DigComm - Jan 2016

Week 10 Reflection: What’s in Store for the Future

I can’t believe the semester is over already. The last ten weeks absolutely flew by, and I’m not sure how I can condense everything I’ve learned and all my thoughts on so many complex topics into a blog post, but I’m going to try.

futuretech

This week’s lecture was centered around the future of communications and how everything we’ve been studying is going to continue to progress over time. I sat down this weekend and gave each topic we studied a lot of thought and considered what the future for each might be in turn. Across the board, there were some obvious similarities – more of what we have now. More wearables, more customization, more interaction, more of the same but easier, faster, and more convenient – everything we’ve come to expect out of our technology.

At the same time, I look at the current state of technology – for example, Apple products – and I wonder how much more can be done. The iPad has proven to be the most overhyped electronic device in recent years. It is mostly just a larger iPhone. The Apple Watch has had its criticisms too, and the Amazon Echo, Google’s Cortana, and, of course, Siri, are not each without their faults. So, when it comes to the future of communication, what would make consumers happy?

Looking at the criticisms of “smart personal assistants,” people seem to want a completely artificially-intelligent robot PA, a la Her, but when things that fit this bill are created, they are received by mixed reviews. We mentioned this creation during the live session (her name is Sophia) and, while some people thought this idea held promise and was potentially very cool) most of us were horrified as soon as we heard that she has cameras in her eyes that will recognize a person’s face. Maybe it’s movies that have made us so fearful of artificial intelligence, but, personally, I just don’t feel ready for something like Sophia to become mainstream.

So where is the field of communications headed? This is a broad question, and when it comes to looking towards the future of things like mobile devices, interactivity, virtual reality and customization, how can anyone really predict where an ever-changing field like communications might be in a month or two, much less ten years? New technological developments happen every day. Popularity of certain mediums wanes and waxes. Facebook is the new MySpace, and in another year or two, Twitter will probably have completely eclipsed Facebook. Given that social networks are just a small fraction of communication as a whole, and this example is one tiny afterthought to a very complex discussion, how can I begin to tackle the future of an entire industry in one measly blog post?

I look forward to seeing how things will evolve in the field. There’s not much I can say about the future of communication technology that we didn’t cover during the live session. My classmates are an intelligent bunch, and we were largely in agreement about my earlier point that we will see more convenience, faster, and with the added (and cooler) bonus of things like holograms and virtual reality. So rather than harp on about points we’ve already discussed at length, I’ll use this time to reflect on the class in general and how I felt about my first semester as a Communications@Syracuse student.

In the course evaluation for this class, I wrote that this course was a good Intro course without feeling too Intro-y. This course provided a great background to the program and what we were going to learn, while still teaching me something new every week. I was a Communications major in undergrad, but I know that not everyone else was. This course catered to those who needed the extra help without making students like me bored with the content and feeling like we were slowly going over the basics every week.

Maybe our section was just blessed with a great group of students, but the live sessions were my favorite part of this course. In my undergraduate classes, I never felt like I received a diverse range of perspectives, because so many of the students in my classes were people similar to me. My undergrad classmates were from the same part of the country, had the same upbringing, and all looked the same. No two people have the exact same life experience, but for the most part, we were similar. So far, I feel as though I have been exposed to lots of different professions, people, and parts of the country, which has made for a robust discussion throughout the semester.

Wrapping up this course is bittersweet. I’ll miss our Monday night talks as much as I’ll miss watching The Bachelor right after them, but the takeaway I’ve gotten from this course – mainly, the fresh perspective I now have on the industry and my deeper understanding of the topics we’ve studied – balances out the sadness of the course’s end.

Thanks for everything, Intro to Dig. Comm. I can’t wait to meet you all next week!

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