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We are all virgins of technology

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A long time ago, before most of you were born, I worked with Dr. An Wang, a visionary.

Wang created Wang computers, a company that blossomed quickly into a global firm thanks to word processing. Word processing? Yes, word processing. What it allowed was the replacement of typewriters with computers, and companies loved it because their secretarial teams could now edit documents easily without tippex, a liquid correction fluid.

Oh, those were the days.

Well, Wang went bust because they bet large on integrating software and hardware and failed. Funnily enough, Apple has achieved that vision, whilst Microsoft focused on the software and IBM did the hardware. I’m getting all nostalgic.

So, what’s the point of this.

Well, Wang actually invented quite a few other things that are now the norm, such as email. I cannot say that Wang invented it, but it was used within Wang well before others. The other is a vision Wang had, created by Dr. An, to integrate data, text, media, images, intelligence and all aspects of anything that could be automated into a single system. It was a fantastical and compelling vision, but way before its’ time.

At that time, most computers were using 3.5” floppy disks, had limited networked ability and didn’t deal with media or images. So, this vision was quite something.

Decades later, we take these technologies for granted, so much so that the issue today is when technology does not work (as I blogged the other day).

However, I sit back and think about the big events in my life such as the first time I used email; the first time I watched a movie on the internet; the first time I made an online payment; the first time I created an AI movie … and realised that we are all virgins of technology.

Going back a long time ago I was in a rock band and Virgins of Technology would have been a great name for the band (it was actually called Morris and the Minors), but it does get interesting as we move into an age of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, metaverse and more to reflect on how rapidly things have changed.

Forty years ago, we had secretaries using typewriters; today, we have children living in a virtual world; forty years from now …

Obviously, I cannot tell you what life will be like in 2064, although I have blogged about it before:

… but, if I was thinking about how technology will change society and our lives over the next forty years, the biggest changes will be made by quantum computing.

You probably thought I would say AI and cryptocurrencies or something, but quantum is awesome. As it creeps into our lives, bearing in mind we are virgins of such technologies, we will see humongous changes to our world. Satellites and reusable rockets that cost peanuts; a globally connected world of over ten billion people who can all have access to the network; an ability to keep people virtually alive centuries after they would have died (in forty years, my grandchildren can still talk to their grandad who died years ago); humans who are created in beakers, grown in laboratories and have no mothers … how much more?

It all sounds scary but, bearing in mind that we are all virgins of technology, we will accept and incorporate these things into our lives seamlessly as it is all about progress, innovation and evolution.

Years ago, email was shocking … today it’s dead ... and tomorrow we will just communicate by thinking a thought.

Things just change and, as I always say, the only constant is change. Having said that, I always then ask: change into what?

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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