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What next for the digital revolution?

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Today’s post is from Liz Ruskin, contributing editor of SmartBrief on Leadership.

Tech execs from major U.S. companies predicted how computer technology will next shake up our lives when they spoke at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles on Monday. Here are some of their observations:

  • For decades, the goal of most computing innovation has been productivity, says Shane Robison, the chief strategy and technology officer for HP. Now, he says, applications and services “are really much more about communication and collaboration.” One effect is the advent of social media, but the trend will soon transform search and entertainment, he says.
  • Greg Papadopoulos, CTO of Sun Microsystems, said that now we’re impressed when Google searches a sea of information for us in mere seconds but we should be dissatisfied with this mode of search. In the future, he and Robinson said, search will be done for us. Every electronic device we buy will connect to a network and our search results will be based on things like our location to our preferences and past behaviors. Search engines will know what we mean, not just the definitions of the words we use to describe it.
  • Crowdsourcing will improve delivery of professional services such as graphic design, panelists said. We’ll get better results from medical tests because teams of doctors will be able to offer their opinions and more people will be able to “see” specialists through telemedicine.
  • Crowdsourcing will evolve into new areas. HP, Robison said, is using a process called Brain to predict the cost of memory by gathering anonymous opinions. He says the crowdsource model has been more accurate than traditional methods of price prediction. Brain has also been used to predict currency exchange rates and election outcomes, he said.
  • Yair Landau, former president of Sony Pictures Digital, said that older users are turning to Facebook and YouTube in large numbers because they make previously complicated tasks much simpler. He also noted that until now, text has been the primary driver of everything we do online. A switch to video is already underway. “It’s going to be transformative in terms of how the globe communicates with each other,” he said.

Want to learn more? Watch a video of the session.

Photo credit: Berbercarpet