The future is arriving, and it might be sooner than we think. After all, in less than a century we went from computers that took up several rooms to ones that fit in a wristwatch. Impressive, right? And that’s merely the beginning.
But before you start panicking that evil machines will take over the world, let me assure you that’s not going to happen. Recently, eight hundred technology executives and experts from the information and communications technology sector were asked about the tipping points expected to happen by 2025. The most popular answer was that 10% of people will wear clothes connected to the Internet. The runner-up was “the first robotic pharmacist in the US”, and in the third place, “the first car fully printed using the 3D technology”. The least popular answer was “the first AI machine on a corporate board of directors”. So, apparently by 2025, the human race will still be there and doing well. Phew!
Still, conversely to what you might think, most of the technological advancements that are expected to become a vital part of our everyday lives are already well on their way. To be sure, they are still being tested, or perfected but they’re getting there. Let’s take a look at what else the future might have in store for us.
The electronic industry will have to reinvent itself. The future doesn’t belong to the physical screen of your iPad or TV; it belongs to virtual reality. This technology promises to revolutionise every aspect of our lives, from the most complex medical procedures to gaming. What’s more, there will be no more bulky VR headsets that are available today. In the years to come Light Field Displays, projecting 4D images directly onto your retinas, may replace them completely. Engineers aim to make them as light and handy as possible, like a pair of sunglasses. That surely sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
Or, equally tongue-tying, Continuous Regularly Interspersed Short Palindromic Repeats is a technology allowing biochemists to cheaply and reliably edit genes. Wow, right? Well, yes and no. While it might be fun to, for example, have a tiger the size of a cat as your pet, it’s much more complicated when it comes to humans. People have been trying to eliminate congenital genetic disorders for years. Being finally able to do that, and save lives of many would be amazing. However, people might go a step further and decide to change other, non life-threatening aspects of our bodies, like looks or behaviour. All that to give them an advantage in the society, or conversely, tailor them to suit certain roles. Either way, new disparities between people might emerge. Also, as genetic identity could no longer be confirmed, criminality or human trafficking could skyrocket.
Perhaps the most revolutionary change will result from developments in genetic engineering. Bacteria, algae, and other cells will be put to conscious use, to build other structures, like living tissue, cars or even skyscrapers. Even now, tests are being carried out to produce “deathless protein”, that is, meat without killing animals. However, the biggest hope is growing organs and limbs that wouldn’t be rejected by the body, and would help people with illnesses or those who were in an accident.
Forget about the static, printed billboards, advertising a new film or a sale in some shopping centre. The newest immersive advertising techniques will replace them completely, and it’s already happening. Advertisers will be able to influence your behaviour thanks to the biometric technology that will analyse all that data about you available and show you the product or service you need. You will be more connected than ever before. The downside of it is that you won’t be able to avoid it, without paying a fee.
Bigger & better
There’s no denying that the world is changing fast, and we alongside it. Thanks to advancements in medicine our lifespan is already longer. Scientists think our brains are getting bigger, too. Our culture is evolving and adapting to new conditions all the time. Soon, more body-enhancing technologies will emerge, from bionic limbs and brain-computer interfaces to advanced human gene editing.There’s a good chance that our self-assisted evolution will render our descendants completely different to what we are today.
Whatever changes happen, they surely will be revolutionary. New jobs will be created to support technological development and some jobs will disappear due to robotisation. Countries that embrace the changes will enter a new age of prosperity. It might be hard to keep up but it’s well worth it; the future promises us a longer, easier, and more pleasant life.