The next big thing

As traditional businesses adapt…

Axios

… the digital age continuously advances.

It was already happening before the virus – VR headsets, wireless earbuds, wearable devices – all steps in the direction of technology-human symbiosis. These popular products are still early and primitive in application, but the course is set. Outside the mainstream, in specialized medicine for instance, it’s been happening for years (e.g., pacemakers, other implants and monitoring devices, artificial limbs).

It’s hard to say what causes what, if fantasy is inspired by events or vice versa, but the early speculative authors, like Wells and Verne – who among other things contemplated travels to the moon and explorations of the earth’s interior and oceans – or Huxley – who thought about the changes in society as technology advanced – were not wrong.

The integration of our body with technology has been speculated about by the storytellers for a while. Stephenson dealt with the digitized brain in his most recent novel, Pynchon created an increasingly mechanized person in V., and before all of that there was Frankenstein. The currently popular series Westworld almost seems like a culmination…

If nothing else, these tales have been projections of what the writers felt was underway. The artists feel these sorts of things, it seems, and in the case of symbiotics there is some mounting evidence and, as it now turns out, incentive.

Things happen fast and getting faster nowadays. Your edge is not the next big thing, but the one after.