EuroSTAR 2015 – First keynote about “Trendz 2030”

EuroSTAR kicked off with the nice sounds of Coldplay, setting high expectations for the next couple of days. Ruud Teunissen gave a warm welcome to everyone and showed us how many people were involved in organizing this year’s EuroSTAR besides the EuroSTAR core team.

The first keynote of the day was a look into the future by Richard van Hooijdonk called TRENDZ 2030. For the next 45 minutes Richard showed us several areas and how the future will look like for them.

Richard started with drawing a picture of what a personal RFID chip could mean for you. Not needing keys, passwords or cash and cards with you. Just with a swipe of your hand.

Things that fly are already there. Google is piloting its balloons over Sri Lanka. Amazon tests their delivery drones, and in the Netherland emergency drones with medical equipment already fly in case of an emergency with heart problems. And in agriculture drones monitor your fields and crops.

Robots are getting better and better. Boston Dynamics and others are creating robots that might replace soldiers in the near future. By 2025, Richard says, there will already be Humanoids helping with our daily life. By 2050 robots and machines might already be smarter than people. What happens then? Good question and hard to answer. It might be an answer we don’t like.

Robot Revolution

Healthcare will be the leading topic of the next 5-10 years in the technological revolution. In 5-10 years apps and devices will replace the family doctor. Richard himself will swallow a pill in January that monitors about 160 values of his body and sends those telemetry data into the cloud.

Connected cities will be a big thing on the rise. City lighting wasting enormous amounts of energy on empty roads. Imagine what would happen if the lights are on only, when there are people or cars on the road.

3D printers will make it possible to produce whatever you want at a place near you. What will happen to many factories then?

Richard painted more happy pictures of the Internet of Things (IoT), that show the positive things and amenities the IoT will bring, like the fridge remembering you to buy milk on the way home or even ordering it online and let the car pick it up while you are at work. With the IoT the next big thing on the rise will be and already is the API economy. New businesses will come up with new ideas and business models every day.

And with that Big Data is coming. There are devices, cameras and sensors collecting huge amounts of data. In 2020 there will be four times the amount of data than we have in 2015. And the algorithms using those data are getting better every day. So if you think you are doing big data today, wait for tomorrow, when you will really have BIG data. The algorithms will have so many input that they can tell you more about yourself than you yourself.

Moore’s law, which was suitable for many aspects of the technological evolution, doesn’t count anymore for most areas. The time for doubling is now way shorter than 20 months.

Whole sectors will be disrupted by technology in the next couple of years, like it happened to the photo industry since the invention of digital cameras and smartphones. A few years ago you could not imagine self-driving cars and many more things. They are reality now or very soon. So you need to adapt, but people are not made for change. And change is the only constant factor. The time your skillset is valid changed from 30 to just 5 years. So we also need our education to change.

Richard describes at the end how the company of the future needs to look to handle all those challenges. Small will be the new big.

The future is here!

More about Richard can be found on his website.

So far the summary of an intense 45 minute keynote with pure information overflow. You can see in the page above, just how many topics were covered, that will bring change in the future.
Richard mostly painted a positive image of the upcoming changes that will improve our life. He asked only two really interesting questions about the downside of the technical revolution that is going on.
What happens when robots become more intelligent than people?
What happens to so many factories, when decentralized 3D-printing of lots of things will make them unnecessary?
I would have liked to see some more critical aspects for the future about the changes and inventions he described. So many things can be misused or are against the free will of people? What if I don’t know all these information some fancy algorithms find out, before I do? What if the machine takes away my decision for the food I want to eat? Just because my telemetry data is showing I need something different for lunch? And what about all the downsides, when those things get hacked and misused. How will those inventions influence us negatively? How many people won’t have a job in the future, because we can produce robots for nearly everything, making people unnecessary?
As Ruud put it in the introduction of the second keynote, the good thing for us (testes) is that we need to test all this! And 10 years ago most of these things were unimaginable, but we are getting there.

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