The IFTF Blog
Technology Horizons 2017 Research: Toward an Internet of Actions
Ubiquitous networking has transformed cyberspace into a pervasive layer atop our physical reality. Meanwhile, the emerging Internet of Things promises to imbue ambient intelligence into every space and every object, from factories and forests to furniture and food packaging. All the devices around us, and inside us, will be sensors and storytellers, keeping a constant vigil on our world and sharing what they learn with the network. A constant flow of real-time data will enable us to index our physical world with a greater resolution than ever possible. That database will become the backbone of a new kind of human-machine interface: a search engine for reality itself. But to what end?
In the next decade, the web will evolve from an Internet of Information toward an Internet of Actions transforming everything from how we conduct business to our relationship with the material and natural world around us to how we get things done. A simple, spoken language request will trigger a cascade of search and orchestration of digital and physical activities, collaborations between people and algorithms, to anticipate and meet our needs. Our workspaces will sense our presence and dynamically pull information and ambient resources to enhance the ways we collaborate. We’ll buy a new deck for our house online and the network will order the materials, identify and route the best-suited contractors, tightly choreograph the construction, and summon an autonomous truck to deliver the waste to the recycling facility.
The Internet of Actions will get to know us, mining our digital footprints and understanding our intentions. It will anticipate our needs and behave proactively, offering us its services before we even ask. As we move from the Internet of Information toward an Internet of Actions, we will redefine our relationship with the physical world and the digital intelligence that powers it.
Join Institute for the Future’s Technology Horizons program as we explore a world in which reality has a search engine, and the Internet knows what we want— sometimes before we do—and just makes things happen. We’ll traverse eight opportunity spaces that will be hotbeds of this transformation:
TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATIONS & THRESHOLDS | Technical innovations emerging in the next decade
RETAIL & SHOPPING | How we buy products and services
WORK & COLLABORATION | How we create value with smart machines
INTERACTIONS & EXPERIENCES | How we engage with objects and spaces
ADVERTISING & MARKETING | How we capture attention and awareness
SECURITY & SAFETY | How we ensure safety and build trust
RESEARCH & DISCOVERY | How we create insight and innovation
EQUITY & INCLUSION | How we encode values into autonomous systems
Technology Horizons is an ongoing cost-shared research initiative with regular touch-points to deliver new forecasts and research. Participation in the 2017 research includes:
- Onboarding conversation to identify strategies for maximizing membership benefit
- Participation in our Spring expert workshop and access to early findings and insights
- Customized one-day strategic workshop for your team to develop and share early insights
- Participation in three-day research exchange and strategic retreat
- Access to printed and digital copies of our Map of the Decade, providing a visual executive summary of foresight and insight
- Access to printed and digital copies of IFTF’s Future Now annual publication providing in depth articles, perspectives and scenarios
- Annotated slide presentation decks from conference presentations designed to be shared easily and effectively with colleagues