In 10 years, relationships will be stronger

As part of the Ideaca Blogging Network, our theme for the month of August is “How technology changes us: Canada in 10 years”.  While it’s fun to be a futurist, I am still waiting for my flying cars and other sci-fi touchstones that showcase how awesome/not-awesome the future will be.  I have a robot vacuum , but I do not have a fusion reactor in my car.  My phone has more computing power than NASA in 1969, but it has to be charged every night.

In 10 years, I am certain that I’ll want to swap the USB port for a new hardware protocol.

I would be chagrin to predict the technology landscape in Canada in 10 years.  However, there is one thing that I will happily hang my hat on – in 10 years, relationships enabled by technology will be stronger than they are today, and they will matter even more if you want to get anything done.

In the next 10 years, we will see more amazing ways to deal with the data that we hoard, figure out the conundrum of technology making us smarter (yet dumber), and make better sense of the world around us using technology.  However, the push to achieve these amazing technological things will not happen on their own, they will happen because of the teams that make it happen.

Globalization and decentralization will continue to increase the geographic dispersion of project teams, but the use of current technology is just too limiting

My futurist prediction is that, in the next 10 years, we will depend more on relationships to get things done moreso than ever before.  Given the continuing trends of globalization affecting projects, project teams will need to learn to work more effectively without being in the same geography.  As it currently stands, we rely on our network to help us get things done – but we are technologically limited by the way we collaborate as a decentralized team.  E-mail is too formal or onerous (and apparently bad for communication), IM actually stands for Interrupting Me, and a phone call will always go to voicemail (just send me a text).  E-mails require thought, IM requires the ability to type as fast as you think, and a phone calls lack the ability to pick up on non-verbal queues.  Video-conferencing is getting there, but it’s still super awkward having someone staring at your chin while you try to work (as evidenced by everyone’s grandparents when they first learn to use Skype).

Telepresence – truly being “somewhere else” as enabled by technology will be ubiquitous, and will help foster stronger working relationships

But that’s also the crux of this – my 5 year old niece doesn’t quite understand why she can’t see her grandparents using a regular phone, and will often try to show them things by pointing the receiver at it.  These children are being raised to interact with the world around them, digitally.  This comfort with a pervasive technology seems to indicate a trend that we should expect telepresence that isn’t confined to a boardroom in the workplace sooner, rather than later.  (Because, you know… skype and facetime aren’t legitimate enterprise grade collaboration tools – link 1 link 2).

Couple the growing comfort with interactions through video conference with holographic telepresence (will.i.am did it on CNN in 2008, Tupac performed at Coachella in 2012 using Pepper’s ghost technique, Princess Leia did it and the US Government are trying to get it going for real), and this may just be the tipping point for truly decentralized teams to work together as if they were all in the same room.

We have the technology

I don’t think this is a pipe dream.  We have the current technology (applied for consumers, no less!) for virtual dressing rooms, augmented reality, immersive environments, and quantum entanglement (not consumer ready, but still amazing nonetheless).  How much of a stretch would it be to apply all three to create true telepresence?

I, for one, am excited to sit at my desk with a coworker that is thousands of kilometers away and say “Thanks for the help, Obiwan.  You were my only hope.”

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About Jason H Zalmanowitz
I am a nerdy Management Consultant / Project Manager with a MBA, have spent the majority of my career working for consulting firms in Calgary, and I race in triathlons because of (and thanks to) my wife. As a Project Manager, I have managed field implementations, strategy development projects, software development projects, and hardware implementation projects. As a consultant, I have helped companies articulate how and why they are going to implement and interact with sustaining technology to support their business.

One Response to In 10 years, relationships will be stronger

  1. samjans says:

    Reblogged this on Ideaca Blogging Workshop and commented:
    Here is Jason’s take on our August theme “How technology changes us: Canada in 10 years!”

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