What wave are we riding now? What’s the next one?

This is a profound moment in the history of culture and technology. At the historic People-Centered Internet event Monday, we will be celebrating with Internet founder Dr. Vinton G. Cerf that 50% of the world’s population is now online. At the same time, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Douglas Engelbart‘s famous “1968 Demo” that launched the era of personal computing.

This is moment for stepping back and looking forward — something we at Visual Insight love doing with visual language that helps us see beyond the obvious to what’s really happening now and what’s likely to happen next.  Right now we are asking the question:  What has been the biggest wave of change in the last decade? And what is biggest wave of change we can expect in the next decade?


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This is an excerpt from the end of the 4-by-28-foot  80-year Co-Evolution Timeline Mural we created with Dr. Engelbart in 2008 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his ’68 Demo. In 2008 we were asking: “What will the next wave of innovation be?”  Now we are at the end of that 2008-2018 wave looking back.

We must understand our recent history — the wave we are riding now — in order to anticipate the next.  Engelbart, who was a philosopher and futurist as well as inventor, taught us that culture evolves with technology and vice-versa.  To help us, please enjoy the 80-year Co-Evolution Timeline Mural to see how everything from psychology, world events, and popular books impacted today’s communication techniques and social structures.  After looking back, help us identify: What is this wave of change under way now that will change our future landscape? Some suggestions are: Ubiquitous mobile technology,  the #metoo movement changes power structure, new structures for trusting information. What do you think?  Let us know.

As far as the next wave, we expect to have more insight and inspiration on Monday when we’ll create a visual journal of the People Centered Internet event with the world’s technology leaders, representatives of the United Nations and IEEE, and change agents who will put their heads together (If you  want to join us for the plenary and/or evening gala, please let me know asap, eileen@visualinsight.net).   Stay tuned!

For now, we share our loving memories of Dr. Engelbart, who died in 2013 at the age of 88 leaving behind a legacy for social and technology innovation. Here is a section from the  80-year Co-Evolution Timeline Mural  around the time of the 1968 Demo when he introduced the first computer mouse, linking  video-conferencing and many others aspects of technology we take for granted today.  In the sun are some of the the values and ideas he embraced in a  vision for our collective IQ making life better for humanity and the planet.

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What wave are we riding now? What’s the next one?

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