Tech Heads: Cisco's Dave Evans predicts the future

We talk to Cisco's chief futurist about his predictions for the technology of the future - from cyborgs, parallel universes and internet telepathy to the ultimate fate of humanity itself.

Dave Evans has two jobs at networking giant Cisco. He works as the Chief Technology Officer of Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group, helping Cisco's customers understand the implications of networks and network technology on their businesses. His other role is Chief Futurist where he analyses where technology in general is going and predicts future technological developments.

Unsurprisingly for a Cisco executive, he sees the network as central to many potential technological developments. We caught up with Dave at the Cisco Live 2011 expo and conference in Las Vegas to get his thoughts on the tech we could expect to see within the next few decades and many are not what you'd expect from an executive of a networking company.

Dave on the future of video.

We believe that by 2015 90%+ of traffic flowing across the network will be video. I believe that's like a million minutes of video per second will traverse the network by 2015. A massive amount of video. HD video is moving from HD to super HD such as 4k displays. We're seeing 3D, holographic and so on. Video is getting fatter, richer and more substantial.

Today, it's very difficult for technology to parse and understand video and images like humans can.

So the big question on my mind is not so much the network, it's not whether the network can bear the load, and I'm confident that it can, I have no concerns there. The big challenge is how do we analyse video in meaningful ways. That's the trick. As a human being we can watch a two hour movie and I can ask you what that movie was about and you can tell me. That's really difficult for technology to do. Today, it's very difficult for technology to parse and understand video and images like humans can. It's not quite there.

In Brazil there are policeman that wear glasses that can scan 200 faces a second and do facial recognition by tying back to the cloud, so we're getting there. But I think it will be a number of years before it can parse and understand the meaning of it like human beings can and get the subtleties of it. That's our biggest challenge.

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