When the World Is Your iPhone
If your iPhone is the center of your existence, you might be wondering what life is going to look like in a couple of decades as this kind of technology advances. Corning, the company that you might associate with things like dishes, but these days makes things like the glass on that iPhone, has the answer. Unlike, say, Kodak—another large upstate New York-based company that flourished in the 20th century—Corning has managed to adapt to recent technological changes and find its niche (although it had a fourth quarter slump, the company is still extremely profitable). And guess what they think the future is: more glass! Everywhere! Just take a look at the glass-based techno-utopia they're promising in this video:
It may not turn out exactly like this, but it actually seems a pretty plausible projection of where we're headed. I'd be pretty surprised if 20 years from now we're still carrying around powerful computers in our pockets, each of which has huge amounts of storage space to hold software and things like music. It seems more likely that the devices themselves will become far simpler, providing little more than a connection—to a vastly more complex Internet, and to thousands of other devices in our homes, cars, the businesses we interact with, and so on, while most of the storage and actual computing is done in the cloud. This is what's known as "the Internet of things," when everything in our environments, from our phones to our toasters to our shoes to the ground we walk on, is all connected. In visions like Corning's, of course, it's all clean and friendly and full of wonder. What they don't show is a couple using their beautiful glass interface to go over their iTunes bill. All that cool stuff ain't gonna be free. And if you think there are privacy concerns now because Google is recording your web history, just wait until every step you take and interaction you have is instantly turned into trackable, sortable data.
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