Still waiting for the point-n-call and point-n-text features on my smartphone

by | Aug 27, 2020 | Social Trends

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Blog: Waiting For Point N Call And Point N Text On Smartphone

Many times I’ve driven past a store wondering if they have a certain item or what their store hours are. While I understand that it’s relatively easy to “Ask Siri” or “Hey Google,” I would much rather have the ability to just aim my phone at the store, hit a button, and automatically call them.

Or how about this? How often have you wished you could text a message to the people in the car next to you on the freeway (point-n-warn)? Or at some person across the room from you at a party (point-n-flirt)?

Not to be confused with “point-n-click,” which is designed for computer mouse engagement for people with disabilities, this point-n-call/text function would be built into a phone, like a camera function. In fact, in some of the ways we’d use it, it may need to activate the camera function.

Point-n-call/text would enable you to engage, through your smartphone or other device, with the technology of other devices that you are not otherwise connected to.

When you’re pointing at a building, there would need to be a “receptor” capability in or around that building to allow or engage in the interaction. The way I see it, point-n-call/text could be triggered by image recognition and/or Internet-based connectivity. In fact, it would be another iteration of the Internet of Things (IoT), with more devices talking to more things.

Naturally you’d need some system of checks and balances because, for example, you wouldn’t want someone to point-n-disengage your security system or turn the receptor mechanism on and off. Many of these capabilities will have to be decided on by the product designers, lawyers, and ethicists as they explore the feasibility and advisability of these and thousands of other use cases waiting to see the light of day.

But rather than getting buried in the hypothetical weeds of functionality, I’d rather spend time thinking through the “what if” side of the equation and the new world of interactivity it would open up.

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey Blog: Internet Of Things New World Of Interactive Technology

That said, I do need to address the elephant in the room: the obvious potential for abuse, harassment, and privacy intrusions stemming from point-n-call/text. I would just say, though, that nearly every communication technology opens those doors. Spam calls interrupt my day constantly. Texts with malicious links hit my smartphone 24/7. Social media sites are breeding grounds for slander and the spread of misinformation. But in these and other cases, including, I would argue, a point-n-call/text function, the bad must be weighed against the good … and I see far more positive aspects to this presumptive technology.

An interactive point-n-call/text function will add additional lines of communication and save time. It will help us make better-informed decisions and stimulate interpersonal conversations and relationships.

Going through a museum, wouldn’t it be great to point-n-text at a piece of artwork to find out about the artist or the artwork itself?

Driving past a city, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to point-n-call a highway sign and find out what businesses are located there, the history of the area, and if there are any hotel rooms available?

At a cocktail party, wouldn’t you want someone to surreptitiously point-n-warn you that you have chip dip on your chin? Yes, we need an app for that!

What if you could point at a billboard, sign on a bus, or ad on the back of a pedicab and get more detail, find pricing, or ask questions?

Here are a few more intriguing use cases for point-n-call/text technology:

  • Point at an actor on stage or screen and find out what other shows they’ve been in.
  • Point at a house and get a satellite image of it.
  • Point at a sporting venue and find out the cost of admission for today’s event.
  • Point at a landmark and begin an AI conversation about its significance.
  • Point at a dental office to find the price of an implant or a root canal.
  • Point at a business and see their reputation score.

Admittedly, my description is simplistic, and I’m only scratching the surface with these possible use cases. But in the interest of advancing humanity’s ability to productively communicate, I’m hoping to stimulate the thinking of the right person. If I’m successful, I’ll have a private moment of pride and satisfaction when I see this feature on my iPhone 15!

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Still waiting for the point-n-call and point-n-text features on my smartphone

by | Aug 27, 2020 | Social Trends

I was thoroughly intrigued when I found out the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado was offering a degree in asteroid mining.

Yes, the idea of extracting water, oxygen, minerals, and metals from an asteroid sounds like science fiction to most people, but it’s not that far away.  In fact, Colorado School of Mines’ newly launched “Space Resources” program will help people get in on the ground floor.

After thinking about the proactive nature of this approach, it became abundantly clear how backward thinking most colleges have become.

When colleges decide on a new degree program, they must first recruit instructors, create a new curriculum, and attract students. As a result, the talent churned out of these newly minted programs is the product of a 6-7 year pipeline.

For this reason, anticipatory-thinking institutions really need to be setting their sights on what business and industries will need 7-10 years from now.

The Risk-Averse Nature of Education

When Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen released his best-selling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, his core message that disruptive change is the path to success, was only partially embraced by higher education.

While many were experimenting with MOOCs and smart whiteboards, changes in the subject matter of their courses still evolved at the traditional pace of discovery.

This is not to say colleges are not innovative. Rather, the demands of today’s emerging tech environment are forcing business and industries to shift into an entirely new gear. And that most definitely includes our academic institutions.

