First Batman, then smartphones, then Iron Man

As the personal technology landscape advances at a rate that's undeniably fantastic, we move beyond our obsession with the slightly lower-tech character Batman and advance to the top of the line equivalent Iron Man, as evidenced by the massive success of the most recent film series. Throughout the 1990s we saw a selection of high-cost Batman films and a fantastic Batman cartoon series well received by the public at the time because of their ability to connect with us on a non-super level, there's also almost always been some sort of representation of Batman on the small screen as well, no matter what year it is. Batman has always been a fantastic character for the average person to relate with because he's always using tools and technology to help him – he doesn't actually have super powers, so to speak. There's another character out there by the name of Iron Man that's also been around for several decades and represented in a series of cartoons, certainly, but up until now we've not had the technology in film production to represent him accurately: this is Iron Man.

This character Iron Man has over the past few years been shown off in theaters as another character with no real super powers (other than, like Batman, his ultra-keen intellect) being made super with advanced technology. During this same period of time, we've seen the exponential growth of the personal technology world, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets being made a reality for the common citizen. The Iron Man films show this technology being used alongside personal technology we've again not quite ready to work with in real life.

"I think that people will experience the future in different ways. The first future will apply to the ultra-connected ... those with the will and resources to embrace new technology. They're the few ... for this group the limits are only what science can develop and what society deems acceptable" – Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google

Google has recently been tipped as making a pair of heads-up display smart glasses that allow us to access a user interface connected to either a camera, the web, or both. More than just a few times this past week at Mobile World Congress we heard the same experience being shared by people from all over the world: we keep thinking touch-screens are everywhere already – that reality isn't far off. Software companies are creating technology that allows masses of products to be made by hardware companies that would have otherwise had to invest masses of energy, dollars, and years of effort to produce, and they're giving it away for free.

We're traveling toward the reality we see in the Iron Man movies so fast that it's almost absurd, and it's certainly exciting. The Iron Man films are popular not just because they're well made as entertainment units in and of themselves, but because they're windows to tomorrow – and the "tomorrow" that used to always be tens of years away is now just years away, and in some cases months away. The gigantic monster leviathan you see at the end of the Avengers trailer – less so.