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It's No Longer "Future Shock"

Innovation is moving from the magical to the mundane. That's a good thing.

Key points

  • The future might not be as shocking as some have suggested.
  • Digital natives have come to not only want, but expect, radical innovation and transformation.
  • As this trend continues, technological adoption becomes even more rapid and comprehensive.
 Pete Linforth/Pixabay
Source: Pete Linforth/Pixabay

Digital marketing becomes marketing.

Digital photography becomes photography.

And life moves on.

The central fact is that technology is being inculcated into life itself. Science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” may need to evolve to suggest that it’s less about the magic and more about the mundane as these transformations become both ubiquitous, expected, and in many ways, downright boring.

So, let’s add to the list:

It seems the future is here. And nostalgic notions of mainframes will soon be replaced with the presence of (but perhaps not the direct recognition of) mind frames. Our devices—call them what you may—are part of the human experience and already attached to our physiology, or at least to our psychology. Think about it. If you leave home and forget your lunch, you buy something on the fly. But if you forget your smartphone, you go back and get it. The connection is not an option, it’s an imperative. And this connectivity is tantamount to productivity and success.

Alvin Toffler called it “future shock” in his bold and transformative book from 1970. His premise was that the accelerated rate of technological and social change results in significant psychological stress and social disruption. The exponential changes we see today are still “shocking” but spring forth in a different context. Digital natives, born with their smartphones in their hands, are less shocked and more excited about technology’s transformative influence. These new alignments with problem-solving and life enhancements overtake the shock and fear that Toffler suggested over 50 years ago, or perhaps better defined as a lifetime ago.

Nevertheless, we still live in the fascinating dynamic of wonder and fear. But this dystopian-driven reality may be shifting to sometimes more expected, more accepted, and even more embraced. The diffusion and adoption of innovation is, in part, a very human construct. As tech and humanity share an inclusive reality, we will find these partnerships will flourish in the context of wonder and joy. It’s something that Toffler and Clarke might have never seen coming.