The shift towards an on-demand economy and its effect on human labor
Increasingly we can call upon others to handle discrete & specialized tasks, mediated by the technologies of the modern era - mobile phones, cloud platforms and even the start of useful AI assistants. This creates new and flexible labor markets, but without sustained and persistent human relationships. Is this the precursor to more fundamental changes in our socio-economic structures or will the on-demand economy hit a wall? How is technology evolving our social norms?
Will every ad be personalized?
Advertisers are moving beyond the world of audience buying into deeper personalization. They are developing customer journeys to target (and retarget) you from your first view through the point of sale, albeit online or offline. Intent and context based customization is also occurring as advertisers can access “look-alike” audience, use geofencing and quickly manipulate the wealth of online data via technology. How does this reconcile with the idea that “content” is king and the increase in native ads and content m arketing? How far can advertisers go before they hit the wall of diminishing returns?
Blending “art and science” to shape the future of robotics
Historically, robotics primary intervention was solely within the realm of factories and industrial automation - caged off from
human interaction. The future of robotics will require deep connection with people - as a fellow “co-worker”, personal agent and
perhaps even as a companion. How should these social implications drive engineering decisions? And how should we blend
fun with function to create compelling user experiences for these new devices?
Pervasive nature of analytics
We used to speak in gigabytes and terabytes, but today it’s zettabytes and exabytes. Not only is data aggregated about our online movements, but with geo-tracking and mobile apps, our mobile movement is tracked as well. But what to do with all this data? Run-tracking, sleep-tracking, health-tracking, shopping data, ad data...a whole new set of companies is emerging to help track and analyze data, while existing companies try to learn how to use and benefit from this data to improve their relationships with customers and ultimately their bottom line.
Embedding IoT in everyday devices
Nest is just the beginning. Already today, even light bulbs and light switches are connecting to the Internet. What will the world look like as more and more of the built environment is connected or connectable? What are the platform plays and killer apps of this future? How will the Internet of Things be made safe, easy, and useful for consumers and businesses?
Is content or context king?
Today we are in a state of content saturation, or even infobesity. How content is created is in the process of transformation. While the trend towards video and more easily digestible pieces continues, data and analytics are reshaping the environment. Not only can you algorithmically discover and curate content, but content can be increasingly customized based on audience and context (e.g., location, device and activity). Content itself is even becoming “on demand.” Looking into the future, wearables and virtual reality are beginning to present another wave of transformation, providing both interesting opportunities and challenges for content creators.
It’s all moving to the cloud
Over the decades, software have evolved from 1s and 0s on a local machine to being composed of myriad systems connected 24x7 across the globe. What new technologies and software platforms will be leveraged by software engineers to drive the next wave of innovation? Will the drive to the cloud be tempered by the revelations of Edward Snowden, resulting in a more complicated
hybrid stack of on-premise and cloud systems?
Cybersecurity, moving beyond the Maginot Line
For years we’ve been building systems and improving infrastructure with a primary goal to create impenetrable barriers between our networks and the criminals, nation states and terrorists who seek penetration. For most organizations cybersecurity preparedness is planned as an after-thought or a periodic review. At it’s core, cybersecurity is a people problem. How should we reorganize our defenses if we assume “When not If” our systems will be compromised? What new processes and products need to be developed to allow
corporations to manage this never ending risk?