Any partly sane mind in the tech industry knows that making predictions about the future of technology, even a year out, is an exercise in vanity. Still, it pays to forecast what the future holds for us vivacious marketers, so we can prepare our clients, FOMO psychs and, oh yes, our clients.

From an ‘innovation-evangelical ad woman’ lens, I see the world entering a period where the convergence of multiple technologies and integrations disrupts the future of our work, intelligence, talent investment and, indisputably, AI.

The past three years brought about imperative technological breakthroughs, changing how we live, work and play. Improbably, virtual reality made a big, democratized revival and will be a content consideration. ‘To IoT or not to IoT’ finally takes its toll, having ultimately broken through into the mainstream. We welcomed virtual PAs into our homes and more wearables are glued to our wrists.

These seven disruptions are unsettling my innovation cognizance:

1. Hands down to cheekier algorithms

Search engine algorithms are evolving ludicrously to become fully automated. Self-updating algorithms, such as RankBrain, a machine-learning algorithm, will make it tougher to forecast the guidelines for sustaining organic visibility,
making it harder for content marketers to ‘cheat’ their way to organic results.

2. Technology pilots content

As video content takes our attention away from written content, there’s a massive change in how we consume media. Technology is steering creativity in a cluttered pool of branded social content.

Look at Snapchat Spectacles, which can record our experiences, and repeat and share memories. Facial recognition, drones and technologies galore will overlay reality with video to invent new modes of expression and social interaction.

3. Goodbye ‘big data’, hello ‘cultivated data’

I would be living large if I had a penny for every time I heard the words ‘data’ or ‘Big Data’ at summits. We aimed for data to improve everything, from boosting a creative agency’s prenatal ‘big idea’ to executing better marketing campaigns. But data’s greatest strength – its quantitative element – is also its weakness.

In the next three years, we’re bound to see innovations that create a visualized lingo of ‘Big Data’. Beyond the Chart.js and – an increasingly multi-layered digital mesh – and new channels such as chatbots, AR and VR mean our data is used in new ways that goes beyond the Internet. With graph records and the merging of startling new technologies, such as AI and IoT, generating analytics of everything, data is now more actionable, tailored and ubiquitous.

4. Biometrics take on wallets

A digital wallet glued to our digital identity with payments made via biometrics is thought-provoking. Apple Pay, Android Pay and Paypal are just the beginning. In a future of stark disruption, human beings will access universal basic income and advanced digital wallets without external verification.

5. On-demand economy

People – millennials and Gen Z – feel entitled to everything on-demand and, of course, it’d through a mobile app.

The ambition has been to automate food, driving, hospitality and even laundry. However, since the automation economy progressively rules over machine learning, algorithms and AI, apply this same principle to nearly all other fields and you have a very disruptive trend. Soon, this will evolve into even stranger terrain, with robotics, fully responsive chatbots, smart IoT homes and shopping mediators like Dash.

6. Embracing AI: smart speakers and chatbots.

I’m not surprised how Amazon’s Alexa has altered the world – and kids at home. It’s increasingly apparent that this creation is a deal-breaker that not only taps into chatbots but is also the future of how apps work together via a personal assistant. Chatbots – humanized technologies – are becoming indispensable, enabling us to interact with an evolving AI.

I imagine this ecosystem will evolve to such an extent that voice search begins to take traffic from mobile search. Gets you marketers thinking? If not, it should.

7. Kill the hub and ride IoT

The Internet of Things has been on our list for years. But have you installed it yet at home? The problem lies in interoperability – setting it up in a way that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out doesn’t exist, yet. When centralization should, in theory, make things easier, it’s made things worse.

That said, a multitude of wireless technologies now exist, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee and others. Anticipate reconsideration when it comes to smart-home technologies. Wi-Fi is an accurate wireless networking technology and routers are serving up larger amounts of bandwidth – that’s loads of space to handle your connected home.

as published in Communicate magazine
Opinion, Feb 19, 2017