202 – 2024 Tech Predictions

In this episode of the podcast, we have Michael Babcock and Ashley Coleman as guests. They discuss the recent tech news and one of the biggest changes, which is the applications key being replaced by the chat GPT key. Michael shares his opinion, stating that he’s not as upset about it because he’s already found workarounds. He also questions whether Microsoft can prevent Sharp Keys from changing the key. Ashley mentions that it will be disruptive for people who rely on the applications key and may cause problems for those who are learning. They discuss the purpose of the dedicated key and its connection to AI. They speculate that AI has the potential to be something big in the future.

We believe that AI will continue to be present in our lives for the foreseeable future. While current AI advancements may make our devices seem outdated, AI is here to stay. As podcast producers, we have recently discovered AI tools that make our job easier and fill in the gaps where we lack knowledge or expertise. Ideally, AI would become seamlessly integrated into our devices without the need for the term itself. Apple, for example, avoids using the term AI and instead focuses on machine learning and computer vision. This approach may make AI more relatable and appealing to a wider audience. We discuss the concept of artificial general intelligence (AGI), which represents when AI surpasses human intelligence and can independently perform tasks beyond machine learning. However, the term AGI is often confusing and its definition varies. We mention a show called AI Name This Show, where they discuss future possibilities of AI. They predict that wearable technology and AI will merge by 2024, with devices like the Humane pen and the Rewind device utilizing AI to enhance our experiences. As for hardware integration, we foresee AI being folded into various devices, and more offline AI applications to cut costs. We also mention the newly announced OpenAI Chat GPT store, which allows users to access the GPT model for a subscription fee. This service has been helpful for tasks like writing emails and creating content, and its availability in customized and additional products will further contribute to AI’s growth in 2024.

So, we keep hearing every few months that AI is getting smarter and will start taking jobs away from people. However, we personally don’t believe that. We think AI is only expanding the possibilities of what we can do in our jobs. While some argue that AI will replace customer service professionals, we don’t think that will happen. AI voice systems, like the one AT&T uses, have limitations and struggle with complex scenarios. So, instead of taking away jobs, we believe AI will simply shift the way we work and make us more productive. There may be companies that want to replace chat agents with chat GPT, but there are concerns about whether AI can accurately represent company values and handle edge cases. As for smartphones, we don’t think we’ll see any drastic changes in their form factors, although there might be advancements in voice assistants like Google Assistant with the introduction of Bard. While accessibility and AI can work together, we don’t expect major shifts in phone designs.

In this part of the conversation, I discuss the possibility of having a chat GPT button on the Microsoft launcher for Android. I mention the partnership between Samsung and Microsoft and wonder if we’ll see a co-pilot button on One UI for Samsung. I also speculate about the potential for a bar button or customizable AI button on Samsung phones. We talk about the gamification aspect of Bixby and how it rewarded users with points. We then shift to discussing Android and the improvements we would like to see, such as better braille display support and enhanced web views within applications. My co-host mentions not getting along well with Android and switching back to iPhone. I share my plan to spend most of the year on Android and mention the upcoming release of the Pixel watch. We briefly touch on the design of the Apple Watch and anticipate software changes for Android at Google I/O. We also touch on the possibility of AI being added to Amazon’s Alexa. Finally, I make a prediction about mainstream apps combining into a single platform.

I just accidentally knocked my coffee cup off my desk, but luckily it didn’t spill thanks to the good lid my father-in-law gave me. I believe that many mainstream apps will eventually combine into one to reduce the number of apps we need to download. Elon Musk’s company wants to be that one app. We are already seeing this trend with streaming services, with Disney and Hulu merging into one, and other companies like One Max looking to purchase Paramount. This consolidation is happening because the prices of these apps are increasing, similar to what happened with cable TV. People are already starting to cut out some of these subscriptions. However, I have noticed that some services are restricting access outside of their own platforms, which is disappointing for users who prefer to have options. I think the future of apps will involve combining different services into one, as well as introducing new ways to interact with them, such as voice or text. In terms of technology, I expect to see improvements in headphones like AirPods, with new audio settings and possibly the release of AirPods 4. Additionally, new Macs will likely be introduced with added features to justify their high price range.

It is rumored that new iPad Pro models will be released this year. I wonder if these new iPads will be worth upgrading to. We discuss the previous upgrade to the M1 iPad and wonder if the new M3 iPad will be the one to get. The topic of foldable iPads is brought up, but I express skepticism about their usefulness. We talk about the desire for multi-user accounts on iPads, similar to what the Mac can do. I believe it is a necessary feature for iPads to be considered equivalent to computers. We discuss the limitations of iPads in educational settings and the lack of flexibility in sharing devices among students. The conversation takes a detour as we encounter technical difficulties with using the Bard screen reader. We also briefly discuss the timeline for AI development and express frustration over the limitations and inconsistencies of Google Workspace accounts compared to regular Gmail accounts.

I seem to be frustrated with the passkey feature on Google accounts, as it shows as unavailable whenever I log in. I express my confusion and disappointment regarding the functionality of passkeys. I also discuss my interest in the upcoming Vision Pro and how I am skeptical about investing in it, considering my limited use of wearable technology. I mention the inconvenience of the long boot-up time and the need for Wi-Fi connectivity. Battery life is also a concern. Despite these reservations, I am intrigued by the potential benefits for low vision individuals. I mention my plan to bring the Vision Pro to a convention to explore its capabilities further. I predict that 2023 will be a year of reacting to technological shifts and wonder if Mastodon will become the preferred social media platform for the blind and low vision community. I believe that Mastodon will likely retain its user base due to established communities and connections. However, I acknowledge that the discovery aspect and finding new people to engage with on Mastodon may pose challenges for growth. I jokingly mention my high number of followers, accusing the other person of cheating by importing a group of people.

In this part of the conversation, we discuss the updates on social media platforms and their timelines. We talk about how my timeline is not as fast-paced and constantly changing like Twitter. I appreciate the true timeline and lack of algorithm. The conversation then moves on to discussing the potential traction for threads and blue sky on social media, with my skepticism about threads while not having enough information about blue sky. We also discuss my personal preference for automation and finding ways to make tasks easier. I mention my lack of interest in joining more social media platforms like blue sky because I already have a LinkedIn account that I don’t use. I also mention my curiosity about accessibility advancements and predictions for the upcoming year, particularly in AI and screen reader technologies. I express a desire for AI to make things more accessible and for screen reader tools to help people navigate inaccessible content. I believe that technology vendors can utilize existing technology to achieve this. The conversation wraps up with our anticipation of companies pushing the boundaries of technology, and we pledge to continue discussing these topics throughout the year. Finally, I share my pick, Mac GPT, a downloadable app for Mac users that allows chat capabilities with GPT and other features like file attachments. We provide our contact information and invite listeners to check out our podcast.

In this part of the podcast, we discuss the use of MacGPT and the accessibility of custom GPTs through an API key. We talk about the options available for viewing custom GPTs and the confusion surrounding API keys. We also share our personal picks for the week, including Todoist app and the TV show “Marvel’s What If.” We provide our online contact information and invite listeners to join our Discord server. We conclude by thanking our guests and announcing upcoming changes to the podcast. We encourage feedback and promote our Twitter account and other podcasts on the IACast Network. We sign off and thank listeners for tuning in.