The Future: Better or Worse?
By Joachim Bamrud, Mon Oct 14 00:00:00 GMT 2002

Will the technologies of the future make our lives better or worse?

That’s the question we ask the readers of TheFeature this week as we take a closer look at the future of devices, services and networks – and the business of all three – in the “Future Week” running from October 14 to 18.

In fact, Minority Report is the inspiration for the articles of “Future Week.” But progress in technology can be a two-edged sword, spurring more creativity and freedom while also increasing invasions of our privacy as one of the authors, Justin Hall points out.

Interestingly enough, Nokia’s chief designer who contributed device designs for Minority Report believes future devices won’t be that different from today’s in many aspects.

Among the scenes in Minority Report that stood out were Tom Cruise being targeted by localized and personalized advertisements – i.e. just what location-based wireless ads are starting to offer. Only, the film’s scenes had the ads delivered by voice. What is the future of technology applications?

And what about the bridge between devices and applications? Some will compete with 3G, others will dovetail with it and others again will be known as 4G and even 5G. In fact, many technologies of the future are already being implemented.

Finally, as we’ve seen with 3G even before it gets going, the business side of technology is vital. Again Japan offers some interesting lessons to carriers in Europe anxious about the success of their pending 3G launches. Not all 3G-solutions from Japan - the country of the mobile future – have been as appealing to consumers as the 2G mega-hit i-mode, it turns out.

While Minority Report, which is supposed to take place in 2054, showcases plenty of cool technology, it also depicts a somewhat dark reality. And that pretty much makes it similar to most other sci-fi movies as well. The message from Hollywood seems to be that the future may offer better technology, but overall it won’t be bright – partly due to the same technology.

Do you feel the same? Or do you envision a brighter future thanks to technology? Will future technologies increase the invasion of privacy or empower individuals? Will future technologies make advertising an outright pain, impossible to avoid at any time we are awake? Or will they enable us to customize the ads we want to receive? And will the devices of the future help us or make our lives a 24-7 exhibit of ups and downs?

Share your thoughts with TheFeature’s global mobile community through The Podium. The best entry will be rewarded with a free DVD of Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, which is causing a stir worldwide - partly due to the innovative technologies seen in the science fiction thriller. So you can see when the movie starts to become reality.

It's Future Week on TheFeature! Check back daily for reports, analysis and in-depth articles.