May 8, 2017Published by: Drew Benvie

Will social media bring an end to the phone and the TV?

Last month at the annual Facebook F8 conference, where Mark Zuckerberg stands up and forecasts the future of social media and tech, we were given a new proclamation: that we will soon see an end to smartphones and TV.

The idea, in essence, is that we'll wear screens on our faces, in the form of a pair of glasses or contact lenses. Then we can just look at the wall, the street, our hands, or wherever we expect to want to see a TV, phone, or the information we usually get from these things, and using Augmented Reality (AR) tech, everything will just be there.

Elon Musk, on the other hand, recently said that he believes the future of interacting with our phones, tablets, TVs and computers will all be about improvements in the technology used for communicating with them, so that we aren't 'glued', rather than reinventing the platforms themselves. He believes that it is AI, not AR, that's better able to communicate with us, through speech but also directly through our thoughts.

Having used most forms of AR that have been available over the last 5 years, from Oculus to Hololens to Glass, and having also invested a fair bit of time into AI and speech interfaces with tech, I think that our digital future lends more to Musk's 'Neural Lace' than Zuckerberg's future of AR; more to Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johanssen's Her than Tom Cruise's Minority Report.

Of course, Facebook's betting big on AI too, so it's not like all Zuck's eggs are in the one basket. But I think our phones and TVs are about to get way smarter, rather than disappear altogether any time soon.

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