Tech Experts Predict Which New Technologies Will Blow Our Minds In The Near Future
The future is now. Literally. We're already past where Back To The Future took place... and still no flying cars. One reddit user asked:
What are some upcoming breakthroughs in technology that will totally blow our minds in the future years to come?
And yeah, flying cars totally came up. But things got much more interesting than that! We might be in a world after Back To The Future, but some of these answers have us worried that things might be getting a little Jurassic Park.
Batteries, definitely. It's hard to overstate how much our technology is limited by the horrible batteries we have. It goes WAY beyond phones charging fast. Once we have fast-charging, high-capacity graphene batteries in everything, so much will change. It'll be like science fiction. Think about robots, electric cars, powered exoskeletons, phones and laptops being as powerful as high-end desktops, all kinds of wearables, bioelectronics, and so much more.
Sadly, this is one of those technologies that's constantly in the news but never seems to actually make any progress. It reminds me of all those cancer treatments we read about every week that never actually cure cancer.
They're working on organ regeneration, which I think is absolutely amazing. They have been doing 3D printing scaffolding and cells, but I bet they have even more coming down the pipeline. My dad is missing both his kidneys and though that tech won't be ready for him, it will improve the lives of so many people in the future.
CRISPR. Basically gives us the ability to start editing DNA. Which will open doors, that most of us thought would've been only possible in fiction. I think that CRISPR is probably one of the most potentially groundbreaking advancements of our time (I'm not a scientist and I know this sounds like hyperbole but) this has the potential to alter the human genome as we know it. Editing DNA is a huge deal because once DNA is altered, it becomes inheritable.
Here's the thing though. Most people don't recognize the potential for change with CRISPR technologies (they're working on other versions to get around limitations of the initial one), and the people who are aware of it are thinking about how people can edit their DNA to become transhuman, cure disease, etc.
One of the big attractions of CRISPR is how cheap and accessible it is compared to previous gene modification, it's not unreasonable to expect a grey market of "not for use on humans" (wink) body modification gene kits in the near future. People already are fucking around with CRISPR in their backyard. You can even buy your own CRISPR kits.
What most people aren't thinking about is what happens once the technology becomes cheap and available and people start to "homebrew" edits and forms of life. What happens when the people who create and run botnets gain the ability to create viruses that spread to people? What kind of edits will script kiddies and people who think things like swatting are hilarious come up with? What happens when white supremacists or other groups can actually edit existing viruses to only target certain races, or sexes, or other select variables? What's the genetically-edited-human version of "it's just a prank, bro"?
We are not ready for this. In any way, shape, or form. Especially not legally. Did you see the fact that Congress does not understand Facebook, or what it does? And despite that a large portion of them support it unquestioningly because it's "big business".
We will reach a time very soon where casual coders around the world are going to be uploading _edits to humanity_to the App store. A lot of the impetus for this will probably come on the need for humanity to alter ourselves to live in the post climate change world (with 105+ temperatures, etc.).
If you think social media has balkanized or segregated people in any remarkable way that's peanuts compared to what's coming. The freakouts over gender, bathrooms, race, color, religion, it's all nothing really. Not compared to the degree of change that's imminent.
The dawn of "interesting times" is upon us.
The End Of Acting
Actors are going to have their own bodies fully digitized and idealized, and then, when you think you're watching a live action film, you're actually going to be watching an animation of the actor who is doing motion capture and voiceover work for... themselves.
Why? So they always look 23 and perfect and also never get hurt doing stunts.
Media companies can literally own the actors likeness And not have to fork out tens of millions to have them appear on screen. Hell, they'll just create virtual actors who look like the ideal person for the part and have a sea of theatre actors do all the behind the scenes work.
Lightyears Better Than Chemo
Some of the new cancer therapies are going to be lightyears better than chemo. Specifically the CAR-T cell therapies which basically remove a person's T cells, gene edit them to attack their type of cancer, then re-inject them back to kill the cancer cells. I think it will be incredible.
I also think some of the new asthma drugs which are more specific and targeted are going to eventually be so good that severe asthmatics who depend on inhalers will be able to get off them completely.
Holographic Center Console
So BMW is starting to work on a fully holographic center console that projects up into the air, but the coolest part is that there's air feedback so when you touch a "button" (where the hologram is) air will push against you and give a sense of feedback. He said this should be coming out in like 3-4 years on their top of the line stuff like Super cars and M-series type stuff due to cost restrictions right now but would be heading to their normal cars a few years after that.
Finding All The Needles In All The Haystacks
Astronomer here! On the space research front, while I think a lot of people are impatiently waiting for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the one that arguably will revolutionize astronomy with mind-blowing discoveries is the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). They have already started to build it, and it will see first light in 2021, and basically it's an 8 meter telescope that will survey the entire sky every night. They are going to find literally millions of transient sources a year, ranging from asteroids to supernovae to black holes eating stars to likely a few things we can't even imagine yet! Oh, and they plan to put all the new data online every single day, so you can go look for stuff yourself!
