Looking For The Future Of Tech

By Patrick May
San Jose Mercury News.


We are increasingly joined at the hip to technology. For most of us, it’s at its most obvious in that smartphone in our pocket or purse, stringing a live wire between our daily lives and the cloud, coursing through a full menu of apps that connect us to the Internet and to each other.

But, of course, the technology is all around us, increasingly woven intricately into our bedrooms, work cubicles and cars.

Virtual reality sports, driverless cars, drone deliveries, algorithms that write poetry, it’s getting more Jetson-like each passing week.

The future’s happening so quickly that I wanted to get a glimpse of its trajectory, an idea of where all these personal-tech gadgets and Internet-of-Things conduits are leading us. I wanted to see what kind of world awaits us when we get there, all strapped in and ready to indulge it all, while our microwaves talk to our refrigerators behind our backs.

When I saw a notice for Fusion’s Real Future Fair in San Francisco last month, I decided to drop by.

And there it was, right in front of my eyes: the future.

And it was carefully curated by leading-edge futurists, gathered together to imagine what might lay in store for us in each of their areas of expertise, from the law to health to food to gaming. It was a full day of panels, starring real live humans, but accompanied along the way by on-site robots, interactive displays, and virtual-reality headsets.

“This space,” emcee and Fusion’s Silicon Valley bureau chief Alexis Madrigal said of the Palace of Fine Arts, “was created 100 years ago, and we wanted to have this event in a place where they once envisioned what the future might look like. Today we’ll talk about how cultural change is as important as technological change, because as the tech advances, it happens in the grooves of the culture.”

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