Why It Is So Hard For People To Grasp What Is Coming

in technology •  last year 

People have a tendency to hold onto what they know. I am not a psychologist but I would guess this is grounded in some need to make sense or control the world around us. Whatever the explanation, I find it to be interesting considering the times we are living in.

Anyone who reads my content regularly knows I tend to lean towards writing about the future. It is a fascination of my with a lot of time spent researching "where things are going". We are at a point where a decade worth of technological change could equate to what use to take 50 years. This is mind-blowing stuff.

It is evident that most people do not want their minds blown. Simply put, it is too much for them. Unless it is something where there are a lot of reference points, few will consider it. Then, when a proclamation is made of how things change, reference points are drawn where there are none.

I will give a couple of examples of how this plays out.

Let us start by looking at smart phones. This is a technology that saw the merging of mobile phones, computers, and the Internet. By the time they were introduced in the late 2000s, all three of these components were something people could understand. They had a lot of reference points using each technology for more than a decade.

Thus, the idea of a smart phone was not too far-fetched for people to grasp. Even the idea of mobile communications gave people time to adjust since it was shown on Star Trek. Again, when flip phones showed up, it was something we could process.

Now let us take a look at CRISPR. This is a field that caught people by surprise and blew their minds. Seriously, how many of us stay up on the advancements in gene editing? The idea, for most of us, is outside the realm of anything we can process. How in the world could the average person be prepared for something like that?

In reality, this is such a huge leap that we cannot process the implications of the technology. Thus, when we are fed the idea of "designer babies", that is what we embrace. Overlooked are thousands of other aspects to this technology and the impact it can have.

Of course, when we look back at things in hindsight, we realize the potential they were wielding at the time. Napster make headlines because it was a direct assault on the record industry. Who can forget Lars from Metallica acting like records were his children. At the time, it made sense to sue people who were downloading music for free, thus violating the copyright laws.

Looking at the implications, how many at the time would believe we were witnessing the beginning of the elimination of CDs and, eventually, DVDs. A decade later, both were basically gone.

Source: Wikipedia

I often use the example of Netflix because it is epitomizes what happens and how quickly it can take place. Blockbuster spent decades preying upon small video stores, putting most of them out of business (if it didn't buy them). It was the largest video rental company in the world.

Netflix started in 1998 but did not reach mass consciousness until a decade later. It took a just shy of a decade before we became accustomed to the idea of the red packets showing up with DVDs in them. Of course, while that was taking place, the company was expanding its offering for this new service called "streaming".

What happened?

By 2010, the largest video rental company entered into bankruptcy. The fallout for Blockbuster showed its head in roughly 5 years.

I bring these points up to show how far-fetched something seems at the time yet end up altering society very quickly. In 2005, it was crazy to think that CDs and DVDs would be basically defunct. After all, how would we get music and movies if that was the case?

Looking back, it seems logical.

If that is the case, then why do people have such a tough time believe that a large portion of banks, like the newspapers before them, could be wiped out in a decade? Just because something had a hold for over a century does not mean it will continue. After all, look at the havoc Elon Musk and Tesla is having on the automobile industry. Does anyone really believe that all of the top 7 or 8 car companies will be around in a decade?

I wrote an article the other day about Web 3.0 to illustrate some of what is taking place out there. What was described in that article is being worked on today. There are companies across the globe working on different aspects of each of the technologies mentioned. To think that we are not moving in that direction is the far-fetched idea in my opinion.

Quite simply, a 3D internet is too much for people to comprehend. People today understand search to be typing in a word to get a bunch of words back. This all takes place on a screen which is the gateway to this world.

That is not how information is going to be in the future. Search at that time will include both the digital and physical world. Instead of trying to find where the nearest Italian restaurant is, search is going to include what is the present location of your grandmother's wedding ring.


This is possible because there will be a digital copy of our entire physical world. Data is already starting to provide the foundation for this. What do you think Waymo and Tesla's autonomous driving programs are doing? All that data is allowing those systems to generate a digital representation of all they "see", enabling the system to maneuver just like a human would.

We, as humans, tend to be slow with change. This does not bode well for what is coming. The situation gets more difficult the older one is. Millennials have an easier time adapting since their world was nothing but chance since they were born. Those of us who were a little older, we grew up in a time when change, at least at our level, was slow to emerge.

Thus, it is important for us to suspend our beliefs when looking at a lot of this. The potential for the technologies in front of us is far greater than most of us can imagine. Trust me when I state that industries are going to collapse over the next decade. Just like there were companies involved in video rentals and CD/DVD production which are no more, we are going to see the same thing happen across dozens of industries.

Here is one: do you think there will be car dealerships in another decade? I would not bet on it.

Another important factor in all of this is control. Just because an entity is powerful today does not mean it will be 5 years from now. This is also something that seems hard for many to grasp. Billion dollar companies are popping up all over the place. It is a fact that can place a tremendous strain on this who are the incumbent.

The world of retail is being turned on its ear due to online shopping. Malls are suffering while traditional retail outlets are claiming bankruptcy all over the place.

Many are surprised that the devastation is happening in a time when online sales amount to about 10% of the total. That means 90% is still done in a physical store. Yet look at what took place. How will things look when that number doubles over the next decade as it is expected to?

