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   At times like these, it is nearly impossible to know how profound technology change will prove. While those living at the time of the printing press would have felt its impact on their daily lives, they would have had trouble predicting the societal shock-waves created by mass communication and the democratisation of knowledge.
Similarly, it is not possible for us today to know the scope of internet-fuelled disruption but history as a guide suggests we are barely scratching the surface. Gutenberg’s invention saw printed volumes increase tenfold during the first century after its introduction, a similar experience to the growth in internet users during the past 18 years. However, technology does not stand still and in the case of printing it was the use of steam power and cylinders that made newspapers and the mass production of printed works possible.
The internet may currently be fuelled by smartphones and the app economy but there is a plethora of emerging technologies that are likely to dramatically increase both its breadth and depth, not to mention its power as an agent of social change.
In the future, smartphones are likely to prove a small minority of connected devices as imagined by the so- called internet of things (IoT). Algorithms that augment decision-making today are likely to give way to true
AI where machines are able to act with increasing autonomy (albeit within a narrow field of decision- making).
In time, there can be little doubt that AI will do to today’s rules-based computing what steel did to iron.
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   21 DIY Investor Magazine | Dec 2018

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