How Will We Communicate In The Future?

Since mankind uttered its first words, we have been developing ways to communicate. Fire beacons and smoke signals have evolved to string and soup cans.  Now we use VOIP and smart phones to talk to anyone at any time..

As technologies developed we used the telegraph and telephones – now communication is happening over the internet.  Look at the quantum leap since 1861 when the first transcontinental communication line was completed.

Telephones/Land Lines have died.

From 10% in 2006 to over 50% in 2016, land lines have all but died.  In the chart below – 2016 shows over 50% of adults using no land line and the number jumps to 60% for children.

Full report can be found via this pdf from the CDC.

We now send and receive data, voice and video instantly over the internet.  VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems are replace standard lines and mobile phones use VOIP.  At the end of 2016 95% of Americans had a cellphone and smart phones account for 77% of that.  (Pew Research study)

But how will we communicate in the future

Look at the past and present and we can see where communication is evolving.  From telephones connected to our homes to cell phones and then smart phone apps.  The evolution of apps is just as quick – with phone calls moved to SMS and phones calls are replaced with Facebook messenger, Twitter, Snapchap and Apple’s Facetime.Each generation looks for new – more picture/video entangled options.

Each generation of technology gets closer to real-time communication.

How does Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Play in?

Virtual and augmented reality (more explanation of what VR and AR is at the end of this post) is something that technologists have been working on.  Used for military planes to help pilots get more data in a fluid way.  The technology now creeps into manufacturing companies – helping humans be more efficient.

Business push for VR – it reduces the necessity of travel.  Members gather in a virtual conference room instead of wait in lines at the airport.  The brain’s perception is the same.

AR lets us have additional information connected in real time to add value to the current situation.  Imagine scanning the room for an old friend and augmented reality pointing a virtual green arrow at them over their head via your AR enables contact lenses or glasses.

Image Source

Having AR & VR tools embedded into our lives is a huge shift in how we perceive who we are and where we go.  The brain acts very similarly if it “sees” VR or if it is having a “real” experience.  VR is used to help paraplegics walk again – and the results are amazing.  With VR the brain can see the body working and using a robotic exoskeleton to move the body.  Good things are happening and “some patients started to regain some sensation and some muscle movement on their own”, this is so amazing…read more at ABC.

What’s next?

You have to wonder what will be next – how will we communicate in the future?  A fantastic book called Autonomous, where Analee Newitz paints an incredible future where people, hybrids and robots communicate in fascinating ways – verbally, via private instant massages as well as skin like feedback clothing.  What we use to communicate in the future is literally up to our imagination. I want to experience these new ways – how about you?