What will the 2020s bring?

A new decade has dawned. Looking back the last ten years, we saw the incredible change that the commoditization of the smart phone brought us. It seems impossible to know where this decade will go. What will be the next big technologies that will transform our lives 10 years into the future? How will these technologies be tested? Is testing even a thing anymore in 2030?

I was reading a book “The Inevitable” by Kevin Kelly that tries to predict technological forces that will shape the next thirty years of our lives. The book consists of 12 chapters, each focused-on a verb and how that verb will affect us. These verbs are: becoming, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, interacting, tracking, questioning and beginning.

Everything is in a state of becoming, every product or service is updated; it is never finished. Cognification of everyday objects means having intelligence around us all the time. Information flows to us in constant streams that we have subscribed to. Screening will turn every surface into a screen to serve us that information. Accessing will change from owning to using services. Collaboration increases. Intense personalization through filtering. Remixing existing products. Interacting and immersing ourselves with our computers. Everything that is digital is tracked. Questioning means that good questions are worth more than good answers. Beginning a new phase in the human timeline by constructing a planetary system connecting all humans and machines.

Some of these ideas might sound a bit too far out there. But who could have guessed in 2007, how much the smart phone would change our interactions with the world and the people around us? Is it really too far-fetched to predict that CRISPR and gene-editing will abolish cancer by the end of 2020s?

What technologies will mature for the mass-market? AI? Or will there be a sudden disruption? What companies will be taking the lead in the new landscape? How can we make sure these technologies help to make our lives better and not to make it worse? How can we ensure the ecological and sustainable production and use of these technologies?

I’ll try to make some of my own predictions. I want to come back to this text in the year 2030 to see how wrong my guesses were. Future me, I hope I got at least one prediction right. Well, here it goes.

I predict

  • Our smart devices are even smarter and capable and integrated into every corner of our lives
  • Everything is a service and can be subscribed to
  • Everything has an API
  • Smart assistants are ubiquitous
  • VR is life-like and used commonly in training and simulations
  • Electric vehicles are common place, including electric scooters and others
  • Using drone deliveries is common place
  • Brain-computer interfaces are utilized by specialists
  • Mars has been visited

I think it is fair to say, whatever change happens, testing will have to change with it. Software is the glue that will be a building block for any of these transforming technologies and that means software testing has to evolve to match those requirements. How will we test the software for a gene-editing software? How will we test our AIs? How will we test quantum computers? How will we test brain-computer interfaces?

I think we are going to have an exciting decade ahead of us.

References:

The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly, 2016 Penguin Books, p. 297

Tuukka Virtanen

About

Test automation consultant with technical experience in test automation and quality assurance. TMap Next certified Test Engineer with knowledge in test planning and execution and test design techniques. Master of Science in Information Management. Indie game development as a side project. Creative and visual thinker. The latest assignment included web and mobile game test automation with Appium and Robot Framework in an Agile customer project and regression test automation for websites.

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