Making an ESN successful takes a lot more than technology, but as I mentioned before, technology and processes associated with technology can and will have a considerable impact. Some technologies will be game changers by making certain things easier and adding new capabilities.
Technologies that typically make a difference impact the human–computer interface, bridging the gap between eye movement, gestures, speech, and voice. The barrier of language will slowly but eventually break down through the use of better translation algorithms, like statistical translation.
Eventually there will also be a bridge between a device and a user’s real-world environment through holograms, keyboards that are beamed onto a surface, and gestures that control things. You will not even have to touch a computer, anymore. These technologies already exist, though they are in limited use (often by the physically handicapped), and will someday become mainstream. And this day might be closer than we think. At the time of writing this book a new motion tracking device was just announced by a company called Leap Motion to be available around the end of 2012. It cost less than $100 and Leap Motion claims it can track hand movements down to a 1/100th of a millimeter. Technologies like these have the potential to considerably change the way we interact with computers.
There are even ways to move and manipulate computer-generated content with your mind. Some of this will be scary, but ...