A few years from now, we’ll be shuttled about in driverless cars, lose our jobs to AI and robots, and forget bitcoin future 2014 cars troubles in virtual worlds. Hyperloop will zip us across countries, chatbots will organise our lives, and drones will deliver our shopping paid for with digital currencies. While we’ll get to plenty of arguments against overhyped future tech, it’s worth noting that gleefully imagining a sci-fi future isn’t foolish. Driverless cars could cut deaths from car crashes, robotics in factories could end industrial injuries, and digital currencies could give us financial freedom from big banks.
Such ideas are worth working towards, but while dreaming of a better future, we must beware the snake-oil salesman shilling technologies that don’t exist and may never happen. We in the media love a good headline as much as you love reading them. Startups and Silicon Valley giants alike need attention to win investment. The analyst firms are often paid by the tech industry itself, and positive predictions mean repeat customers. Will killer robots make us safer? A rare disease robbed me of my sight.
Duncan Stewart, director of research for technology, media and telecoms at Deloitte Canada. Not only is tech not very good at inventing the next big thing, they’re not even good at inventing the next little thing. 830 billion of that was from three product categories: smartphones, computers and TVs. Forget the spoon-fed hype about the next big thing and read on to find out why it’s time to be dubious about virtual reality, bitcoin and the blockchain, artificial intelligence and even driverless cars. At the beginning of 2017, analyst firm CSS Insight predicted sales of 14 million VR headsets that year.
These headsets remain a niche product not meeting analyst predictions. And in case half a million in sales in a single quarter may not sound low, for context Apple sold 46. VR headsets have improved and prices have fallen. Stewart points to one main reason: headsets are uncomfortable. They also cause motion sickness in some, and are socially isolating, as vision in both eyes is blocked.
Those who do shell out for a heavy headset find they don’t use them as much as expected, Stewart added. That’s seldom a driver of significant user adoption. VR and AR technology aren’t a total bust, as they’re already useful in the business world, particularly in manufacturing, medicine and architecture. However, their lack of success in the consumer market still presents problems for corporate use because scale matters.