The future is always hard to predict

by Jan Gulliksen on January 31, 2013

Today I was invited to speak at “E-legitimationsdagen 2013” on the topic “The eSociety 2020 – what role does eIdentification play”. And I hope the organizers did not regret that they invited me?

2020 is 7 years from now and to be able to understand what our society could look like then we should maybe compare what we had 7 years ago with today. Quickly you realize the tremendous development over the last 7 years and also how difficult it is to predict the future. There is also very well known future predictions that has gone completely wrong, such as the IBM president predicting the world market of computers to be five back in 1943, or the predictions that the weight of computers may go under 1,5 tons sometime in the future, a prediction made in 1957. More recently we can recollect Ines Uusman, the former communications minister saying “the Internet is a fad that might blow over. I do not think people in the long run will want to spend as much time as it actually takes, for surfing the web” as late as in 1996. So, therefore my predictions for the technique of eIdentification is that it most likely will not be the current techniques for doing this that will be in place in 2020. At that point our use of technology will most likely be very different from today. Biometric identification, increased mobile use, super thin bendable displays and voice interaction are some of the trends we see coming.

But this does not mean that the recent development of eIdentification techniques is not important. On the contrary the Swedish development of eIdentification is extremely important and world leading I would say. It is a necessary step for realizing the goals of the digital agenda, but we should not overemphasize the effect we predict it will have in the long future. 2020 is a long time from now and we will not be able to predict all development.

Watch the webcast from E-legitimationsdagen 2012

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