Beyond 2012 – Envisioning Emerging Technology

Michell Zappa is an emerging technology strategist and futurist. He focuses on future technological developments within various industries through targeted research. His methodology is very simple in that he utilses publications and resources involving technology and the future and compiles the data to form a prediction.

His most recent creation ‘Envisioning emerging technology for 2012 and beyond’ (seen below) visualises the future of multiple disciplines right up until 2040 where he suggests the world population at 9 billion and interfaces will be an immersive virtual reality – a concept that pioneers in interface design such as Myron Kruger’s work including the ‘Glowflow and ‘Metaplay’ developed way back in the 70’s when ‘computer-facilitated interaction’ was the buzz word in academia, and computers were the size of a house, give or take.

Immersive virtual reality isn’t expected until the year 2031 and involves users connecting to the virtual reality using only your brain. Not even Neo (from ‘The Matrix’ trilogy) could do that! It does raise the question though, is this concept really that far from the reality, is it really that unbelievable to imagine and isn’t it just a natural progression to utilize technology to replace tasks that we do day to day such as play a game or use a computer?

In a way, it does prove to be a natural progression for technology in this industry. Zappa puts this technology just a few years after the development of skin embedded screens. Something that Star Trek didn’t even think of! But just take a moment to think about that concept. No longer do you have to worry about losing your phone. However, we are now getting into some serious ideas in which technology and the human body become one.

These concepts really start to open up the thought bubbles of what is really possible. If we start to way up the speed at which technology has been and continues to be created and replaced then it does seem realistic to consider this type of ‘advancement’. When we look back at the 80′s TV series Beyond 2000 (those Aussies out there will know what we mean), it’s content almost seems backward in comparison to today’s reality. This is a cycle that will continue as technology becomes more and more integrated into not only our lives, but our bodies.

Zappa has visually represented his extensive research and analysis quite beautifully using a simple taxonomy using colour, size and shapes to distinguish between levels within ‘relative importance’, ‘consumer impact’ and ‘clusters of technologies’. Also having the ability to read definitions of each technology is handy when trying to understand exactly what “programmable matter’ is and prompt the cogs of thought to churn. Doesn’t really seem that impossible that telepresence could exist, and that we will be going into space for a holiday? We only have to wait until the year 2021 apparently.

It’s best to view this work directly on Zappa’s site. But we have also added a low resolution example of the work below.

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2 comments on “Beyond 2012 – Envisioning Emerging Technology

  1. I used to *love* Beyond 2000! What a find!

    And thanks for the amazing write-up :-)

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