It is 2017. The world is an incredibly different place than what it was 2,017 years ago. In fact, it’s an incredibly different place than it was even 15 years ago. Technology has invaded every waking aspect of our culture. From social media to autonomous cars to artificial intelligence, technology is everywhere; it has even managed to find its way into our businesses, such as the creation of a new fintech industry.
When we were younger, most of us watched a show called The Jetsons. The Hanna-Barbera classic told the everyday adventures of the Jetsons, an average family living in a futuristic world. The show included flying cars, video communication watches and robotic maids. The show debuted in 1962, and for decades, we, as a society, dreamed of having those devices in our reality. And while flying cars are still a way off, several of the other gadgets and gizmos are a reality today.
For example, we now have watches that can not only tell time, but also make phone calls, track our fitness and heart rate, receive and send text messages, play music and even give us directions. And we have robotic maids that clean our houses in the form of Roombas.
However, we now have even more technological advancements than we could have ever dreamed. For example, drone technology has boomed in the last few years. Companies such as Parrot, DJI and Yuneec are all creating remote-controlled flying devices that can be utilized for both practical and personal needs. Drones are being used in construction for land surveying and in Hollywood for quick and cheap aerial shots. Some companies, such as Amazon, are looking into drone delivery services, which would allow same-day delivery for online purchases by drone.
Automated vehicles are another, very real part of our society today. Almost every major vehicle manufacturer in the world is adopting some sort of self-driving vehicle technology and looking to implement it in the near future. Even companies such as Apple and Google that have nothing to do with the automotive industry are looking into self-driving cars. Ride-sharing services, such as Uber, are of course also interested in self-driving cars. We now live in a world where it is very likely that the next car you purchase will have the ability to drive itself.
Robotics have also made vast improvements through the years. Today, we have robots that assist in product manufacturing, help our soldiers avoid direct contact with dangerous situations and assist astronauts in space exploration. But, up until recently, these were all robots that were nothing more than large pieces of machinery. In China, however, scientists have managed to blend reality with the world of robotics by creating the most lifelike robot in human history. At the University of Science and Technology of China, researcher Chen Xiaoping and his colleagues created a truly fascinating creation. Dubbed Jia Jia, the robot is capable of recognizing human speech and responding, realistic eye movement and lip synchronization, and can even show expressions.
Whether or not we need a robot that can perform those actions is up for debate, but it is, without a doubt, a testament to how far we’ve come as a society. Technology is literally changing our world everyday. We are now all interconnected, we can watch content whenever we want, know where someone is at all times, and much, much more. And while not all aspects of technology have been well-received (texting while driving has lead to millions of car accidents), it is impossible to deny that it has changed our lives for the better. And when you consider the fact that roughly $42.5 billion was spent in venture-backed tech companies in 2015, it is pretty safe to say that the technology sector isn’t leaving us anytime soon.