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The real reason why our eyes are the next battleground for technology dominance

Source | |  BY:Nitin vig @mckinsey 

It’s not because of what’s happening now. It’s because of what happened in the past. And what’s coming next.

Roughly 40 years back, the first PC was launched. Since then, several battles for technology dominance ensued.

The PC battle.

Laptop battle.

Smartphone battle.

They were fought on different battlegrounds.

The PC battle? On our desks. Laptop battle? On our laps. Smartphone battle? On our hands.

Where will the next battleground be?

For a while, it seemed like our ‘wrists’. But wrist-wear (e.g., smartwatches) didn’t ‘really’ take off. As a result, this question about the next battleground is again front and center. It’s on the minds of entrepreneurs, technologists and innovators. And businesses and their leaders too.

To answer this question, it is worthwhile to look at the evolution of PCs over the past 40 years. And see if some evolutionary themes emerge?

They do.

Specifically, three.

Product size shrunk: PCs were big in size. Then came the smaller laptops. And then, even smaller smartphones.

Human mobility increased: PCs did not aid mobility. But laptops did. And smartphones took it to the next level. Thanks to them, we now stay in touch even on-the-go.

Neural distance reduced: Neural distance is the distance between the battleground and our neural center i.e., our brain, body’s ultimate processing center. The shift from PCs to laptops reduced this distance. Why? Because it moved the battleground from our desks to our laps, which is closer to our neural center. Similarly, the shift from laptops to smartphones reduced neural distance further.

What can we conclude from these evolutionary themes?

The next battleground will shrink product sizeincrease human mobilityand reduce neural distance even further.


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