Coming Next in a Future Near You

Yesterday’s future

I remember when I was a teenager in 1995, and people around me kept saying things like “This computer thingy? Nah! Not for me… I don’t get it.” And I remember thinking: “How can they not see? How can’t they see that this computer thingy is going to be an integral part of everyone’s future?”

It seemed so obvious to me back then that there would be people able to understand and talk to the machines, and those ruled by them. And that’s one of the main reasons why I got into computers and software in the first place: I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines, I wanted to understand how they worked, I wanted to be able to speak their language, I even wanted to participate in shaping how they would work.

Watching the future

Today’s future

Years later, I’m now more than twice the age I was then, and I’m starting to realize that it was hard for them to see, and it is getting harder and harder for more and more people to see what is coming, and where it would be interesting to invest some energy. It feels like personal computers, and then the Internet, triggered a period of history where potentially revolutionary things appear almost every day. Which presents at least two huge challenges for us:

  1. I like the way things are, I know how they are, changing is scary.
  2. Even if I am ready to change, even if something new seems to be an improvement, how do I know it makes sense to learn about this rather than that?

And the second point is particularly important, because innovation is speeding up like crazy, but our time and energy are finite. Those resources are fixed, but they are in higher and higher demand so the price of every unit of time or energy goes up. So basically when you spend time/energy learning something new and something else replaces it too quickly, you’ve essentially wasted your time, and it’s very frustrating.

Well, first of all, that’s not entirely true. Because if you consider your mind like a muscle, and learning something new like a workout, even if you don’t end up putting your newly developed muscle to good use, at least it will make the next workout less painful, more effective. So learning something new is never completely wasteful, even if you learn something useless.

Second of all, the fact that our learning time is in higher and higher demand even though it is in limited supply made me realize I could help. Because this thought I had when I was a teenager, it never left me since, not just about “this computer thingy”, but about every technology and trend around us. I just love exploring new stuff and over time, I have developed a certain sense for knowing what it going to pick up, and what is not. This is not an exact science, sometimes reality proves me wrong, but I do love playing, and more often than not, my predictions are better than random.

Why this blog?

So far, I have mostly kept those visions, those opinions, those predictions to myself. I have decided to create this blog to put them out there, to help people decide what new stuff is worth learning about, and also help them to learn them.

So this is going to be about the future, about self-driving cars, about crypto-currencies, about distributed democracies, about flipped classrooms, about peer-to-peer energy, about distributed applications and about all those things that are popping up almost every day to add to our Fear of Missing Out. I don’t want it to be too technical, sometimes we will get into more technical subjects but I will always try to make them as accessible as possible.

But one thing you will never see here is me giving up on learning, or saying things like “Ah, it was so much better before!” because it was not.

17 years ago, the sentence that annoyed me the most was “I don’t get it”. Today, the expression I despise is “The future is dangerous”. It has its challenges, for sure, but it is so full of opportunities and progress as well. But for sure, if you sit on the sidelines and let others shape this future, then it’s your fault. So let me help you out of that paralysis. And let’s embark on a magical journey into what’s coming next in a world near you.

Picture by Frédéric Bisson: Certain rights reserved.

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