ToC for Beyond Mobile: Life after Smartphones, my new book with Scoble -

Shel Israel inContext

ToC for Beyond Mobile: Life after Smartphones, my new book with Scoble

Below is the Expanded Table of Contents for Beyond Mobile:Life After Smartphones, my new book with Robert Scoble. This is not what you see in books, which just list the chapters. If we had a publisher, this document would be used as a de facto contract that this

Beyond icon 2is the book we will write. As self-publishers, this becomes a contract with the sponsors we need to back this project. It is also a contract between Robert and me.

For authors, there is always the danger of finding new cool stuff that we want to write about. Some of these things will lead us down rabbit holes away from the central book themes. This ToC helps us remember that there is a difference between what we can do and what we should do to make this a great book.

We publish here because we believe in crowd wisdom. Your feedback helps us make Naked Conversations and Age of Context better books. We have little doubt that it will be the same for Beyond Mobile.

Let us begin:


Working Title: Beyond Mobile: Life After Smartphones

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

                                                                                                                                     –TS Eliot               

Introduction:  Trillion-Dollar Ideas

We spotlight four game-changing product categories that will come into play in 2016 and change the world as we know it over the next decade–faster in any case. They are: Augmented and Virtual Reality, Robots, Digital Genies and Autonomous Cars.

Part One: World-Changers

We report on the disruptive technologies now rushing to market explaining why we think they are important.


Ch. 1 Blurring Reality

We look at the remarkable innovations coming in Augmented and Virtual Reality [AR/VR], sometimes called Mixed Reality. We spotlight Magic Leap and competing Augmented Reality products including Hololens, Meta, and ODG. Then turn to Oculus Rift and other VR products including Samsung Gear and Google Cardboard. We’ll explain how AR/VR more than any other technology is going beyond smartphones to immerse users in technologies in much closer ways. We argue that mixed realities are at least as big as anything from the tech sector since the introduction of the iPhone, resulting in fierce competition by the world’s largest tech companies and brilliant innovations from smaller challengers who may disrupt some of these large incumbents. There are billions of dollars being invested and huge teams of brilliant technologists racing to market. Mixed Reality, analyst say, are creating a new visual web that GigaOm predicts will be 100 times larger than the internet we have today.

We marvel at the promise of these new technologies including conversations in the near future where parties thousands of miles apart sit and talk comfortably in a virtual room where they speak face to face.

While extolling the vast business potential of Mixed realities, we see dangers. Will people understand the difference between the virtual and the real? Will some people find perfect virtual lovers and reject more human companionship?

We promise to revisit such issues in the concluding portion of the book..


Ch. 2             Everything but a Soul

The word robot was created by Czech playwright Karel Čapek. It is derived from the Latin word that means everything but a soul. He introduced it in his 1920 hit play, Rossum’s Universal Robots where the central character replaces factory workers with these new machines.

We will report on how real robots are suddenly coming to a lifelike state after decades of trial and error. They walk, talk, see and even think in more humanlike fashion. We report on robots disrupting human workers in everything from food preparation, to construction to–we shudder to say–authoring books. Much of what we now do with mobile apps will soon be accomplished with robots upon request or because they will automatically understand what their owners want.

While robots are part of how human life is about to change, much of their social impact is on replacing people rather than phones. However, the following two chapters discuss forms of robotic technologies that take humans beyond mobile.


Ch. 3 Digital Genies

Very briefly, we look back at the Intelligent Agents of the 1990s, which began to incorporate artificial intelligence into software for end users. We talk about personal digital assistants that add natural language recognition allowing them to serve as partial administrative assistants such as Siri, Google Now and Microsoft Cortana.

The heart of the chapter is a report on the emerging third generation of personal assistants that will reduce phone and app usage significantly by fulfilling wishes and following commands with greater speed, ease and anticipation starting in 2016. These may be agents or digital assistants, but their behavior and capabilities make them far more robotic. We call them Digital Genies.

