The world never changes quite the way you expect. But at The Verge, we've had a front-row seat while technology has permeated every aspect of our lives over the past decade. Some of the resulting moments -- and gadgets -- arguably defined the decade and the world we live in now. But others we ate up with popcorn in hand, marveling at just how incredibly hard they flopped. This is the decade we learned that crowdfunded gadgets can be utter disasters, even if they don't outright steal your hard-earned cash. It's the decade of wearables, tablets, drones and burning batteries, and of ridiculous valuations for companies that were really good at hiding how little they actually had to offer. Here are 84 things that died hard, often hilariously, to bring us where we are today. Everyone was confused by Google's Nexus Q when it debuted in 2012, including The Verge -- which is probably why the bowling ball of a media streamer crashed and burned before it even came to market.
Google's strategic move into selling own branded Mobile phones is another step in the merging of "Software plus Hardware" that Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and recently Facebook have realized at the making of the "Internet of Things" Era. This is the critical issue of not just providing the software and operating system but increasing the value in the devices that become the Interface to the Customer: the smart phone, the smart tablet/laptop of Microsoft Surface, the Smart Speaker of Amazon Echo and Alexa, and the Facebook Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens that are the new foundations of Natural Language speech recognition services and the VR Virtual Reality and AR Augmented Reality breaking now and into 2017 and onward. Google's long-term market is changing, the advertising revenue from search engines while still strong is now seeing new ways to search via speech or Virtual image recognition and virtual interaction Google has been late to realizing perhaps the shift to software hardware is where the Internet of Things may be shaping the market with the Connected Home, Connected Car and Connected Work through these devices. It's all about "market marking" beyond just the big cloud data centers and big data analytics to how to build out the edge of the cloud network with all these potentially billions of connected sensors and devices. If the Mobile phone is becoming the "remote control to this world" and platforms the "fabric of social networks and connected experiences" then Google like others is rushing to get into this space with stronger software and hardware offerings
Technology advances not so much when it exhibits innovation, but when it becomes truly practical for everyday people. In 2016, we'll see an acceleration of that shift of technologies from the drawing board and geek-only curiosities to consumer devices that change our lives in ways small and big. Here are a handful of technologies that are on the cusp of major action in the coming year. For decades, artificial intelligence was a thing best understood by sci-fi fanatics and screenwriters. That started to change n 2011 with Apple's Siri voice assistant, but 2015 turned out to be a watershed year for computer algorithms that could ape human thought and interaction.
Cinema audiences are subjected to a mind-boggling fusion of the human consciousness with computing power in Johnny Depp blockbuster Transcendence, but the sinister-seeming world of artificial intelligence is entering the mainstream with Silicon Valley upstarts Google and Facebook. The film, released last weekend, has been savaged by critics against the backdrop of a futuristic arms race in the real world. Google and Facebook have joined Amazon in buying up drone firms to beam internet connections from space, investing in robotics, machine learning and virtual reality technology. But the realm of artificial intelligence could contain the greatest prize, achieving a union of man and machine that is often referred to as "the singularity" – a phrase first used by the American futurologist Ray Kurzweil. The accepted wisdom is that such a leap, if it can happen, is at least 30 years away.
For the first issue of the PCMag Digital Edition in 2019, we're fast-forwarding to envision what technology--and our tech-driven society--will look like in 2039. We wanted to explore the myriad ways in which tech will be more intertwined with our lives and will have changed our culture. To do so, we interviewed a select group of futurists, execs, academics, researchers, and a speculative fiction writer, who gave us some thoughtful predictions. Each of our interviewees has a unique perspective on the most important factors that will influence our tech-driven future, including artificial intelligence, automation, biotechnology, nanotechnology, autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things devices, smart cities, and much more. They also speculate how broader issues such as climate change and online privacy and security will affect us and the technology with which we'll be living. It's our best educated guess at predicting what our world and technology's role in it will look like--whether our lives will be dystopian, utopian, or somewhere in that vast gray area in the middle. Jason Silva is host of the Emmy-nominated series Brain Games on National Geographic. He also created and hosts the YouTube series "Shots of Awe." The ebullient Venezuelan-born documentary filmmaker, speaker, and TV personality--who was once described by The Atlantic as "a Timothy Leary of the viral video age"--is a techno-optimist whose ideas are influenced by (among others) fellow futurist Ray Kurzweil, Wired founding editor Kevin Kelly and his concept of the Technium. In the next 20 years, we're going to see exponential progress in some of these nascent technologies, like virtual reality and augmented reality. I think the next thing to dematerialize is the smartphone itself. What that looks like, who knows? Maybe it's a pair of eyeglasses we put on that are connected to some kind of computational device, and it will beam an augmented reality interface that fully overlays, that is contextually aware, and enhances the way we interface with the world--so that essentially, each one of us has that kind of personalized experience of reality.