A Look at Technology in Our Lives in 2023

I’d like to put on my technology analyst hat for a few minutes and look at what our daily lives will be like in ten years. This isn’t science fiction. What I used to do for a living was to look at current trends and the state of current technology including technology in the labs and extrapolate. It’s not as scientific as analyzing cancer vaccines, but it is far from being science fiction or witchcraft.

Do you remember the household technology names ten years ago? Microsoft and Dell were riding high. Apple was gaining minor market share in the business world but starting to make serious inroads in the consumer space. A decade later we see Dell going private and trying hard to be relevant. The company is playing Hamlet and debating whether it’s a hardware company or a services company, a sure sign that it’s in serious trouble. Microsoft has lots of cash, but people aren’t embracing Windows 8. It still has such a greedy attitude towards licensing that its products are severely overpriced.

Apple has become a giant, but that often happens before a decline. The seeds of its own destruction have already been sown. Remember all the college kids who wore white ear buds, happy to be identified with such cool products? Today, many of them have already migrating to Samsung products. It’s their parents who now think of Apple as “cool.” Don’t get me wrong; I live in an Apple-centric house.  Unfortunately, my wife and I are not Apple’s main demographic target. We’re likely to stay with Apple products because of their ease-of-use, but that won’t help the company. It has gone from being led by a visionary to being led by a bean counter. The results will be similar to what happened when John Scully took over Apple several years ago. Paid his bonus based on profits rather than market growth, the ex-Pepsi boss chose to not license Apple products to keep his margins high. He succeeded but lost the PC market for a decade.

A decade from now we’ll live in a ubiquitous high-speed wireless world. Rather than walk around with tablets, we’ll carry a small processor or even wear one. We’ll be able to use virtual reality technology to see a screen the size of our peripheral vision. We’ll type without a keyboard using the same technology.

The video we view will become more like holograms, freed from the physical limitations of a screen. In effect, watching a movie in the home will be like watching the characters perform right in front of you. That might actually have a negative impact on live theater.

The wireless world we will live in will also mean that we’ll carry our own health monitoring equipment with us. Doctors will be able to monitor our vital signs remotely and even step up the controlled doses of medicine we’ll be receiving from pumps embedded in our bodies.

Privacy will be completely gone except for hotels that advertise that they have cones of silence for those who truly want to get away. The stress people feel a decade from now will come from the oppression of their social networks. You won’t even have to tweet where you are because your various circles of friends will be able to zero in on your exact location.  Not letting someone into your closest circle will be today’s equivalent of not responding favorably to a request to Friend someone.

Visual recognition technology will be good enough and fast enough for salespeople to be able to point their miniature cameras at someone and have the database in the Cloud respond with contact information. People will chronicle their lives in video clips. Of course, no one need ever be disconnected from the NET. Many people will have wireless connectivity chips implanted so that they can use brain commands to perform basic computing and navigation commands. Sound far-fetched? The technology already is here.

Depending on your perspective, I’m either presenting an idyllic vision or a dystopic vision. If you enjoy sitting down and reading a book in peace, then I can guess your response. Similarly, if you prize slowly developing a relationship with someone and gradually learning about them, then I can guess how you view this future as well. Today, we Google people before agreeing to date them. Imagine what we can learn about people a decade from now. We likely will be able to monitor our acquaintances let alone our friends on a minute by minute basis. We’ll be able to learn what they buy, who their friends are, where they are at any moment, and even where they went on their last date. At that point, finding yourself in a wireless-free zone in the middle of the Brazilian jungle might not seem so very bad.

What the Interviewer Doesn’t Say Can Kill You

One key problem those over 40 face when job hunting are the questions that an interviewer doesn’t ask but require answers. Let’s look into the interviewer’s mind and address some of these questions with answers.

“I’m afraid this person is too old to have the energy for this job.”

The key here is to show lots of energy and passion from the moment you shake hands to the moment you say goodbye. You’re excited! Be sure to show it.

“I’m afraid this person is out of touch with the new technology.”

Be sure to cover yourself in this area by taking classes in Microsoft Office or whatever other program is popular for your particular field. Show your interest in the new technology by discussing what classes you’ve been taking and what you’ve been learning. Show you’re not too old to learn.

“I’m afraid this person will be sick all the time.”

Statistics show that older workers actually take fewer sick days. You might bring up how you work out regularly at your health club or some other indicator to show you are very health conscious.

“This person is overqualified and will be very unhappy with the salary I can offer.”

Address why you are specifically targeting the job and why it excites you. Explain how your life goals and needs have changed. Maybe your financial circumstances have changed and you no longer need the stress that goes along with a very high powered job. Perhaps you want to give back to your industry by mentoring younger workers.

So, just because an interviewer doesn’t bring up these questions, don’t assume they aren’t top of mind. Be a good salesperson and address all the objections you can before they become mountains to climb.

The Publishing World is Changing

I’d hate to be a traditional literary agent these days. Traditional publishers keep consolidating, so there are far fewer outlets for them to serve as guardians at the gates. One interesting observation I read recently pointed to the fact that a very high percentage of these agents are women in roughly the same age range (25-45). What that means is far less variety in what whets their appetites. I received a rejection from one female literary agent who actually used the word alas. I think she’s been reading much too many romance novels although she professed to be an expert in YA fiction.

Lately I’ve been exploring the world of Indie publishers. Some have found niches where they can be reasonably successful. They tend to specialize in specific genres such as mysteries, romances, or science fiction. The trick is to differentiate the legitimate guys from the POD presses that claim to be legitimate but wind up charging fees at the back-end or stealing writers’ rights. I submitted manuscripts to a couple of these guys without realizing who they really were. The results were that I received slavish praise and contract offers. It felt great until I realized they would applaud anything that they received from a warm body with a checking account. One contract I received would have given the publisher first looks at my next three books. If they accepted my next book, then their horizon would have gone out even further.

The other interesting development is the rise of the digital publisher. I’ve discovered several that only care about publishing ebook editions. It’s an interesting niche because then the question becomes what can these publishers do for me that I can’t do for myself by just self-publishing on Amazon. A UK digital publisher offered terms of 50% on royalties. Since It’s easy to self-publish ebooks to Kindle and iPads, once again you have to wonder what a digital publisher brings to the table to earn 50% of the profits.

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog. I intend to share my thoughts on everything from my writing to trends in technology and politics. At the moment I’m juggling several projects including:

A book on Minecraft that I’ve written with the help of my nine year old grandson. Never heard of the game? It’s a worldwide sensation with over 9 million players. This book will be out shortly.

A detective novel called Silent Partner that I’ll blog about in more detail.

A book on how people over 40 can find a good job. The book is based in part on my experiences as a volunteer job club facilitator for the San Diego Jewish Family Service. It’s also based on my hiring experiences as a senior executive with a number of market research firms.

A book on 100 fun activities to try when you retire. So many people I meet who have just retired tell me that they haven’t thought much about what to do with their time. Sometimes they tell me that their retirement plan consists of golfing. Unfortunately, you can’t golf all the time. Some of my friends have even returned to work because they couldn’t keep themselves occupied and happy without working. I’ve discovered all kinds of activities ranging from volunteering to help at an archeological dig to playing pickle ball that most people haven’t thought of trying.

A young adult novel about a girl who is very much like Indiana Jones. She discovers ancient treasures in modern Cairo during the Arab Spring. I’ve been shopping this book around so far with little success.