By Justin Maier
FOR MOST of us, it is hard to imagine a world without a cellphone, yet the world's first short messaging service (SMS) was only sent in 1992 and the first downloadable content sold to mobile phones – the ringtone – was less than 30 years ago, in 1998.
Today, we can do so much more with our mobile phones than send an SMS or download a ringtone: these devices have in many ways become an extension of our brain – a tool used to literally store our memories.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, has been driven largely by the convergence of digital, biological, and physical innovations and technologies such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, robotics, and 3D printing.
The mobile phone industry saw the introduction of 5G, and its power and potential – 5G smartphones now account for more than 10 percent of shipments around the world, for example.
But what advances will the Fifth Industrial Revolution (5IR) bring about and how will this change how we interact and engage with one another?
Artificial intelligence will become more powerful, and nanotechnology and genome sequencing could create innovative new medical treatments and revelations in medicine.
Neural technologies will enhance our brains, while prosthetics and other implants may enhance our bodies.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality could transform human characteristics, but will also be responsible for changing the way we communicate.
Mobile phones as we know them won't exist any longer, and instead they will become augmented reality devices that people perceive the world through.
The Fifth Industrial Revolution will bring forth innovation, purpose and inclusivity and we will see a deeper understanding and co-operation between people and machines, giving rise to a certain level of consciousness.
Consumers will demand business services or practices connected to purpose – so businesses that play an active role in driving sustainability and embracing purpose will flourish.
In his open letter to chief executives, Larry Fink, the chief executive of investment firm Blackrock, wrote: “Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits, but the animating force for achieving them.
“Profits are in no way inconsistent with purpose – in fact, profits and purpose are inextricably linked.”
I believe that this sentiment will be the driving force behind whether companies succeed or fail in the future.
We can see how the power of technology improves our daily lives, and with technologies getting better and faster and fitting more seamlessly into our lives, it will enable us to do more and stay connected in a rapidly changing world.
And we believe that the innovations that 5IR will potentially introduce in mobile technology will allow for humans to spend more time on important things like truly connecting with one another.
Justin Maier, is the vice-president: Sub-Sahara Africa at HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones.
*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites