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Waiting for the new thing

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The smartphone wars are over, and everybody won. Life without our phones is almost unthinkable. I just spent the last five days on a couple of remote Pacific..
The smartphone wars are over, and everybody won. Life without our phones is almost unthinkable. I just spent the last five days on a couple of remote Pacific islands, and every so often I’d look up and see a flower-garlanded local child immersed in a Samsung tablet – and this seemed wholly unremarkable.
But now that the gold rush is over, and we’ve entered the mopping-up phase – what next? What is, as Michael Lewis once put it, the new thing? Conventional wisdom gives us five major contenders: AI, AR/VR, biotech, blockchains, and drones.
AI is the biggest contender. Neural network pattern recognition opens whole new categories of hitherto insoluble problems. Computers that can see and know what they’re seeing? That’s a very big deal, as evidenced by, for instance, self-driving cars. Also, AI-as-in-pattern-recognition is very likely a major step (albeit one of very many) towards AI-as-in-artificial-intelligence.
AR/VR is also transformative.

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