We profile three promising products: Amazon Echo, a $180 device that already exists; Facebook M, because it demonstrates how current mobile apps will soon be replaced by Super Apps that perform hundreds–perhaps thousands–of tasks instead of a limited few, and because M is reintroducing some humans back into automated service, and, an open platform whose networked deep learning capability may soon make it the world’s smartest thing.

We note that Genies use such robotic technologies as artificial intelligence, neural networks, deep learning, and of course, natural language recognition.

Ch. 4   Long Road to Autonomy

Another form of robotic technology that is much in the news is the self-driving car. This chapter offer our roadmap of a great migration to the point when there will be more cars being driven by autonomous technologies than by humans. We look at myriad technical, social, legal and legislative issues and explain how and when we think they will be overcome. We predict a long road to autonomy with the crossover point coming about 2025.

Part 2: Life Changers

We show how these technologies apply to work and life.

Ch. 5 Fun & Games

Much new technology now starts with game and entertainment technology because it is where the highest end consumer technology is usually found and even more so because ultimately it is all about user experience: which is becoming true for most other technologies touching end users. We report on remarkable innovations by enhanced reality headsets in games. We look at how Disney is using VR to build amusement parks that are being modernized and where visitors will soon be experiencing VR more than old-fashioned rides. We talk about how immersive technologies will change how we watch movies, TV and plays, and we talk about how user expectations in games and entertainment will change expectations in other aspects of work and life. An absence of AR/VR in a store for example, will cause the same kind of disappointment children raised on tablets feel when they touch computers.

Ch. 6 The Digital Home

Because of the new technologies, our homes will be safer, more secure and sustainable at lower costs, requiring less human care. Every aspect of the home will be digitized. Digital Genies will know your patterns and start your car when sensors in your coffee cup see that you are nearly ready to leave. If a window is broken from outside a home, your Digital Genie will warn police of a possible break-in.

Robots will play increasing roles as servants, chefs and digital pets that make no messes. Geofences will make sure your living pet or elderly relative do not wander off the property. When we have a phone conversation, we may don our AR Glasses and see a holographic form of our friend on the line sitting in a chair in your living room as you talk.

The Digital Home will essentially change the lifestyle of people as much as electricity, the television or the home computer once did. It will have a profound impact on the nature of  modern living.

Ch. 7   To Our Health

We will be living better and longer–if we can afford the cost of housing. This chapter looks at how AR/VR, robotics and nanotechnology will radically improve medical training, diagnosis and treatment. We’ll report on pills that carry sensors, cameras and nano-computers through blood and digestive systems to detect cancer in extremely early phases when it is actually curable instead of just treatable. Brain implanted sensors will allow amputees to move prosthetic limbs as naturally as the rest of us move our arms and legs. In the next 10 years implants will partially restore vision to the blind, and allow quadriplegics to move screen cursors by brainwaves. AR/VR is already being used to treat autism and predict Alzheimer’s. We’ll discuss the social and environmental and political consequences of an aging and growing global population, perhaps discussing issues of the Singularity movement.

Ch. 8 Augmenting Retail

The retail experience will change in the next few years as much as the home. Shoppers who opt in will be greeted by clerks who know what you looked at on the brand website the night before, so that you don’t have to start all over again. Every touch point will use technology to reduce friction.

We’ll spotlight Google Project Tango, a mobile 3D platform that takes the smartphone itself beyond what we carry around today. But soon, AR headsets will be refined so that they closely resemble traditional eyeglasses, allowing shoppers deep information on products they are considering, including product reviews. Contextual technology will reduce friction at every touch point as digital wallets and other innovations make such innovations a standard. Data will allow people who opt in to enjoy remarkably personalized experiences.

We’ll talk about virtual cosmetics, robot clerks and smart mannequins that will see your gesture and they will summon a sales associate who will bring an item in your size and favorite color. Smart locks will open dressing room doors and when you come out wearing an item, a clerk will be there to help you.

Ch. 9  Virtualizing the Enterprise

In recent years, tech innovation has often started with computer gains and taken years to reach the enterprise. But, we report, this time many forward-thinking companies are pioneering innovative new ways of interacting with stakeholders.

