The ketchup effect.
Looking beyond AI.
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Today marks my last day at The Talent Company, a special week in many ways.
I always find it bittersweet to leave a workplace, especially one you’ve enjoyed, as I have done with The Talent Company.
Should you need help in any aspect of HR - reach out to Fredrik. Even if you don’t see a need right here and now, reach out to him. Grab a cup of coffee and talk about HR. You won’t regret it.
That said, let’s get going. Today’s topic is ketchup.
I have a five-year-old. And if you’ve ever been around five-year-olds, you know that they like one thing more than anything - they want to do stuff on their own.
That usually works out fine in most cases; sure, things take a while, but patience is a virtue and all of that. But then there’s the ketchup. He shakes, and he tries.
I want to help him but no. He shakes again. Squeezes.
And then, all of a sudden, everything at once.
Technology is usually like ketchup. First, there’s nothing. Even though you see and feel ketchup in there, it disappoints you. And then, all of a sudden, your macaroni becomes ketchup with a sprinkle of macaroni instead of the opposite.
If you are old enough, you remember the initial web hype. We were promised everything. We could see it in the demos; we could feel it from the people promising that our future of we was golden. But for a long time, there was nothing.
The Nenode N1 promised to be a smartphone. To have a touchscreen, to be connected, and to look amazing. We could see it; we could feel it in 2002. But then there was nothing.
For years people talked about AI. I attended an open course at University about AI because it was imminent. Read books, pondering about the future. And then, there was nothing.
Then ChatGPT launched, and AI caught up on the hype.
Just like the web did. And the smartphone.
The thing is that this is usually how technology works.
It starts somewhere with a vision, a technology trigger.
Then someone starts playing with it. And the hype is on. Until it isn’t, and people tend to laugh at it. “Haha, please - the web! Ha! Just a fad.”
“500 dollars? Fully subsidized? With a plan? I said that is the most expensive phone in the world. And it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard. Which makes it not a very good email machine.”
Steve Ballmer, when asked about the iPhone.
And then there’s a pivotal moment when it’s made accessible, the wider public fully embraces the technology, and all previous doubts diminish and are forgotten.
I blame no one; I do this myself. AI is one example where I’ve spoken very little about the impact of AI in the past and deemed it to be a trend no one talked about anymore. (Hedge that one, though, with the last sentiment - phew!)
Why am I bringing all of this up again? Because I believe the next one to be experienced this way is the Metaverse.
The metaverse hype curve is on a downward trend right now. It’s easy to understand why. AI seems to be the new shiny toy, and everyone is (for the right reasons) looking to build a great chatbot. But two giants are lurking in the shadows.
The first one is pretty obvious; even though Zuckerberg has let many people go, he still has a huge squad working on Metaverse-related stuff. Even though they added stuff to their strategic plate, the Metaverse is still on the horizon for Meta. Much money is being put towards the effort, and we could get an “Iphone-moment” from Meta—E.g., a technological advancement that makes sense of the somewhat unclear definition of the Metaverse.
The second one is Apple. We know little about what Apple is building, but they are building something. Rumor has it that it’s an augmented reality headset. It’s all rumors up to this point, but we can rest assured that they are exploring ways of staying ahead in the technology race.
Precisely what they are up to is yet to be found out, but it will be something that I’m sure of. Of course, there’s a good chance we might see an unknown player also stepping into the space and pushing it forward even further.
My main point around this is that even though there are a lot of talks, for good reasons, about how AI will impact the workplace, there’s more brewing in the shadows.
We might not see it because the spotlight is elsewhere now, but I believe it’s still worth exploring other stuff than AI. It’s back to the use cases - if you have a need and can clearly articulate it, be open to looking at different ways. VR or visiting the Metaverse might still be the right solution for you, even if it doesn’t have AI slapped on the side.
Right now, we’re shaking the metaverse bottle, and it’s not much coming out, but all of a sudden, there will be VR everywhere, just like with ketchup.