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TECHNOLOGY

Here Is My Business Technology Bucket List

In my lifetime, these are the tech innovations I want to see.
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Hollywood made a movie about achieving your ambitious life goals. There's a bucket list for everything from adventure trips to knitting projects. There should be a list for lofty tech achievements as well, even if some of these pale in comparison to riding the waves in Colorado or knitting up a bunny to sell on Pinterest. So here is my own list of tech innovations I want to experience in my lifetime. Most of these could take a few more decades; hope I live to see them.

1. Go for a year without tech

I put this one first because it will take the most effort on my part. I'm paid to use technology and have been covering the field since the early dawn of time. How I would ever go without any email, browsing, or an online chat is beyond me. It might require a sabbatical of some kind, or maybe I need to save this one until I retire (as if anyone will be able to do that in 20 to 30 years).

2. Work 100% in the cloud

Say goodbye to desktop apps like Photoshop and Skype--someday, eventually. For now, I still rely on quite a few locally installed apps for productivity work, video, and photo editing, video conferences, and many other tasks. Even on a Google Chromebook it's not possible to work completely online because there are still tasks that involve local storage (like transferring photo files to a thumbdrive).

3. Lose the mouse forever

How has the mouse survived for so long? I'm not sure, because there are certainly many other good options available. By the time I croak, I'd like to rely on a different interface that uses gestures or maybe even a direct human-computer interface (as troubling as that sounds today). Whatever it is, I just hope we are not still using the mouse 20 years from now.

4. Speech works perfectly

Speech is improving radically. I can speak in sentences to Google Now and have the "brains" behind it respond. (Ask about a baseball player and then ask how much he makes per year, and Google Now understands who you mean.) Yet, it's still quite rudimentary. You can't ask complex questions, and you certainly can't dictate a document to your phone reliably and have the phone understand everything you say--in a crowded room.

5. Documents are 100% paperless

Those pesky paper documents! I had to sign a loaner agreement just today. Each year, the dream of using our phones to board a plane and agreeing to a contract using a digital signature gets a little closer, but apparently my insurance broker has not heard the news. I want to see every office go entirely paperless. And soon.

6. Ergonomics that adjust for me

I like how several recent desk chairs can accommodate many different postures, but they are still limited. They certainly don't know my exact height or medical history, or respond to me when I adjust my keyboard or lean a little closer to the screen.

7. Infinite batteries

I know there's a small problem with the physics on this one. Batteries use up energy over time. And, while thorium might be a good alternative to current battery tech, there might be some issues with commercializing it. Yet, is it too much to ask that someday soon we won't have to keep charging up our smartphones? Maybe it will be some sort of solar infrastructure or possibly energy beams sent from the heavens. I hope so.

Any that you would add to the list?

Last updated: Jul 9, 2014

JOHN BRANDON | Columnist

John Brandon is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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