraging our readers to embrace CD-ROM’s. Believe me, there were many people that thought the technology would never take off because they were slow and subject error with the smallest bump. If you remember, while CD-ROM players were available for your home, they weren’t readily accepted for your automobile because a pothole could cause them to skip. And they were incredibly slow! I remember being on a panel at on emerging technologies at a Christian Booksellers Convention. I predicted CD-ROMs would make it and everyone else on the panel disagreed! When it was pointed out that they were so slow, my simple response was that I believed they would get faster. If you remember, as they continued to get better, they were marketed as 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x speed. Eventually, the speed wasn’t important since access to data with a CD-ROM and the following DVD was practically instantaneous.

I am not telling you the stories about Windows or CD-ROMs to simply blow my own horn, I want to impress upon you that most technologies that become a standard part of our daily lives, start out in a primitive form and there are always those that scoff and disbelieve it will ever take off. I won’t name anyone in particular here, but I remember having to convince one of our technology writers that Windows was going to make it. And I had to convince one of our present, long time writers, that email was going to be important and that they should use it.

If Google Glass is the future, one might ask why other companies aren’t working to develop their own VIC glasses? The answer is simply, they are! If you check out this article from Digital Trends, you will see that 13 other companies are either working on their own Google Glass competitor, or have filed patients to do something in the near future. http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/google-glass-alternatives/#!bjTa6O

Can you imagine what our world will be like when people start wearing Google Glass in a fashion that is not obvious (they look like normal glasses or are worn as contacts) and people can access the Internet and all other content simply by using their thoughts. How will this change our schools? How will it change our worship services? It will change the way we do everything.

In South Kansas City, we already have police cars equipped with license-plate scanners. As they drive up and down streets, or through the parking lots of Walmart or our grocery stores, every license plate is being scanned and compared with a database of stolen cars or car owners with outstanding warrants. That of course is the purpose. However, at the same time, the data is tracking the location of your car and can come up with a profile of where you go on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Now imagine not just police, but everyone having a device that “takes in” all of the visual data it sees. Facial recognition software is very accurate. Not only will you be informed when your Google Glasses spots someone you have interacted with in the past from across the room, it will remind you when you spoke last, what you talked about, etc.  However, at the same time, everything and everybody will be captured and catalogued. Privacy will cease to exist. People will be able to access information about you from across the room without your knowledge. Take your picture and send a text, all without moving a muscle. It might be impossible to have an active criminal arrest warrant and go outside your home to catch a simple hamburger. Privacy will become very precious and this sort of power in the wrong hands could be very dangerous and damaging. But if Google Glass evolves and becomes like computers and smart phones, everyone WILL have them and have this ability within 10 years!

Something to think about…