by Sumeet Swarup
In my home in Delhi, I live with four generations of women who are all technology users in their own way. My grandmother, who is 100 years old, uses her classic push button mobile phone, along with her favorite three channels on TV. My 70 year old mother uses her Android smart phone, communicates on whatsapp and drives her car with ease, but is not comfortable with the voice enabled Firestick. My wife, who is a designer, easily navigates the applications on her Mac and orders diapers on the phone. My 1 year old daughter (Alia) has already figured out that there is a connection between the remote and the TV that plays her favorite cartoon. Watching the 4 of them is such an interesting study of human adaptability and instinct.
Technology is changing rapidly and the pace of change is increasing. When the 5th generation comes along, Alia will be living in a hyper-connected digital world, where websites and internet are arcane concepts, laptops and mobile phones are stodgy interfaces from the past. It is highly likely that Alia will have a digital assistant (DA), which will be a small physical voice enabled device that she wears around her neck like a piece of jewelry all the time. It is connected wirelessly to the cloud and to all the objects in home and in office, which in turn are also connected to the cloud. The DA is powered by a Software as a Service (SaaS) provided by one of the tech majors of the time. The DA is Alia’s interface between the physical and virtual worlds and will help her navigate the world in a personalized, customized and seamless manner.
Its 6.30 in the morning, and the DA checks the time on the cloud, verbally wakes up Alia, followed by switching on morning ragas to be played on the tiny and powerful speakers embedded in the walls. Alia opens her eyes, and lays in bed for a few minutes. She asks her DA if there are any emergency events that need her immediate attention – the DA quickly checks all the connected sensors – health for Alia and her family, business reports, social media handles, city and world news – and reports that everything is fine. Alia then asks about her daughter. The DA throws up a hologram of Alia Junior sleeping in the next room, followed by a quick summary of how her sleep was at night – this information comes from the sensors in the crib, and her own DA installed under the skin on her arm at birth. Alia drags herself out of bed and goes into the bathroom. The DA instructs her toothbrush to sense the state of her teeth once a month and store the data on the cloud.
Alia goes to the work out room in her house, she puts on tiny earphones and a microphone, so the DA can communicate with her above the noise and music, on the state of her health and her workout routine. The weights, treadmill and yoga mat sense Alia’s presence through touch, and convey the records to the cloud, from where the DA accesses the output information, history and analytics, and conveys them to Alia in real time. In the meantime, the DA quietly instructs the heater to warm the bath water to the preferred temperature, the coffee pot and baby food warmer to switch on, and conveys to the car the approximate time Alia will come, so it can warm up and be ready.
Alia wakes up her daughter and both of them get ready. The DA reminds Alia what the two of them wore last 4 days, so they don’t repeat their clothes. The DA also gets information from the weather channel and conveys the day’s forecast to Alia. She also gets information from the day care on what’s for menu and schedule for that day, and asks the DA to leave a message for them on her daughter’s cold. During breakfast, Alia asks the DA for the latest news on politics and the stock markets. The DA reads them out, and asks Alia that since she is interested in outer space, would she be interested in images of the latest ISRO landing on Mars. Alia says yes, live feed no commentary please. The DA complies by producing a silent live 3-D hologram feed.
While in the car on the way to the day care, the DA produces an interactive hologram for Alia Junior, which allows her to play with boxes and switches, while playing nursery rhymes in the surround sound of her car seat. This keeps her happy, while Alia has her earphones and microphone on, and rapidly gives verbal instructions, and the DA obediently follows orders – reads out the to do list for the day; orders groceries to be delivered via drones to the office; keeps track of traffic conditions; reads news feeds from various trending social media handles; checks the health status of the car and calls to book a service appointment on Saturday.
5 generations of women, connected through time and space, each using technology in their own way, separated by over a century of progress, practice and experience.
Happy Women’s Day!!!
Author’s note – It is highly likely that the above scenario will happen in India. In another article, we will detail out the technology developments today that will lead to the above future.