1966 was the year England won the World Cup and the first episode of Star Trek aired. But it also saw the first issue of the UK’s staple IT professional magazine, Computer Weekly appear on UK newsstands. It’s sad that the ever-changing world of technology saw the print edition of the magazine become extinct back in 2011. However, the online version of Computer Weekly and its new digital format continue to report and add to what is fifty years of significant impact on the British technology industry.
A couple of weeks ago, Computer Weekly celebrated the 50th anniversary of this first issue, and the Lorries were there to mark the occasion. The half-centenary celebrations were led by editor-in-chief, Bryan Glick, who began by exploring examples of Britain successfully competing with the renowned technological giants in the Silicon Valley. Here he cited various prideworthy moments such as code-cracking at Bletchley Park during the war, Harold Wilson’s ‘white heat’ of technology in the 1960s and Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web in 1989.
A group of leading CIOs from the likes of Barclays, Unilever and the Department for Work and Pensions made up the first panel of the day, who discussed how tech start-ups have provided their companies with a unique, beneficial edge. We were then given the chance to check out the technology innovation fair, where start-up companies presented their ideas. One stand out feature on display was the first beer to be brewed via artificial intelligence – a cutting-edge internet of things device and essential in any successful corporate business…but personally, I’d prefer wine!
The event closed with leading analysts, researchers and futurists looking back on ‘legacy’ in the tech world and the negative connotations this word has. The industry is continuing to move at a fast pace, and the overall view was the failings of long-outdated products aren’t affecting innovation and the development of new ideas.
The experts also looked ahead to the next fifty years and made their predictions for how tech will reshape the world during this time. One popular theory put forward suggested that the world is likely to be ruled by only about four key companies. This was interesting to me because to an extent, this is already happening, although it doesn’t mean that the likes of Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft will still be the ones on top of their game in fifty years’ time. Another interesting point was the mention of a ‘risk-free world’ where regenerative medicine will be readily available and people will no longer die from illness or simply crossing a busy road.
For me, the most interesting prediction was the suggestion that wearables will progress to clothing, meaning that your favourite dress will be able to communicate with you and make changes to the way the item fits. It’s likely that in the same way smartphones have become an everyday necessity, our children and grandchildren will think nothing of these completely disposable and ultra-connected wearable devices. My own view is the next stage in artificial intelligence technology in particular will be machines’ ability to intuit human emotion – a scary thought!
Whatever the next fifty years hold in terms of technology trends, I look forward to finding out…If you’ve got any views on the future of technology, leave a comment below!