From a management perspective, it’s far easier to oversee a contained system where all variables are constrained. But during times of change, we tend to give far more power to the “unleashers,” who are determined to test the status quo and release ideas and trial balloons to see what works.

For this reason, managers and creatives often find themselves on opposing sides, and the winners of these warring factions often determine what we as consumers see as the resulting ripples of change.

Offering Pilot Programs

When Facebook bought Oculus Rift in March 2014 for $2 billion, the job boards went crazy, as there was an instant uptick in the demand for VR designers, engineers, and experience creators. But no one was teaching VR, and certainly not the Oculus Rift version of it.

Colleges have a long history of being blindsided by new technologies:

  • When eBay launched, no one was teaching ecommerce strategies
  • When Myspace launched, no one was teaching social networking
  • When Google launched, no one was teaching online search engine strategies
  • When Uber launched, no one was teaching sharing economy business models
  • When Apple first opened their App Store, no one was teaching smart phone app design
  • When Amazon first allowed online storefronts, no one was teaching the Amazon business model
  • When YouTube first offered ways to monetize videos, no one was teaching it

Since most academic institutions are only willing to put their name on programs with long-term viability, the endorsement of half-baked agendas does not come easy. However, that is exactly what needs to be done.

Colleges can no longer afford to remain comfortably behind the curve.

52 Future College Degrees

As a way of priming your thinking on this matter, here are 52 future degrees that forward-thinking colleges could start offering today:

  1. Space Exploration – space tourism planning and management
  2. Space Exploration – planetary colony design and operation
  3.  Space Exploration – next generation space infrastructure
  4. Space Exploration – advanced cosmology and non-earth human habitats
  5. Bioengineering with CRISPR – policy and procedural strategies
  6. Bioengineering with CRISPR – advanced genetic engineering systems
  7. Bioengineering with CRISPR – operational implementations and system engineering
  8. Bioengineering with CRISPR – ethical regulation and oversight
  9. Smart City – autonomous traffic integration
  10. Smart City – mixed reality modeling
  11. Smart City – autonomous construction integration
  12. Smart City – next generation municipal planning and strategy
  13. Autonomous Agriculture – robotic systems
  14. Autonomous Agriculture – drone systems
  15. Autonomous Agriculture – supply chain management
  16. Autonomous Agriculture – systems theory and integration
  17. Swarmbot – design, theory, and management
  18. Swarmbot – system engineering and oversight
  19. Swarmbot – municipal system design
  20. Swarmbot – law enforcement and advanced criminology systems
  21. Cryptocurrency – digital coin economics
  22. Cryptocurrency – crypto-banking system design
  23. Cryptocurrency – regulatory systems and oversight
  24. Cryptocurrency – forensic accounting strategies
  25. Blockchain – design, systems, and applications
  26. Blockchain – blockchain for biological systems
  27. Blockchain – large-scale integration structures
  28. Blockchain – municipal system design strategies
  29. Global Systems – system planning, architecture, and design
  30. Global Systems – large-scale integration strategies
  31. Global Systems – operational systems checks and balance
  32. Global Systems – governmental systems in a borderless digital world
  33. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - drone film making
  34. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – command center operations
  35. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – municipal modeling and planning systems
  36. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – emergency response systems
  37. Mixed Reality - experiential retail
  38. Mixed Reality – three-dimensional storytelling
  39. Mixed Reality – game design
  40. Mixed Reality – therapeutic systems and design
  41. Advanced Reproductive Systems – designer baby strategies, planning, and ethics
  42. Advanced Reproductive Systems – surrogate parenting policy and approaches
  43. Advanced Reproductive Systems – organic nano structures
  44. Advanced Reproductive Systems – clone engineering and advanced processes
  45. Artificial Intelligence – data management in an AI environment
  46. Artificial Intelligence – advanced human-AI integration
  47. Artificial Intelligence – streaming AI data services
  48. Artificial Intelligence – advanced marketing with AI
  49. Quantum Computing – data strategies in a quantum-connected world
  50. Quantum Computing – quantum-level encryption and security
  51. Quantum Computing – quantum computing implementation strategies
  52. Quantum Computing – AI-quantum system integration

Final Thought

More so than any time in history, we have a clear view of next generation technologies. Naturally, we’re still a long way from 100% clarity, but for most of the technologies listed above, the shifting tectonic plates of change can be felt around the world.

Without taking decisive action, colleges run the risk of being circumvented by new types of training systems that can meet market demands in a fraction of the time it takes traditional academia to react.

The ideas I’ve listed are a tiny fraction of what’s possible when it comes to emerging tech degrees. Should colleges stick their neck out like Colorado School of Mines and offer degrees that may not be immediately useful? Adding to that question, how many college degrees are immediately useful today?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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