The future of technology and its implications

Nothing stays the same for long, especially in this modern world of technological disruption. While we might assume that the smartphones we rely on for the majority our day to day activities will last forever, they probably won’t. Of course, smartphones and apps will evolve thanks to new and exciting technology on the horizon in the short term future. However, we’re not talking about the short term future. We’re talking about the kind of futuristic technology that boggles the mind, the kind that blurs the lines between AI and real life, the kind that may one day become an integrated part of your human body. What implications does this kind of technology have on our world? When it comes to the real estate industry, if we all become robots, will we even need houses of our own?

What will the medium term future look like?

Now that all the main players in internet technology are working on their own augmented reality and VR systems (e.g. Facebook, Google and Microsoft), barriers between the virtual world and reality are being erased. Soon, our virtual screens will turn into overlays on our actual world view (Business Insider). When these kinds of virtual screens become available, handheld devices may well be scrapped. While VR systems currently rely on headsets, it’s very likely that future interfaces will involve beaming the virtual world straight into your eyes, like a transparent film between you and the outside world. When Mark Zuckerberg described the feeling of using Oculus, he captured the experience perfectly:

“When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, 2014

What implications might this have on real estate platforms?

Imagine being able to fully immerse yourself in a property that is located thousands of miles away from your physical location. Imagine wandering around the rooms of your perspective dream home in the Philippines, reaching out your hand to touch the kitchen units or the mantelpiece only to remember that neither are actually physically in front of you. Experiencing this without even needing a VR headset is a prospect that is not very far away. Not only that, the implications of increased VR usage extend beyond residential real estate. Commercial real estate could be transformed by this technology too. Consider the implications of being able to hold a full realistic boardroom meeting without the need for a physical meeting space? Imagine being able to see all of your colleagues sitting around a virtual seminar room table knowing that they are actually located on 4 different continents. Certainly, if everyone conducted business this way, demand for physical conference spaces would be reduced. However, is this necessarily a bad thing for the real estate industry? Not at all.  The processes used by real estate platforms will just need to adapt incredibly quickly to keep up with each iteration of new VR technology.


What will the distant future look like?

According to an article by Quartz, the future of innovation is more about processes than products. In the recent past, processes have evolved which promote extremely rapid innovation in the smartphone industry. New processes are now being developed which will allow innovation to go further than ever before. A brand new company named Neuralink, which was co-founded by Musk, has the “goal of building computers into our brains by way of “neural lace”, according to Business Insider. Will this make those who can afford this technology some kind of superhuman? The prospect of this raises a wealth of questions and ethical concerns. What advantages and disadvantages will this technology have on the human species? What kinds of consumers will the digital humans of the future be? The possibilities are extraordinary, and human life may change forever for certain members of the world’s population. For example, if the technology in our brains eventually takes away the need to sleep, maybe human beings won’t need homes anymore. This may sound like sci-fi right now, but the human-computer hybrid may not be all that far away…