The future of technology according to Accenture

In 1978, storing a 1.27GB movie on disc, downloading it and watching it would have cost approximately a million dollars (£506,000).

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In 1978, storing a 1.27GB movie on disc, downloading it and watching it would have cost approximately a million dollars (£506,000).

Nowadays it would cost about $500 (£253). In 2038, it would cost next to nothing, estimated Don Rippert, chief technology officer and managing director at Accenture.

Rippert used the movie "Enchanted" to illustrate the increasing commoditisation of technology. "So your million-dollar movie now costs about a dime to download, it costs about $500 to have a device to not only hold that movie but another 124 others," he said.

He spoke at Accenture's annual Global Convergence Forum this week, where industry executives gathered to discuss the event's theme, "Achieving High Performance in a Multi-Polar World". He shared his vision of where technology was headed in the year 2038.

Technology will be more "affordable and imaginable", said Rippert, going as far as to predict that devices of all sorts that reside in the body like the heart defibrillator.

Other uses for devices like those that drive cars and act like micro-sensors already exist in some form, he continued, noting that the audience had successfully arrived in Miami Beach most likely in an airplane that at some point was flying on autopilot.

The use of identifying documentation like passports and driver's licences, he said, will be replaced with biometric technology that reads retina patterns and fingerprints. In fact, he added, retinal scans are already in use is some American airports.

But while technology will become increasingly accessible, more powerful with the emergence of better microprocessors, and eventually converge, Rippert said the challenge will be striking a balance between ubiquity and usability.

The technology will always be there, he said, but the goal is to create experiences that people can actually use. "It's not the chips, but the coordination that matters, the ability to communicate between computers."

IdaRose Sylvester, senior research analyst at IDC, agreed that usability in future technologies is incredibly vital. However, she said that because users will be saturated with commoditised technology, the product and services development will be a natural process where usability may not be such a challenge.

Although with some emerging technologies, she said, there will always be those that target a niche group or early adopters or technology enthusiasts. It boils down to the needs of the average consumer, said Sylvester, which are very basic.

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