1739IE Focus | By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School
Politicians, entrepreneurs, and even some governments are trying to hamper the advance of technology. But technology is like liquid in that it can seep through into every aspect of our lives.
Liquids are known for their ability to always adapt to the cavity that contains them and for penetrating permeable surfaces. Modern-day technology is like a solid: it exists in watertight, well-defined compartments. It is associated with specific devices, specific functions and specific sectors of the public. There are generations that are impervious to technology, that refuse to soak it up as if it were trying to replace or detract from rather than complement their activities.

There are politicians who try to stop it, as if that were possible, as if those who oppose technological progress had ever won a battle against it. There are companies who confine it to specific functional areas or restrict it to specific personnel and there are even countries who try to block it so that citizens cannot gain access to it. We constantly come up against situations in which our options for using technology as we would like are scant or even non-existent due to not having access to a certain device, not having connectivity or a power supply, or to pure and simple ignorance.Where is the technology of the future going? Imagine a world in which many of today´s limitations disappear, an economy of abundance in technological resources: Everlasting batteries, connectivity everywhere, omnipresent devices that are easy to use… To a certain extent, the economy of abundance is already here: in terms of access to information, for example. Never in the history of humanity has one person had so much information at his or her fingertips and the option to use it in a reasonably simple way. In recent years, the processing of information was joined by people´s capacity for adding their own information to such a huge repository: photographs, notes, opinions, videos, favourite resources, etc.

For bright young people, moving around the web comes naturally, with an enormous number of tools available for as many functions, tools which also interact with each other. Today, technology forms part of almost every aspect of their lives: when they access information, when they contact other people, when they say where they are or what they are doing, when they read, when they study, when they look for information, when they chat… and technology is not only there, but also with them when they get up from their computer screens, despite the fact it is still somewhat limited.

The future of technology is a change of status: from staying in watertight compartments to penetrating everything and everywhere, including scepticism; to soaking into all our activities. In past decades, we created protocols and languages. We moved from ideas to code. In recent years, we have consolidated their use and development. In the future, technology will be everywhere: it will be liquid.