There are several hard problems in computer science that seem to be getting solved in a real way. Google’s Driverless cars are perhaps the most recent example of computers taking on a challenge assumed by many to be impossible just a few years ago. And they’re doing a good job. In 2015 they will have a significant number of cars on the road. The economics and convenience of self-driving cars is so compelling that is shouldn’t take long for the technology to make it into consumer’s hands. By 2040 few people will have a drivers license.
Computers are increasingly taking on even more of the hard work done by humans. This effect has been blamed for the slower than expected recovery in jobs from the recession — companies are making money, they are buying equipment, but they are not hiring at the same rates seen in historical recoveries.
In the tech industry we have the job of developing these difficult solutions. Better robots, faster searching, more accurate voice recognition, more convenient payment methods etc. For the foreseeable future there is plenty of hard work to be done.
Something is happening right now in the PC industry which will be echoed in a few years in all of these technology areas. Giant powerful home PCs are becoming irrelevant. The fast computer you bought 4 years ago is still perfectly adequate today for getting what you need done. There’s little need then for more ram, more cores, or more drive space. The technology has become “good enough” and as a result innovation has stalled out as customers have dried up.
Expand that “good enough” concept to other technologies… phones, robots, cars etc. and things may become grim as demand for replacing usable products for something better diminishes.
It is the reason why I think it is more important now than ever to work even harder to get yourself ahead. Produce something new, create an impact, and try to create your legacy for this world. With each passing day technology gets better at what you do to make a living. I’m working hard to make sure I’m financially and personally secure by the time the computers catch up.
It’s going to be hard.