Technology is evolving at a breathtaking pace. Just in the past 10 years, we’ve seen dramatic advancements in the areas of mobile computing, wireless connectivity, cloud technology, big data, and even artificial intelligence. It’s altered the way we communicate, how we purchase goods and services, and the way we do business. But where is all this heading, and what impact will it have? What changes will we see in the next 10 years?
Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at Resilient, an IBM company, says in a recent Forbes article that we’re moving toward what he calls the World-sized Web (WSW). This massive interconnected system, he says, will have two main components: sensors and actuators. The sensors will collect data, leveraging the multitude of devices connected to the web, and the actuators will affect our environment by carrying out actions. The WSW’s “brains” will reside in the cloud, comprising some form of artificial intelligence. According to Schneier, the system will essentially be a “benign robot.”
Most likely, the risks and challenges associated with cloud computing, as well as IoT and other emerging technologies, will only continue to grow in the coming years. And while the shifts thus far may be substantial, and their implications for organizations vast, what’s to come may be truly seismic. Schneier says the impending technology will be increasingly powerful and eventually capable of autonomy. Acting on behalf of users, it will help maximize profits but also “empower criminals and hackers.”
Regardless of whether this prediction ultimately comes to pass, it’s a reminder of the need to constantly look ahead and consider how emerging technology may impact the organization. To paraphrase Schneier, whatever all of this means, we don’t want it to take us by surprise.
Read Internal Auditor August 2016 "Hyperconnected" online