The fourth industrial revolution is bringing about such profound and deep changes in the way we work, consume and communicate that few would have dared to predict them decades ago. But if you are Bill Gates, you have the baggage, the experience and the prestige enough to venture you to try to guess them.
Bill Gates glimpsed what he would bring in the years to come: in his book he talks about the Internet of Things, websites that communicate with friends and family and personalized ads. In total, he made 14 predictions that some more than others, surprisingly approach the reality of our days.
1. There will be automated price comparison services
The first of Bill Gates’ predictions in 1999 was about automated price comparison services, which would allow people to check the offers and rates on several websites from one place at a glance to find the product or service cheaper.
2. We will bring mobile devices
Some Apple purist will say that the smartphone was Jobs’s idea, but Gates already spoke in his book of small devices that would allow us to be constantly connected, check the news, buy and do just about anything. Then not only came the iPhone but a lot more smart mobiles, smartwatches, etc.
3. We will manage our finances and our health through the internet
Surely many took him for a crazy when the founder of Microsoft dared to predict that someday the internet would allow us to pay our bills, manage our personal finances or even consult our doctor.
Today we are in the midst of a revolution in the health sector, called eHealth, and it has its main channel (mHealth) on its mobile (as in many other industries). Not to mention the Fintech, which have put upside down the financial sector and in particular the banking sector.
4. Personal assistants and things internet
Gates predicted that someday we would have personal assistants who would connect to all our devices, act as managers of our tasks, and help us solve problems. He even dared to specify, and in his book, he talks about notifications, answers to questions, shopping lists and cooking recipes.
Today we already walk to the world where all the devices are IoT and we have an assistant like Siri, Alexa, Google Now, Cortana etc.
5. Security Video Camera
Gates thought that in the future we would have our houses full of cameras, which would allow us to consult at all times what happens inside while we are not.
While this has not become a massive trend, there are companies that specialize in this technology. One is Ring, which manufactures smart door cameras to see who’s at the door and PetCube, which allows us to play with our pet from a distance while we’re out.
6. Private websites for friends and family
Then I did not know, but those platforms would be called “social networks.” He thought there would be private webs to communicate with friends and family and plan events. The rest is history.
7. Automatic Promotions
Although cookies started working in 1994, when Gates wrote his book, you will not be able to segment users as they do today. That is why it has merit to predict that in the future we would be embedded with ads and offers related or similar to our searches. Nowadays we are tired of receiving this type of promotions.
8. Debate live while watching sports competitions
In his book, Gates writes that in a few years television channels would allow us to comment on live matches and sports competitions and even participate in surveys of the possible winner.
This is not exactly true, although there are streaming services through Youtube and some online TV platforms that do incorporate live chat. The closest thing to Gates’ prediction is the debate that always comes up on Twitter about television shows.
9. Smart ads
In the style of Minority Report, the founder of Microsoft already imagined almost twenty years ago that the ads that would impact us would be personalized and adapted to our tastes and purchasing power.
Where else the predictions of the founder of Microsoft slipped were those related to television (at least the conventional). His expectations led him to believe that future releases would include links to relevant websites and supplementary content.
The closest thing we have is the QR codes we can scan or the “call to action” so that we visit the web or follow social networks.
11. The Internet will be the new “courtyard neighbors”
Gates could not imagine to what extent. As it is predicted, the Network is now the place where users from anywhere in the world comment on topics of interest, politics or current affairs, either in the “Comments” section of the websites or, of course, in social networks.
12. Software for project management
Gates was able to see the enormous potential of the network and software to improve the efficiency of organizations. Almost twenty years ago he predicted that project managers could work remotely with their teams, give feedback and collaborate online.
Today we have much more than that and with cloud computing, much of the internal infrastructure of companies, not just projects, is present on servers in the network.
13. Companies will hire staff through the internet
In line with the previous prediction, Gates predicted that the network, in addition to working, would serve to find and find employment. “People will indicate their interests, skills, and knowledge and find opportunities based on them.”
Nowadays not only serves the candidates, but the recruiters have turned job portals and LinkedIn into a more talent search tool.
14. Freelance platforms
Gates predicted that micro-projects and outsourcing would be commonplace in the future. A scenario where freelance play an essential role, and for them thought that in the future would be a very useful marketplace to hire them. The companies would publish their offers and the professionals would have their profile, with their portfolio, services, and tariffs.
Today there are many multitude of platforms of this type like Freelance, Uppwork, Odesk etc.