Materials and technologies from the future take hold of the present.
The world’s leading trade fairs for materials and machinery for furniture production – Interzum and Ligna have just ended. They set the directions for the development of the furniture industry. Fast innovations, industry 4.0, virtual reality, digitalization, holograms, robots, cyberspace, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, new generation computer and mobile applications – these are the modern and up-to-date words leading companies have included in their portfolio to describe the modern trends. A few years ago, many of these terms that had just entered our language seemed pure fiction; today, they are an obsessive reality.
But are these processes only positive? We live in a world where the technologies of the future occupy more and more space.
Technology can be described as advanced only if it is economically effective. In the last two decades, very expensive mass technologies have emerged – practically the most expensive in history. We are talking about the most expensive material, software, production, design (car, interior, furniture …). However, it is not necessarily true that everything constructed in a complicated way using innovative materials and technologies, is more practical and more functional. More often than not, such objects are more complicated rather than useful. For example, a constantly upgrading super modern and multi-user interface confuses the users rather than making their life easier.
Also, is it reasonable to invest huge amounts of money in the development of super innovative products designed for a very limited group of users? Or to create completely pointless ones? For example, a remote for opening the garbage bin. Replacing people with “smart” machines has both social and ethical implications since the wider use of robots in the production will inevitably reduce the need for real people for both intellectual and physical activities. Furthermore, the new technologies develop very quickly making them hard to follow for the average worker, especially those of the older generation.
The use of new materials and processes in all spheres of the economy and everyday life is an inevitable and irreversible process. If we want to stay up-to-date, we need to know and use them. However, we should not overestimate their significance. We have to be modern but within certain limits.