We revisit Google Glass and explain why rumors of its death are exaggerated. We write about how John Deere and Caterpillar, two automotive companies not noted for bleeding-edge innovation, are using AR to speed up and improve machine inspections and create driverless farm and construction equipment. Volkswagen issues AR glasses as standard equipment on the assembly line. Eni, one of the world’s largest energy companies, uses VR to train workers how to respond to oil rig fires. Cantaloupe Systems, a San Francisco-based company, is automating its supply chain for the world’s vending machines, so that no machine in the world runs out of supplies or even spare change–where it is still used.

Ch. 10  1 Marketing on Demand

We talk about a new era of Pinpoint Marketing, where customers will receive messages and offers when they want to receive them and be able to filter them out at other times. Brand messages will be integrated with what customers want to say to each other about products and brands. Advertising will be highly personalized. We will talk to people we recognize as thought leaders in advertising, PR, and corporate communications.

Part 3: World Changers:

We explain how these technologies converge with other forces to change culture on a global basis.

Chapter 11 The Millennial Paradigm

In our view, the term Paradigm Shift is an overworked term. They come about rarely. In tech, we see three of them over the past 50 years: the microprocessor, the personal computer and the smart phone. Each of these in themselves would have meant little had not other environmental factors been ripe for the changes they would each cause over many years.

We believe that in the Age of Context, certain factors were forming into what is a full-fledged paradigm shift that will fundamentally change how most of the world’s people in developed and developing countries are about to pass through a wormhole of cultural, social and technological change.

Of perhaps equal importance to the tech we have described, is the evolution of the Millennial generation into a dominant demographic category where they are likely to remain for the next 50 years. They are the first generation of digital natives and trust technology to solve their problems, to entertain them, to let them be productive, social and communicative.

This chapter will explain why they are as important to the life beyond mobile as Mixed Reality, Robots, Genies and self-driving vehicles.

Chapter 12. The Chasm

There has been much said and written about social divides, very often along economic lines, where the wealthy have the power and the poor do not. Unfortunately, we cannot credibly predict an end to this. But we will predict that the very nature of the divide is going to change. Fierce competition and huge demand will drive prices down so that new products are affordable not just to those of us in affluent countries, but to hundreds of millions of Chinese where the government is pushing to empower its people, to fast emerging areas of the world including Southern Asia, particularly India, Thailand and Vietnam, and even Sub-Saharan Africa where far more transactions take place on phones today than in banks.

While many millions will still not be able to access this new technology a much larger percentage of the world will. Even today Google offers an AR headset that retails for under $20 and it may soon be under $1.

The new divide will be between people who opt in to this new technology and those who refuse on grounds ranging from privacy issues to fundamentalist religious views. There are institutions and governments that will suppress adoption because they fear a loss of command and control.

We believe strongly that the new technologies are great enablers. They give the world access to far more than could even have been imagined a decade ago. Those who opt out or live where those in power will block their access will be left further behind as the majority of the world speeds ahead.

What is now the Digital World, we fear will be the Dark Chasm a decade from today.

Ch. 13     Darksides

As tech and customer champions, we write as proponents of adoption. As realists we see an inevitability of mass adoption to these new digital tools. But in any paradigm shift there are unintended consequences that will create real and lasting problems. This chapter examines them.

We will explore perceptions of a near future where people live longer and stay healthier, but have fewer jobs. Will robots designed to serve humankind eventually find the human race as an inefficient source of pollution and eliminate us?

Will there be any such thing as personal privacy in the future and how Orwellian will a world where your boss, your government and every sales department knows more about you than your own family does? Is there any way to prevent that from happening?

We currently don’t have a single answer to questions such as these, and we may not have any when our book is published. But we will speak to some very smart people who are perceived as experts in this area and report on their thoughts, as well as hopefully have a few of our own to offer.

Ch. 14   The Big Picture

This book is intended to give thinking people a sense of the massive upheaval, which about to gush out of the digital firehose into the lives of most people. It intended to serve as a shot across the bow of most organizational ships. We want to get your attention, so that you understand the changes you will face and be prepared for them. We want you to understand, rather than fear, the near term future. We want you to adapt and adopt so that you will not be left behind.



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