The point is that it does not take a great deal of change for industries to be obliterated. What happens if 10% of the holdings in banks end up in cryptocurrency? What does that do to the banking system? How will things change if 10% of the financial transactions move from Wall Street to decentralized exchanges? What is the impact on the Internet providers if 10% of the people access the Internet through mesh networks?

We are dealing with some very powerful stuff that is going to alter society forever. Each day, we see the expansion as progress is made in each area. What really sets things going is when the advancements start to merge the technologies. Convergence is much more powerful, bringing us to exponential levels.

Our linear minds have difficulty grasping this. We are accustomed going from point A to point B. However, as evidenced by the smart phone, we see the speed of things when technologies converge. The growth rate becomes unprecedented.

We are going to see a lot of that over the next 10 years.

How prepared are we mentally for that is the question.

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  ·  last year Reveal Comment

I think a lot of people do this, to be honest.

Another great article from my favourite Steemian!

Trying to talk to people about what going to happen by the end of the next decade is usually a waste of time. They can’t wrap their heads around it. It’s a shame.

I’m in Alberta, Canada. We have a leftist federal government at the moment. There’s a separatist movement growing here. I try to talk to my friends about it that live in other provinces, but they don’t want to hear it. They can’t wrap their head around the fact that Canada as we know it may not exist the way we’re going.

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Very well said @taskmaster4550. I have never understood why people are so shocked by things they know are coming. It doesn't require much to have a bit of foresight in these cases. I think the biggest was finding out that the government listens to everything. Um yeah we knew this.

Not sure about car dealerships. There is still a major physical factor to a car purchase. I don't think they will be as big as they are. Maybe one or 2 models for test driving and fit purposes, but not this over done 100 vehicles sitting on a lot to later be found in graveyards. I think cars will become more of a custom fit so to speak.

Sadly, I do see where we will move to a more 'automated' less physical interaction with grocery shopping, well shopping in general. As you mention more and more is happening online, plus with delivery services starting back up. I am wondering when we will see the first replicators.

Of course with everything going digital, the it's a natural progression for our currencies to do the same with those late to the game suffering a little. Time will tell.

Car dealerships are cooked for a couple reasons.

To start, Tesla is already using the direct model. Car dealerships are a middle man organization that adds to the cost. Remember, cars are going to start seeing downward pricing pressures due to automation and technology. That additional layer is going to have to be removed simply due to economics.

Secondly, Transportation as a Service is only going to get bigger. I expect fully autonomous vehicles by 2023. Give it a couple years for regulatory approval and it will start spreading about the middle of the 2020s. It will start in major markets, eliminating the need for vehicle ownership.

The third reason, is a bit more of a wild card, is the introduction of flying "taxis". It might be further out than 10 years but we will see another layer of car ownership eradicated because of this.

Great point about the deliver aspect of grocery shopping. I didnt mention that in the online shopping equation but it is a big part. Everyone goes food shopping so the market is there. The drawback to online food shopping is the delivery. The grocery chains are starting to address that. I would imagine, as time goes by, we will see it become more popular.

  ·  last year Reveal Comment

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Bro, it will be fun 10 years - it will be cool

¿Why It Is So Hard For People To Grasp What Is Coming?

It is evident that most people do not want their minds blown. Simply put, it is too much for them.

Haha yeah... ¡Let's find out WHY!

I had been wanting to invest in bitcoin since I first heard of it. I would read article after article and my mind could just not grasp how to get started.

Finally in 2014 I was able to have an Etsy-Like Shop that accepted bitcoin. I was able to make 1 sale worth about 5USD. Still I couldn't grasp the concept of wallets and such. And soon fell off again.

When the boom that lead to bitcoin going to 20,000USD more people were writing about it and using terms that I could understand. That's when I was finally able to see the "how" of getting started. I opened up my coinbase account only to find that I already had one and was very pleasantly surprised at what I found. Those $5 had multiplied significantly, and they had even split.

From then, I was able to wrap my head around it which lead me to steem.

Blogging about investments was something I was finally able to understand, and with so many people writing about it in words I could understand, I was finally able to get "in" without simply getting lucky..

Still those $5USD made me a forever believer.

So, that's my long way of saying I agree with you. Even if you see something you know is "good" your brain has to grasp the how of getting started.

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I agree. It is going to be amazing what the future brings. I feel the change will come when everyone including gramma is comfortable with an electronic wallet.

The future will be amazing no doubt.

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Didn't read the whole thing but the parts I read ring true for me. I find myself take refuge in familiarity and the smart phones example you provided is spot on!

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let's hope the EMP weapons are careful and don't knock all our nodes offline then eh? :)

Or magnetism from space doesnt wipe out our communication systems.

yeah, if we live like that nothing would ever get done would it :)

It is evident that most people do not want their minds blown.

People are so boring and conservative!

Truth be told the data phone I have today is my first one. I rejected that tech pretty hard. I probably only upgraded because my flip phone battery was so incredibly ineffective. As someone who is at home the vast majority of the time I didn't see a need for it.

People act the same way with crypto. They don't need it. Well, when they do need it they'll be showing up in droves.