Tech “The only constant,” Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “is change.”

Ain't it the truth? The rate of change these days is stunningly fast, and it's adding to the chaos we're feeling in every corner of our lives.

Take technology.

Want to hear something astounding? It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users. Television hit that mark in 13 years. The Internet did it in four.

Now, let's get really silly: Between September 2009 and July 2010, more than 200 million people joined Facebook. Apple sold 7.5 million iPads in the gadget's first six months on the market.

It's getting tough to keep up with all of these groundbreaking technological changes. Just when we think we're catching up with the lastest trends, the next big thing comes along and stomps on the accelerator even harder. And things will only move faster during the next decade.

That's what the folks at Intuit and Emergent Research believe, anyway. In their report titled “Intuit 2020: Twenty Trends That Will Shape The Next Decade,” they predict that technology will combine with advanced analytical tools, data sets, and social and mobile computing platforms to “reshape industries, businesses and consumers' lives.”

“The key trends over the last few years have centered on mobile computing, social media and cloud computing. The next decade is going to see these things merge and converge and become even more powerful,” says Emergent Research's Steve King. “Distributive work — our ability to do work wherever we want, whenever we want — is going to become increasingly common. Where you are won't matter as much as what you do, and you'll be able to collaborate with others.”

We've already looked at the demographic, social and economic trends that will shape the next 10 years. Let's wrap up our look at the report with the four big technology trends that might redefine the next 10 years. The following comes straight from the report.

17. Working in the cloud.
The brick-and-mortar office will be a thing of the past, as the where and how people work and do business will change due to emerging Internet cloud and mobile technologies. Working in the cloud will increasingly shift work lives away from corporate offices altogether and toward an in-my-own-place, on-my-own-time work regimen.

18. Data is critical for competitive advantage.
Data overload will no longer be a burden, but an advantage for individuals and companies with the skills to provide compelling analysis to consumers. Those who become proficient in the collection, management and analysis of digital data will gain competitive advantage, leaving others behind.

19. Social and mobile computing connect and change the world.
The use of social and mobile networks and technologies will possess greater utility, including collaborative technologies. Business will be redefined in how they create value and compete and will help consumers and businesses to anticipate and guide decision making and risk management.

20. Smart machines get smarter.
The hardware and software technologies we use on a daily basis will get smarter, helping people make everyday decisions and streamline complex tasks. Intelligent devices will be engrained in consumers' lives along with businesses, changing the way we live and work.

In short: If you haven't been paying attention, you'd better start. This type of change will eat you alive if you don't act on it quickly.

Let us know what you think, then listen to what Emergent Research's Steve King has to say in this MACPA video interview:

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