I believe, and have been believing for more than a decade now, that we are in a transition into a new era, which would best be simply described as an age of cyberpunk. Giant quasi-national corps and mainly administrative nations ruling large chunks of regular ultra-economized life with the fringes morphing into different, post-industrial citizen societies alltogether, with areas where money isn't worth as much as reputation or skill or simular non-monetary values such as honor or membership in some group like something quasi-religious or something. Human interaction will be paid for, stuff and convenience will come free.
Pick your standard William Gibson or Neal Stephenson novel on the subject and you get the picture of what I mean.
The simple fact is: we are living in paradise with a bizare abundance of things quite a few of which would have been considered impossible in the 50ies.
The shit our field has been whishing for humanity all along has finally arrived. You can get computers that would have been considered borderline magic two and a half decades ago and would have taken up a mid-sized 5-story building; so powerfull, lightweight, easy to use and with software usefull and manifold beyond comprehension for a single individual, so cheap, they can be payed for with 4 days of regular manual unskilled labor!
Just last night I saw a poster of an offering for a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Wifi for 250 Euros. Two-hundred and fifty fucking euros! I payed more than 2 times that much for my friggin Sony MD700 Minidisk player back in 1997, a device so old-school in its tech and so single-purpose, it close to appears to come out of the early steam age compared to my HTC Flyer.
The truth is we've basically just about arrived at where we wanted to go. 5 years into the future algorithms and large computing clusters won't just be interpreting language, they will be translating it, and quite probably in real time. Tablets will have print resolution, weigh less than a book, have 15+ hours of uptime of the grid, be forever connected for a token fee and do *anything* you would want to be able to do with such a device ... and then some. And they will cost as much as a round-trip to the next big city.
Jobs are dropping left, right and center because they aren't needed anymore. Imagine when paper documents have finally moved out. An entire field of jobs will simply vanish.
I made compareatively big bucks developing in Flash/AS3 5 years ago. Proprietary lock-in stuff. Neat, but adobe totally missed the touch-screen dev train. Tough luck. Now I'm lucky if I even get one gig in that field every two years. I'll probably be doing specialized vertical market PHP and webdev the next few years for less money and after that, who knows? Even the LAMP stack is so old-tech I feel like in an entertainment programme when developing for it. ... Maybe afters this I'll become a massager for old lonely ladies and do touch-screen development just for the kicks on the side.
Bottom line: The world our field lives in and caters to is changing. Fast. We're seeing to that ourselves.
It's the age of cyberpunk, plain and simple. That's what I call it anyway.
My 2 cents.