The 1995 movie Johnny Mnemonic, starring Keanu Reeves, tells a story about a data courier named Johnny who has data implanted in his brain through a port in his head that allows computer devices to directly interface with his mind. At the time it was released, it was a fantastical idea. Scientists were nowhere near linking the brain to a computer interface to receive or transmit data to the brain. But the idea is no longer just a sci-fi dream. The recent disclosure of Elon Musk’s $100 million-dollar investment and founding of the company Neuralink set the internet on fire the last few weeks.
You look up at the night sky and watch a tiny dot moving across, it can't be a bird, or a plane, way too small and too far away. “Could that be a satellite? Did I just watch a UFO?” You ponder, nope. In all probability, what you just saw was the International Space Station—the grandest and most expensive construction project ever attempted by humanity.
Robotics are changing the face of almost every industry, with the manufacturing sector appearing to benefit the most. In fact, some people refer to this age as the “fourth industrial revolution,” and for a good reason. If the current statistics are anything to go by, then you’d be right to say that we are in the age of robotics. On a global scale, data shows that a whopping 1.3 million industrial robots have made their way into factories.
Engineers face a constant barrage of competing priorities from customers, co-workers, managers, and vendors, all while still juggling family life and personal issues. Life satisfaction and productivity are on a steady decline for engineers, because external pressure and digital distractions make it impossible to maintain creativity, focus, and a work-life balance. The daily demands at work, including emails, notifications and text messages, are continually interrupting workflow and diverting attention. Consistent productivity disintegrates as time spent deeply focusing lessens.
As an industry, VR formed a massive bubble in the last decade that is now popping, investors having poured tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars into barely viable business models whose speculative values soared initially, but have now crashed to earth. One need only recall Google Cardboard and other early but now defunct efforts at VR headsets, or more recently the overinflated promises of Magic Leap, to see that the arc of the virtual reality industry has mimicked the early frenzy of the dotcom boom. On the bright side, those brief and less than inspiring toys prepared us for what it to come–advancements in entertainment, education, and training. As a technology that will find an important, permanent place in society, the best days of virtual reality are unquestionably ahead of us.