How Will We Communicate In The Future?

“Today Is The Tomorrow You Worried About Yesterday”- Dale Carnegie

Updated: November 2020

Future is often deemed uncertain, however deep learning and big data has allowed us to provide predictive intelligence using historical data samples. Thus saying the past can predict the future.

To understand what communication will look like in the future we must look at the past and present. Since the beginning of civilization intelligent living species have used communication to transfer information.

We are headed to a future where constant communication is going to be like the air – people, systems and all things will communicate without thinking.  A virtual neural network.  We be using a thin layer of synthetic skin to use to communicate with – from not only all over the earth but from other planets in the space as well.

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Communication of the Past

Since mankind uttered its first words we have been developing ways to communicate. Smoke signals evolved to string and soup cans which lead us to VOIP (voice over internet protocol) and the smart phone.

Telephones/Land Lines have died.

At the end of 2015 – cell phone only households took over and has not stopped. As of 2019, cell phone only homes capture 59.2% in the US.

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Smartphones replacing Cell Phones

Digital systems replace standard lines and mobile phones use cellular data channels. At the end of 2018 76.6 million residential and 41.6 million business use VOIP based telephony. 95% of Americans have a cell phone – smartphones account for 77% of that. (statista)

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults now own desktop or laptop computers, while roughly half now own tablet computers and roughly half own e-reader devices.  Since the global pandemic of 2020 communicating with our phones and computers has made it easy to see and speak to our friends and families if they are next door or around the globe.

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Mobile Data is Overtaking Home Broadband

Smartphones started to erode the home broadband market. A survey finds the way people are choosing to go online is starting to change. As of late 2019, 37% of U.S. adults are using a smartphone when accessing the internet. This share has nearly doubled since 2013 when 19% was the primary device. (PRC Research)

But how will we communicate in the future?

The changing face of communicating is underpinned by what was termed the ratchet effect.  Essentially once a process goes so far – there is no going back.  Can you imagine someone tearing a smart phone from you?

Each iteration of communication advancement takes the progress of the prior one and ratchets us towards the next technological improvement.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

This identifies the ever-growing “smart” devices all of which are connection to the internet. IoT devices are continuously communicating information adding to the collection of Big Data and AI.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

Not specifically communication – AI and ML will speed the innovation of communication.  The advancements from machines to learn and behave intelligently will change our world.  It is the driving force behind other technologies and will play a key role in the future.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

NLP enables machines to understand human language and it has radically changed how people interact with machines.  When you think of smart speakers in homes which we ask questions and they respond with answers which seem to be coming from a person listening on the other side of the room.

NLP is what makes computer seem to have the ability to communicate with us – and in a way, they are.  The AI based machines are learning to communicate with us.  NLP is what also makes digital assistance work – people are becoming more and more comfortable communicating with machines.

Human Cyborgs, Nanotech and Wearables

Although cyborg is a word with scary implications from the sci-fi movies – we have already started down this road.  And we may not be full on borgs yet – but our increasing ability to shrink useable materials to a very small scale is giving rise to exciting new materials and objects for tiny motors, nanotube devices and well as “big” items like bendable displays.

Handheld devices are a temporary solution for what we really want – we are already using smartwatches and smart tracking devices.  Shortly we will see Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) combine with everyday wearable technology.  This combo will revolutionize the way people communicate around the world and universe.

There has been a start of smartphone apps using AR to enhance games – these are the start of more beneficial apps to begin to be developed.  The trend at the time of this article’s writing is for health assistance to track steps, revolutions, and distance.  If a blend of AR and VR jumps ahead – we will see more people interacting with the homes and communicating with friends and family from anywhere.

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Brain Interface and Digital Telepathy

A computer which is connected to your brain and can interact with your central nervous system is underworks from many different companies.  It will convert signals from the brain and interpret them to action.

This will allow us to take action with our thoughts – or even interrupt brain activity which is not desired (think Parkinson’s Disease) and alter the messages to correct the action before it is sent your body.  That is some amazing communication.

Neuralink is one such project that aims to embed computer chips in people’s brains. The idea is to give humans hyper-intelligence by combining them with artificial intelligence. Tiny threads thinner than a human hair would pump information into your neuro-links, that works somewhat like an online cable, transmitting data in and out at high speeds. As well as making us smarter, the project claims to unite us with phones and computers. That means you could control your world with your brain.  This is a project from entrepreneur Elon Musk.

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If the Neuralink is a success – then concepts like telepathy, the ability to transmit or move ideas from one person’s mind to another without having any sensations or bodily communication, is not far away.  This kind of mind reading has been saved for science fiction and futuristic movies,  but it could become reality.

How will we communicate in the future?  Only time will tell.