2013-11-01

A Crackpot Theory About The Future

I've been thinking about this for a while. It's just a crackpot theory, but it seems to make sense to me, so take it for what you will. There are probably all kinds of holes in it.

I envision a future in which your technological ecosystem defines your economic community. Let's say you're Facebook. You're integrated with Skype for phone calls, you handle your email through Facebook email, and probably eventually MS Outlook. Your mobile phone provider will eventually be affiliated with Facebook, and probably also your mobile phone brand itself. I'm guessing the reality of the situation is that Microsoft will eventually fold, or reduce the scope of its business dramatically, so there will no longer be any competition between Microsoft and Apple. Instead, Facebook will integrate with iOS, and that will become what we now understand to be an "operating system." One stop shop for phone, PC, tablet, etc.

Now here's the important part: This technological ecosystem will become affiliated with businesses. Much as iTunes is the music store for Apple technology and Google Play is the music store for Google technology. Amazon has yet to really choose a side, but I don't think their Kindle technology will be able to compete with Facebook and Google and Apple in the long-run. There may be other players that pop into this market. But for now think about Amazon, and its ability to bring together the full scope of wholesale and retail sales under one roof. That's the future of everything.

Amazon has already integrated with both Google Wallet and PayPal for payments. Wallet, PayPal, Interac (for you Canadians), Bitcoin, and all these various schemes will become currencies in their own right. If you "live" in the Facebook ecosystem, you'll have to convert your PayPal dollars to Google Wallet dollars if you want to buy something from Google's retail system (probably an extension of Google Local).

So these economic communities will feature their own social networks, currencies, business affiliations, rules of good conduct, etc. etc. They will essentially be virtual nation-states that we "buy-into" by choosing which ecosystem best fits our needs. 

All that assumes, of course, that governments don't stomp all of this kind of innovation down, which is a real possibility, considering its obvious potential to make traditional government a thing of the past.