Today we delve into the future. I discuss topics in three areas: top innovations, teaching the future, and tomorrow’s healthcare. What innovations will have the most impact on our future? What can we do today to prepare students for the future? How will technology help tomorrow’s healthcare? I based this show on a speech I delivered recently to staff of federal policy makers. It’s a future look at innovation, education, and healthcare.
Top Innovations with Future Impact
The top innovations that will transform our lives in the future are already in the works today. Artificial intelligence, light field display, and next generation storage will be life-changing. But a future look reveals issues. These issues need study now to ensure that innovations better the lives of future generations.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one area that will dominate the future. People tend to think AI as something off in the distant future. But it's here. The social media imbedded with AI gathers data on users. AI captures behavior patterns to improve user experience and focus advertising. The impact of AI today is significant. Its future will be exponential. The power and potential of AI give rise to concerns of ethics. Now is the time to explore and define the ethical boundaries for AI.
Light field display is another innovation that will impact our future. Also known as volumetric display, light field display projects an image creating depth without the use of special glasses. It is a high resolution, full color image you can walk around. Light field display will transform the way we view content. The latest vision video, The Near Future: Ready for Anything features light field displays.
Next generation storage will be like carrying a personal cloud in your pocket. It will transform computing. Every bit of information – photographs, videos, documents, files, data – will fit in a small kind of USB key.
Educating for the Future
Are we teaching the future to students? How do we prepare students for a job that does not yet exist, using a technology that has not yet been invented, to solve a problem we don't even know exists? This presents a lot of unknowns. But one thing I do know: traditional methods of teaching are no longer enough.
Students will need skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration. Students who learn to look at any problem and derive a solution will be ready for the future. Teaching the future means encouraging natural curiosity and investigation. I believe jobs of the future will be fluid. Learning to translate ideas from one area, industry, or discipline to another will help prepare students. Teaching the future requires rethinking education. Finding ways to develop those critical skills in students will drive future success.
Tech for Tomorrow’s Healthcare
Healthcare is a hot topic now. One reason is the rise in the aging population in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. Low birth rates in recent decades mean less people fueling the economy and fewer people to care for the aging. With the increasing aging population, what are the needs for tomorrow’s healthcare? In a future look at healthcare, here are areas to innovate and bring value to people’s lives.
There are not enough assisted living facilities in the United States to fill the need. That fact and my own experience with my grandmother have caused me to think about “aging in place.” Can we help aging people through tech and innovation live independent and fulfilling lives in their own homes? Technologies that allow remote monitoring need to be intelligent, not just collecting data. The tech needs to be unobtrusive. It should maintain privacy and independence, but still alert caregivers or family if something isn’t right. This is a huge, open area to innovate tomorrow’s healthcare.
Another area open for innovation is communication for the aging. Obstacles like limited hearing, lack of tech, or knowing how to use it can be big barriers. Isolation is a real problem for many aging people. Having a better, simpler, more interactive way to communicate could add value to the lives of the aging.
Remote medical monitoring is another area to innovate. This tech could track a patient’s condition after surgery. But hand in hand with that, the laws need to keep pace with the technology. Having tech to adjust a patient’s medicine remotely is worthless if the law doesn’t allow it.
I hope this future look at what will impact us in innovation, education, and healthcare will spark deeper thoughts. These are areas for innovators and policy makers to work out the challenges of tomorrow today.
To hear how the future looks for innovation, education, and healthcare, listen to A Future Look: Top Innovations, Teaching the Future, Tomorrow’s Healthcare.
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