A Publication of WTVP

Technology, for me—and, I suspect, for many of us—is among the most frustrating aspects of modern life… and also one of the most fascinating. When it works (and when I know how to use it!), technology can be wonderful. When it doesn’t, it can leave you feeling absolutely helpless.

And then there’s the never-ending upgrade journey. Just a few short years ago, I felt on top of things as I learned the ins and outs of my BlackBerry smartphone. I had gotten pretty good at typing with my thumbs on its tiny keyboard when news reports began trickling in of the woes of its parent company. That trickle became a flood, and before long, I was one of a few left at the table with a BlackBerry, while everyone else moved on to the iPhone and its magical touchscreen.

Soon, I did the same, exchanging yet another familiar gadget for something brand-new, with a not insignificant learning curve. Humbled again, I’m still learning my way around its auto-complete functionality, while Siri… though fun, doesn’t seem to understand most of my vocal commands. But she will improve, as each iteration of technology demonstrates—that is one thing we can count on, along with the continuous need to learn something new.

If, 10 or 15 years ago, we’d had a crystal ball and saw the cover of this month’s issue, we probably would not have known what we were looking at. But with the widespread proliferation of smartphones—and their ever-increasing usefulness in our daily lives—it’s not too difficult to foresee the coming revolution of augmented reality.

The blurring of the “real world” and the virtual one has long been a favorite theme of science fiction writers and futurists—even before the Internet. Today, that magical future is just about here, proving true the words of Arthur C. Clarke, the great science fiction writer, who famously stated that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

And while the near-future is sure to bring with it powerful applications for good, the likes of which we can now hardly envision, there will also be a dark side. Not only does our connectedness facilitate all this useful functionality, it is also our greatest challenge, as Steve Hope, CEO of the IT security firm CIAN Inc., notes in this issue.

Most certainly, Hope is not understating our vulnerability. In this age of magic, as our “real” and digital lives continue to become one, cyber-security will only become more critical if we hope to stay a step ahead of the bad guys. iBi