My Technology Predictions for the next 10 years - 1 written 6 years ago

2022

With every new gadget that comes along, I always find myself wanting to go back ten years and go “look at this crazy contraption we’ve come up with” - and watch as the mullett wearers[1] marvel in the technological wonder that we all now wander around with in our pockets.

So what do I, as an uninformed 2011 citizen, think the future holds?

Passwords

Password Reuse on XKCD

Passwords are already showing signs of being a woefully insecure means of authenticating oneself to websites - see all the recent Anonymous hacking stories, using password re-use as a means of gaining access to accounts. Google nowadays allows you to put a two-factor authentication mechanism in place (Auth code sent by SMS to your phone + Password). We have central authentication providers nowadays in the form of “OAuth”

So the future? Some kinda gadget, maybe like RSA Tokens will be much more prevalent on “important” sites (email, government sites, banking, etc). But what about the small sites? Will there be an official central authentication site, that will use our government issued Internet ID cards to verify our identity? More use of crypto chips? Wireless RFID cards, and readers built into every computer? What will be done to prevent the obvious phishing attempts?

Summary: Fewer Passwords; More hardware auth tokens; More use of central identity services.

SSL

SSL is slowly showing signs of creaking - Several CAs hacked; SSL Protocol weaknesses exposed; Rogue certificates issued.

What to do about it though? I can imagine SSL being around for a while yet, perhaps with some revisions bolted on to patch up holes. Maybe more prevalance put on EV certificates, that can only be issued by a much smaller pool of triple-double-checked CAs. Non-EV certificates will become commonplace, with every site that needs authentication to be running under full-session SSL.

Maybe SSL will be tied in with the above password system, browsers will expect another input from the user (from a crypto token, SMS) to contribute to the shared secret. Maybe the shared secret will be built up from several sources (for banking, etc): Phone auth, Credit-Card crypto and a client certificate?

Made up Shared Secret generation
Shared secret creation by the client: A one-time-key is generated by the credit card (which itself can be passkey protected); and a code is sent to the users mobile phone - these are combined together, and securely hashed to create a secret key. The server is able to undertake the same calculations, and so a shared secret can now be used.

Summary: More hardware dongles used; wireless (RFID) comms between PCs and ID cards; SSL as we currently know it still loitering about

Mobile Phones

67% of phones sold in 2011 were smartphones, compared with 7.5% in 2006 [2]. I think it’s pretty likely that by 2021 they’ll all be “smart” phones, though the definition of “smart” will most likely have changed - with 99% able to emulate the behaviour of the most expensive android handset of today. How long before we stop referring to them as phones, instead of the small portable computers that they’ll become?

I reckon there’ll be a new display interface standard, one that makes it possible to super easily connect a portable gadget to a standalone display. It sorta exists today (Wireless HDMI) but will become much more the norm. When your portable pocket computer has the same processing power as a 2011 computer (and more!), will there still be a need for anything as intensive as a laptop/desktop for things other than specialised applications?

I do wonder whether we’ll get the magic “pay by wave” integrated and used in phones in the mainstream. I’ve gotta say I’ve yet to “pay by wave” on my card. You can supposedly buy phones today that will allow you to do it, and I guess it’s got the banking sector behind it (and therefore money), so I guess it’s almost inevitable it’ll happen. My prediction is that I just bought a croissant with my phone.

Summary: All phones are now “smartphones”; phones are no-longer called phones; magic wireless display/peripheral connectivity; pay by wave available on all phones

… Next: Photography, Facebook and Money

[1] In ten years, visiting Google will be like visiting Lycos. [2] Most of the statistics in this are based on brief google searches, and therefore won’t stand up to much scrutiny.

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