One of the many things that are certain in life is that things will change. As we look at the future landscape of social technology change will be inevitable and the little things we complain about will be obsolete and irrelevant in a relatively short period of time.
Author and Futurist Ray Kurzweil writes “The Law of Accelerating Returns”, An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The “returns,” such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.”
Most of us, however, spend little time looking at the future. Instead we concentrate on avoiding the obstacles in our current path. The next wave of technology-driven change is fast approaching, and once again, customers are ready but few businesses seem ready.
A Revolution is in Progress
Today, word spreads quickly! Watching the interactions on numerous social networks one can see that customer feedback is instantaneous and the expectations for fixes or changes is high. The “instant fix” mentality of many customers leads to frustration when operators can’t or don’t create instant fixes to the existing system or respond to customer request. In essence suppliers begin to deteriorate the good will (social capital) previously build between them and their customers.
When a technology satisfies a social need, a revolution is created. One of mankind’s social needs is to communicate. Every time a technology like social media emerges it has allowed us to lift the bar on our ability to communicate, a revolution in how we live, work and play fuels new dynamics and new expectations.
These dynamics and the increased expectations create a readiness for the “next shift” which usually is developed and brought to market from someone or company not currently in the mix but on the fringes observing the market behavior and consumer dynamics.
Now consider social technologies and their history. They have been around long enough to observe the implications of the technology across all business landscapes. The next generation will not make incremental improvements over what currently is available rather breakthrough innovation that delivers way beyond the users expectations. Once released the next generation will quickly become the expected and old platforms will have to catch up to stay viable or be replaced. And the cycle will start all over.
So be prepared for change and embrace it. It is just around the corner and evidence suggest both a few platform operators are trying to change via innovation and others not currently involved are getting ready to introduce a new paradigm. Are you ready?
What say you?