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2014 Futurescape: The Internet of Things

While industry, institutions and society as a whole navigate an intense new era of social technology disruption, the good news is that there is scientific and astrological context.  As reported by NASA last week, the sun has “flipped” its north and south axes—midway through its 22-year solar polarity reversal cycle—and   according to astrological wisdom, we have entered the Aquarian Age

The common denominator?  Planet Earth and our universe are undergoing intense magnetic swings and instabilities.  

So what does this have to do with social media technology and where it is headed in 2014 and beyond?  

I foresee an era of greater risk taking, challenges and opportunity in the on-demand economic metasphere we now inhabit—the creation of a vortex, of sorts. In this virtual space, divergent and convergent business, institutional and societal interests have an unprecedented opportunity to “flip” old practices and policies that hinder competition and progress—or simply no longer work. The Internet of Things will move from disorder to order and social innovation will be the new competitive edge, leveling the playing field within and between enterprises.


The caveat?   Disruption isn’t going away soon.  Yet, while huge challenges and risks still lie ahead, it will be the catalyst that reorders business as usual in The Internet of Things era.

Here are a few of my 2014 predictions in The Internet of Things Era.

Privacy threats will crescendo. 

Not only did Edward Snowden’s NSA leak create an international firestorm as heads of state found they had been hacked, it also brought home the underbelly of vulnerability we all risk with open networking.  But the NSA leak is only the tip of the iceberg.  As revealed in the leaked documents, within three to five years the NSA will likely have in place its Quantum Computer, which will be capable of breaking all encryption codes including all individual banking and medical records—at exponential speed.

The potential for Big Data privacy invasion gets even scarier with Monsanto’s “smart farming” scheme, ostensibly designed to benefit farmers by connecting their now confidential inventory, production and yield data (some installed on farm equipment in the fields) to cloud computing sensors and data points, all uploaded to Monsanto’s cloud. 

There are Orwellian privacy issues being raised: 

Doesn’t this give Monsanto unfair monopolistic advantage and leverage over farmers?  Who will own the data? What guarantees are there that Monsanto, or other interests, won’t resell the intelligence to, let’s say, commodities or futures traders?

Again, there is a large iceberg of potential dangers floating about.

Reputation management will be a data-driven industry. 

No longer being manipulated by PR “spin doctors” but by the social media driving public (you and me), corporate CEO and political careers now are elevated—or broken—in a nanosecond.  The traditional PR spinning wheel has been relegated to the hamster wheel dump. We will see a new entrepreneurial class of “data meisters” overturn the old spin meisters.

Crisis management will be pre-emptive, not reactive. 

We will see a rise in the adoption of social analytics—especially by the food and beverage industry—to preempt potential crises ranging from food contamination, labeling disclosures, and questionable health benefits—even GMO “sourcing” and genetically engineered product disclosures.  We will see industry hiring new entrepreneurial social analyst consultants as social watchdogs.


Killer apps will be developed for the soul. 

Recently upgraded with more customizable features, such as music and mantras, Huffington Post’s GPS for the Soul app is a pioneer in the trend of personal emotional and spiritual wellness management.   We now are in an era of the cognitive right side brain and more apps for the soul will be developed.  Our ability to amplify our senses is the next stage.  The greater our ability to “emotionally listen,” the better equipped we’ll be to “analytically listen” to big data.

The next iteration of soul app may well be a wearable device, or even uploaded to Google Glass, and cloud connected to enable sharing and individual analysis such as blood pressure, pulse, body temperature, skin hydration, and other energy management data points—shareable with your network, your shrink, your doctor, astrologer—all contributing to spiritual and medical health management. 

Product innovation will be lead by big data futurists. 

Consumer outliers—not market research—will lead product innovation. They will increasingly innovate in the kindred global economy to the ultimate extent they can connect AND create new production economies of scale and compete.  As futurist Jared Wiener asserts, “educated incapacity”—knowing so much about what you know that you are the last to see the future of your area of expertise differently—is a true facet of the mind.  Everyone suffers this—even market researchers AND futurists.  As the consumer outliers already have discovered, creativity lies in using alien eyes!

From the “internet of things” to the “interspecies of things.”

For a glimpse into the future role of technology in brain learning, cognitive learning and interspecies communication, dolphin intelligence scientist Diana Riess teams up with Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, musician Peter Gabriel, and internet of things visionary Neil Gershenfeld at TED. This intriguing discussion brings to light new directions in learning and technological innovation through research of the dolphin—a species that separates humans by 95 billion years in development. 

Future Shock is Here

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write,

but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.  ~ Alvin Toffler

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