The Future is More Than Zeros and Ones
How many times have you seen the future of technology and computing represented by an endless stream of zeros and ones falling from the top of the screen to the bottom? It has become a symbolic representation of the complexity of information required to power the machines that we use every day linked together through the simplicity of two binary integers, 0 and 1.
The only problem with this image is we have to believe the future is going to be a whole lot more than zeros and ones. People who shape our future see an opportunity well beyond what most can imagine. How many times has Henry Ford’s quote been wrapped up in a presentation about innovation, “if I had of asked people what they wanted they would have said they wanted faster horses”, or even Steven Jobs who said that ”people do not know what they want until they see it”.
If we just get better at doing what we do today using what we know then the future is going to be predictable.
A great example is quantum computing which for many represent a big part of the future. Some calculations take years for present-day computers to complete where a quantum computer could do that same calculation in a few seconds by perform vast numbers of calculations simultaneously. So while computers that we use today store information as 0 or 1 a quantum computer through a quantum bit, also known as a qubit stores a whole lot more information as the 0 and 1 technically exist in the same state.
So far, the development of quantum computers has followed the traditional binary computing model and one of the challenges is that qubits are incredibly unstable and make a lot of errors. But there are some scientists who think that a ‘trinary’ system with three digits – 0, 1 and 2 also known as trits, contain more information than a conventional “bit” and could be the solution to the key challenges that scientists are facing in the building these super-fast computers. So maybe when we start to see quantum computing become more mainstream we just may be using a computer that is operating on more than zeros and ones.
Then there is Bitcoin, it is at the centre of one of the most popular and even controversial topics of discussion right now regarding the role that blockchain technology will play in shaping the future of currency. Those who see the opportunity in Bitcoin do not see this only as a new and efficient way to transact across borders, they see the opportunity in market-based centralisation which is something fundamentally different to how currencies operate today. If our currencies can become decentralised then everything can be decentralised in the future and thus controlled by the market.
So the image of the falling zero and ones may not be an accurate representation of the real opportunities of the future but is an image that for most feels believable. This is a good thing because those who are going to change the world do not need to believe in the future, they just need to see things differently.