I think it's going to be amazing, and frankly astronomy as a field is a little terrified (but in a good, excited kind of terrified) on just how we are supposed to deal with and do follow up on this fire hose of data that's going to hit in a few years. It's like if suddenly you had needles in a ton of haystacks and showed up with a super magnet and could find them all. It'll be amazing!
When I was a kid we were promised flying cars by the year 2000. Still waiting on that.
The vast majority of people can't drive a normal car properly. I'd hate to see them try flying cars.
The vast majority of people can't do proper maintenance on normal cars, either. On anything that flies, proper maintenance is not just checking tires and washer fluid before you go anywhere. So I think the risk factor (and the generated noise) is why flying cars have been developed, but generally struggle to catch on.
Maybe self-flying vehicles that do full diagnosis before take off and if something is off, you can only drive, not fly.
Chat bots with better than human level performance at tinder. Also chat bots that are actually decent at customer service.
Realistic fake video.
Terrifying ai controlled combat drone armies.
Photo-realistic image generation on demand. You'd be able to type an image caption and Google will create that image for you.
Do The Robots Need Bank Accounts
Self-driving cars eliminating traffic, but it's going to be more than that.
Self-driving cars means that soon humans won't be the only player in the Economy.
Remember back in the aughts when they said that "soon your fridge will be able to tell you that you're out of milk"? Well, that day is pretty much here. What they didn't predict is the fridge will be on the internet and able to order the milk on-line.
So it will go onto an online grocery. It can choose a local one, or a major one like Amazon groceries. Let's say it goes with Amazon to place the order. Amazon will use a robotic forklift to put the milk on a self-driving vehicle (probably from Uber) who will, in turn, deliver the milk to you.
That means that the milk was ordered, purchased and delivered with no human interaction whatsoever, just AI and robots.
So the question is, what does that do to the price of milk? The fridge AI will try to get the best price available while Amazon AI will try to maximize profits.
Bonus question: Let's say the that Uber AI robot that delivers the milk realizes that it needs a new tire.
You would think that there would be numerous AI Robot stations where the autonomous vehicle could pull up and an autonomous repair worker would put the new tire on. So now you have one robot negotiating and paying another robot for its service.
Given that, do the robots need bank accounts?
A human involved in all the price negotiating would just slow down the process of getting the milk delivered at the best price in the most timely manner. So you would want your AI to have it's own access to funds (a back account) in order to both make the best deal and transfer the money.
Before too long, robots will have a major hand in effecting the economy.
I think there will be mainstreaming of augmented reality. We won't need holograms because it will look like they are all over the place.
Male Birth Control Pill
Male birth control pill. This is something they have been working on for decades and it might be very close as some are being currently tested.
There's this substance called graphene and it's super thin yet if used properly it can bulletproof almost anything! I look forward to future use of this.
Synthetic fuels, artificial hydrocarbons made from co2 and excess renewable energy can be used to make plastics, engine fuel, and even drinkable alcohol.
Goods At The Speed Of A Bullet
The potential of The Boring Co. It's currently envisioned for people transport which is great, eventually it'll be a fantastic alternative to flying. But where I see the true potential is connecting every city in the US with these low pressure vacuum tunnels transporting goods at speeds of a bullet. Imagine driving on the highway and seeing less and less semitrucks. Imagine ordering something from the other side of the country and have it ready for delivery the next day without costing a ton of money.
Feeling Is Believing
Haptic gloves for virtual reality. Being able to feel what you see sounds amazing.
Cybernetics For The Blind
I remember seeing a documentary on cybernetics for blind people to see a couple years ago he was hooked directly into their brain and was really invasive but it had a camera and they could see flashes of what was in front of them not very clear no color just black and white but they could tell that there was objects out over the ocean line like there was a sailboat in the distance that they could identify as a sailboat.
Tangible user interfaces. Just took a class on them and Microsoft's Project Zanzibar is one of the newest developments. MIT also has a dedicated TUI program that my professor worked with for his grad degree.
Project Zanzibar is a flexible, portable mat that can sense and track physical objects, identify what they are, and allow you to interact through multi-touch and hover gestures.
Electronic devices that will stimulate brain areas responsible for the highs produced by various drugs.
Holoportation. Predicated on AR glasses shrinking to a size that people will actually wear them.
It may look like it is a small thing you will use to video chat with your family but I see it as so much bigger than that.
For office jobs, remote working could be seamless. Your home office and work office could be rigged with capture equipment such that it looks like you are actually in the office. There will be very little difference between coming in to the office and working remotely. If we get to that point the ramifications could be huge, including the slowing of urbanisation as the need to move to cities for jobs could decrease.
Sporting events could be filmed this way allowing the viewer to project an entire, miniaturised hockey rink on their coffee table. You would have a birds eye view of all the action. Meanwhile an individual sequence could be enlarged for replay at fill size from any angle you might want to view.
Video games are obvious. Television and Cinema implications are obvious.
It could literally change what we consider reality to be as digital entities will interface with "real" entities seamlessly.