Last night’s GeekWire Bash, a celebration of all things geeky in Seattle, also marked the fifth anniversary of GeekWire. So we asked people to take a break from ping pong, playing FIFA with Sounders FC defender Brad Evans, sumo wrestling, arcade games, basketball with former Seattle Sonics star Detlef Schrempf, and drinks to tell us what they imagined would be happening in the Seattle tech scene five years hence.
Their answers ranged from depressing — traffic will get worse because more Silicon Valley techies will move in and Bertha will re-start only to stall out again — to highly optimistic, with predictions of teleportation, self-refilling refrigerators, and more. Many visions included Amazon taking over the city.
We’ll have to check back in at GeekWire’s 10th Anniversary Bash to see whether our interviewees were right about the future or whether it was just those drinks talking. Until then, here’s what they predicted for Seattle’s tech scene in five years.
“I hope that in five years, I can be chipped, like they do with credit cards. That way, I won’t have to worry about carrying my credit card, I won’t need to worry about carrying my ORCA card — I can have them with me all the time because they can just scan me. I don’t have to worry about losing anything. That data is all available anyhow, so it’s not as scary as it used to be to have scanners automatically know things about you.” —Jess McMahon, event marketing manager at Avvo.
“I see Seattle being a sea of blue badges everywhere — Amazon, everywhere. Amazon will take over everything. Drones everywhere.” — Jake Chapman, senior front-end engineer from Rover.com
“Everything will become more demanding in five years. Everybody will want everything quicker, faster, better. It will create even more challenges and opportunities for technology. Everyone will be riding public transport. Everyone will be riding the light rail. Bertha will re-start and then be delayed for another ten years. People will get better and better at everything we do. The flavors in our food will be amazing. The quality of our TV will be amazing — clearer pictures, better quality, just better in every way.” — Chad Walters
“I see people really moving away from having personal vehicles, so I see everything being done on the ride sharing business. People will get rid of their own cars and will spend the time they used to spend driving on networking in their ride shares, talking with other people in the tech industry, and running their meetings from the car.” —Madison Silver, community associate for Lyft
“The tech industry is going to get stronger now that cloud is becoming more prevalent in the marketplace. It’s going to allow the community to do more stuff because the infrastructure build up is costly for startups as it is now. You’re going to see a lot of new companies springing up because they can work virtual and they can get stuff done at a lower barrier of cost to entry.” — Thomas Rogers, businesses developer at Business Wire
“I think there are going to be some pretty amazing new ways of traveling. People will be flying, people will be teleporting. There are going to be more trips to the moon, too.” — Wendy Alexander, director of product management at Expedia
“In five years, we’ll still be growing incredibly fast, probably. Hopefully we’ll be more inclusive of women and of alternative lifestyles. Also, in five years, hopefully we’ll be more inclusive of alternative ways of doing things. Like, not being stuck in the same open floor plan or not all having to be in the same location.” — Cindy Larson, talent scout at Wheelhouse Search
“We’re all going to be working at Amazon. Houses will continue to be small, especially if you live in Ballard. Even more developers from Silicon Valley will move here, so housing will be even more expensive.” —Jubal Harpster, founder and CTO of SpatialDev
“We’re just at the beginning of IoT and connected technology. So in five years, we’re going to see an explosion — an even bigger explosion than now. Companies are going to be specializing a lot more and products will be better-developed. Brands and products all are going to be in IoT…Also, wearables will start measuring everything that you do to improve your life. It’s going to be huge in the next few years.” —Rob Howard, director of engineering at L4Digital
“There will be a lot more automation. In terms of software, automating software management…As far as agriculture is concerned, there will be even more automation too. More drones that help with visual recognition of crops and bugs and what will be needed on the fields. More camera technology will come into play. There will be a lot more self-driving cars on the road and they’ll talk to one another.” —Rachel Sandy, iOS developer for Axon
“I want a refrigerator that’s going to order food when it runs out. It’s going to happen, I know it is. When I run out of milk, that thing is going to pop up and put in an order with Amazon, and it’s going to be there for me to drink the next day.” —Amity Van Hauser, HR manager, Rightside