man looking at phone

By: Debra Satterfield

New technology is always on the horizon and it keeps us constantly learning new things! Some new technologies are found in the gadgets and things we use every day such as digital watches you wear on your wrist or a smart phone you carry that constantly gives you updates. 

So, what is coming next? Here are three things to watch on the technology horizon:

  1. The Metaverse
  2. The Internet of Things
  3. Deep Learning and Machine Learning
  1. The Metaverse is a term for a future world that is made up of computer-generated virtual communities, digital technologies, and entertainment. It is based on augmented and virtual reality, also called “AR/VR” or blended reality. The metaverse will let you interact with real and virtual people online in a community that is part real physical space, part digital space and totally interactive. And for the record, the metaverse doesn’t exist. Yet.

    In the metaverse, we will be able to interact with people we know or become someone new based on our digital identity and the groups of other people and things that we interact with in the virtual space. In one sense it, takes video conferences like Zoom or Facetime and has the potential to make them more real and even 3-D.
  2. The Internet of Things, also known as “IoT”, are small devices that connect us to the internet and allow us to participate in the metaverse. These devices often include sensors and are found in virtual-reality headsets, augmented-reality glasses, smartphones, and our computers.
  3. Deep Learning and Machine Learning will help us to find things or direct us to things we might enjoy. This is also known as artificial intelligence or “AI”. The basis for all AI is computer codes and statistics or probability formulas. You have probably already seen or interacted with some of them if you have purchased things online and then your computer said, “You might also like…” Machine Learning is how AI is responding to our habits and helping us identify the things we want to know about from the millions of options online. 

The combination of AI, IoT, and the metaverse will seamlessly create a new world of opportunities for all of us in our daily lives. And they have the potential to solve many of the challenges we are having today. Here are just a few ways these emerging technologies can support our future lifestyles:

alexa and google home

Independence with Driverless Cars and Personal Mobility

Currently, many of us do not want to give up our keys and we all want to stay physically independent. But in the future, with automation, IoT, and other technology, driverless cars will be a new method of transportation. This will help everyone stay mobile without any worries of losing the ability to drive or get anywhere that they want to go with ease. We will also begin to see more use of cars on a subscription-based service, where we will not necessarily own the car but can rent it out for an allotted amount of time for a fee.

Worry Free with Responsive Smart Homes 

Today we worry about being a burden to our loved ones and needing help in our homes, but in the near future, our homes themselves will be smart and can help support our daily lives. Responsive homes will be able to use machine learning to adapt to our needs and keep us safe. Through built in smart home technology, our own smartphones, and personal wearable devices, we will connect to our friends, access healthcare, and conduct other daily activities with the touch of a button or by just asking, “Good morning home, can you make me some coffee and take out the trash?”

Connecting to a Fulfilling Life in our Metaverse Communities

Now as our lives change and we age, we face loneliness and uncertainty as our loved ones move on and build their own families often far away. This can bring a feeling of being left out or being disconnected. But in the Metaverse, we will have new ways to stay connected with the people we care about and to keep doing the things we love. With the support of machine learning, our smart homes and smart devices will know what we like to do and will create new ways for us to stay engaged in our social lives.

With these new technologies, we will be able to enjoy more active lives with greater ease and comfort. Driverless cars, personal mobility systems, and responsive homes will help us get where we want to go with ease and keep us safe from injuries and illnesses. Virtual communities will let us engage with people and information in exciting new ways. We are even starting to see the developments of these exciting technologies in our lives today with the AI found in social robots and agents such as Siri or Alexa that lets us personalize and customize these technologies in ways that will make your life better. And all of this is so you can live better and enjoy life more. Welcome to the metaverse!

debra satterfield headshot

About the Author

Debra Satterfield is a professor at California State University, Long Beach. She holds an MFA degree in design from Iowa State University and a BS in computer science from Morningside College. She also studied Japanese language and culture at Kansai Gaikokugo Daigaku in Hirakata, Japan. Her research is on smart home technologies, aging in place, service design, and human experience design. She is on the scientific advisory board for the Human Side of Service Engineering (HSSE) and chairs panels on experience design and the metaverse. She is an in-home caregiver and mother of two adult children with autism.