Presenting at the #TechMyWay conference hosted by Lenovo in Sydney, new Lenovo product engineer - and no doubt PR gold mine - Ashton Kutcher says technology can give us superpowers.
“Why do we settle for 20/20 vision? It’s kind of silly, because it’s not the best vision,” says Kutcher, referring to future opportunities for technology around human input sensory.
“[Vision] can get a lot better than that, we can improve it. I could see the guy in the back row and your reaction to what I’m saying if we had better vision…I should be able to hear you across the room or down the hall,” says Kutcher.
Output sensory is also rife with opportunity, according to Kutcher, who says we should shift our focus from optimising platforms operated by fingers, such as mouses and touch screens, to more agile senses.
“If we were super heroes, we would have more agile pointers than this… it might be your voice, it might even be your thoughts – there are technologies that exists today where if you focus hard enough you can flip a switch… these could be the sensories [sic] of the future, and that’s exciting.”
Kutcher, who is also an investor in many popular companies such as Spotify, Uber and Airbnb, expressed enthusiasm for virtual reality and augmented reality, dominated by headsets like Samsung's Gear VR headset and the Oculus Rift.
He says the latest advancements are “mind blowing” because by using these technologies, “this world can become whatever we want it to be”.
“In a world of AR and VR we can walk down the street and have monsters jump around corners. I can leave virtual digital notes for my wife… the entire world becomes a playground of our own technology, and we can place things in space and recall them whenever we want.”
Another prediction for the next big thing was around identification and gaining permissive access based on readings from wearable technologies, such as Fujitsu's vein-recognition PulseWallet, which identifies a person by scanning the unique pattern of veins in their hand.
"Once [wearables] really know that it's me, permissive access to the entire world opens up.
"These things are going to read our gait; every human being has a different gait, it turns out. We have different heartbeats and our heartbeat as it's oriented to our gait is different, and our sweat is different.”
Once the sensors in wearables verify that you are the user, Kutcher says you can have access to anything, from bank accounts and private information to secure buildings and rooms.
Kutcher also expressed interest in areas like robotics and biotechnology after encountering someone who injects the phosphorescence of jellyfish into plants with ideas around creating glowing trees instead of street lights, as well as having friends working on a robot that is “learning how to learn”.
Some major industry pros like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates have expressed concern around artificial intelligence, believing robots could work against us in the future, but Kutcher thinks it will be robots that push our innovation as it will ask questions humans never thought to ask.
"Once [the robot] knows how to learn it could get smart real fast, because we could just feed it the internet, and it could make correlations between things that we could never fathom…. Give me a robot that can ask a great question, and I’ll show you the future."
Kutcher says in his work with “unbelievable entrepreneurs”, the one thing they all have in common is they tear down conventions by asking “extraordinary questions”.
“A lot of people build to where the puck was, rather than where the puck is going,” says Kutcher.
“So keep your questions coming, make them smart, and imagine the impossible.”
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.