The Future Of Tech Starts With Asking “What If?”04 May 2020
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
That’s especially true in the world of technology.
If we can’t envision a future world where our new ideas are a reality, then we won’t be able to use technology to improve our lives.
We need visionary dreamers because dreamers have the power to change the world by envisioning new ways of doing things. They come up with innovative ideas and combat naysayers with possibility. Dreamers are always looking beyond established obstacles and finding the means to bring their aspirations to fruition.
Elon Musk, for example, is often dreaming up new, world-changing ideas — ideas like transforming transportation with Tesla’s electric cars, accelerating space exploration through SpaceX, and introducing his high-speed transportation system, the Hyperloop.
In fact, most of the breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions throughout history — from the wheel to self-driving cars — are the result of curiosity combined with technology.
In this article, we’ll discuss how ‘dreamers’ — or visionaries — have changed the world by asking themselves ‘what if‘ when new technologies become available.
Changing the Future Starts with Asking “What If?”
Throughout history, inquisitive personalities have been the driving force behind innovation and new discoveries.
Sometimes, all it takes is a curious person asking themselves “what if” to change the status quo and spark a new discovery that leads to a breakthrough.
It seems most people agree on the importance of asking “what if”. In a recent Harvard Business Review survey of more than 3,000 employees, 92 percent gave credit to curious people for bringing new ideas to teams and organizations. Respondents also said curiosity is a catalyst for job satisfaction, motivation, innovation, and high performance.
Asking the right questions is what leads to advances in technology. Like Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.”
Stretching the limits of what is possible is just as important as working within the confines of our current limitations.
At the same time, the most amazing advances in technology are inspired by the dreamers among us.
Technology + Curiosity = Magic
Anyone who lives with an eye towards the future knows today’s science fiction will be tomorrow’s reality.
But some technological advances are so life-changing they seem like wizardry.
Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke famously observed, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
We want more “magic” in our lives.
The secret to transforming today’s dream into tomorrow’s reality is being curious about how life would improve with one small change.
Of course, we also need the technology and infrastructure that enables these dreams to be a reality.
Successful “What if?” Questions
“What if we could send voice data wirelessly?”
When Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call to his assistant, Thomas Watson back in 1876 he never imagined that 97 years later Motorola engineer Martin Cooper would use a handheld cellular phone to communicate wirelessly.
Cellular communications not only changed where, when, and how we connect to each other but also allowed remote sensors and machine-to-machine communications.
Of course, before cell phones could transform our lives we had to have a network of cell towers to receive radio waves used to transmit electrical signals from phone to phone.
“What if we could connect to the Internet without cables?”
When Wi-Fi appeared, it opened the door for new user experiences and devices. Even though it was already possible to connect with the Internet through a cable, Wi-Fi let us deliver large amounts of data to mobile phones, which allowed streaming and comfortable email and Web browsing experiences from anywhere in the world.
It allowed smart speakers to be placed almost anywhere because they could stream music from the Internet. It changed the business models of companies like Netflix from renting DVDs to streaming — and so much more.
“What if cars didn’t need gas?”
This history of the automobile is filled with stories of visionaries who pushed the boundaries of innovation.
Ever since cars were invented people have been dreaming of ways to improve on their design. Battery technology is the result of people asking “what if a car did not need gasoline” and “what if we could recharge a car just like we charge a watch?”
Although electric cars have been around for some time, they have only recently become commercially viable. There were people who asked “what if a car did not need gas” before Elon Musk, but he popularized that category when his vision intersected with new advancements in battery technology. His strong will to be first to innovate on a grand scale.
Nonetheless, once that dream was realized, it turns out that many consumers were ready for a future where the internal combustion engine is a relic.
And the market recognizes when a dreamer’s dream becomes a reality.
Escalent, a human behavior and analytics firm released a report showing the majority of car buyers expect to abandon traditional gas-powered cars as early as 2025. In fact, 70% of Americans plan to buy a gasoline-powered car within the next year, but only 37% expect to buy a gas-powered vehicle in five to ten years.
This drastic change in consumer demand and values just years after the first electric car was sold is all thanks to a dreamer.
The Next Frontier for New Visionaries
“What if we could stay connected without wires and batteries?”
New dreamers are beginning to imagine a world where phones never need charging and batteries never need to be replaced or recharged.
They’re asking, “What if a device could have ample power at its disposal without being tethered to an electrical outlet or dependent on a battery?” — which has led to the creation of new technology, wireless power, that makes these ‘what ifs’ a reality.
For over 100 years, inventors such as Nikola Tesla have worked on wireless delivery of power. Fortunately, after trying many technical avenues, wireless power is now able to be delivered safely and efficiently from a distance. It is sparking the imagination of creators and consumers alike.
When you consider long-range wireless power technology can power smart door locks, restrooms, smart shelving in stores, and more, you start to see how wireless power is a key enabler for the future. As the number of smart devices in both households and commercial installations increases, constant replacement and recharging of batteries are fast becoming impractical.
Thankfully asking “what if” has enabled a new generation of dreamers to imagine a world with no power cords, no batteries, and endless power delivery. Just as with cell phones,Wi-Fi, and electric cars, technology has finally caught up with our imaginations making wireless power an actuality.
We live in interesting times.
Technology such as IoT and smart devices allows us to live in and dream in a connected world where anything is possible.
We salute the visionary manufacturers who want to create new devices and user experiences by exploring cutting-edge technology like wireless power. By embedding new “wireless power supply” solutions, manufacturers can design everyday devices and gadgets that benefit from wireless charging and completely change the status quo of device use.
We want to encourage the next generation of visionaries out there to think about wireless power in the same way Elon Musk thinks of electric cars — with a sense of urgency, perpetual forward momentum and drive in mind. We don’t have to wait for decades to improve the user experience or design the next world-changing product.
So, here’s to the dreamers that are ready to dream — right now.