If you were to take a step back and look at our current society through fresh eyes, you would be forgiven for thinking that the future is already here. Look to the skies and you’ll see metal cylinders carrying hundreds of passengers on a journey that even 100 years ago may have taken months. You’ll see virtually every single person (people with smartphones) carrying in their pocket a device that has access to every piece of knowledge…ever. It’s akin to having a whole library jam packed into an object that is smaller than a brick. So yes, the future is most definitely here, and the world that we currently occupy would have seemed alien and slightly ridiculous to people of previous generations. But hold steady, because things are about to get a whole lot more futuristic. Cast your eyes forward a few decades and you’ll see a world that belongs in science fiction.
Internet Of Things
You may have heard of the Internet of Things. You know how your Apple laptop is able to pretty seamlessly talk to your iPhone? Well the Internet of Things will be a little like that, except you won’t be talking to one traditional tech item from another: you’ll be talking to, well, everything. It’s already here in the form of home heating, which allows you to control your heating from wherever you are, but it’s going to become far more ubiquitous. For example, when you’re driving home late at night, you might program your bed frames to get your bed set to a certain temperature, or you might switch your oven on and off while on the move around town. The Internet of Things will also transform cities (“Smart Cities”) and cars, allowing users to customise their experience in ways that have never been seen before.
We’re All Computers
If you’re an old school type of person who thinks we rely too much on technology, you might want to look away now, because what’s coming will make our current smartphone obsession look primitive. It’s not quite right to say that we’re going to become human/computer hybrids anytime soon (though that’s almost certainly what we’ll be in a thousand years or so), but life will become even more dependent on technology than it currently is. You might have heard of Google Glass, the computer eyeglasses launched in 2013 which after an intriguing start was pulled due to security and privacy concerns. Well though that incarnation died, similar technology is on its way – and this time, it’ll stay. It’ll mean living as a human with all the benefits of a computer located right on our body. You’ll be able to walk down the street, look at a famous building, and instantly receive all the information about that particular building without taking your hands out of your pockets.
Virtual reality headsets will also take off in a very big way in the coming years. After decades of false starts, the technology has finally caught up with the vision. It’ll move away from cinema, become more cemented in gaming, and become a thing in everyday life, creating experiences that have never been available before.
Travel at the Speed of Light
Think things can’t get any faster as we try to get around the world as quickly as possible? Well if it’s true, nobody told Elon Musk, who is in the process of transforming travel in a way that hasn’t happened since the invention of the airplane. He’s developing a ‘hyperloop’, an underground train system that will be capable of transporting passengers vast distances in record time. How fast? Hold onto your hat…because it’s going to be a pretty rapid 760 mph. That means a commute from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which with current technology would be frankly ridiculous, could happen in as little as 35 minutes. 35 minutes! And how will this machine be able to travel at such incredible speeds? Well, it’s all because of the hydoele… OK, we have no idea. We just know it’s going to be super fast.
There’s another big change coming for travel, too. It won’t be faster, but it might make journeys more comfortable. Self-driving cars are pretty close to being allowed on the roads, and within a decade or so we might all be driving them. This is good and bad news: on the one hand, it means no driving. Your journey will just involve sitting back and letting the car take you from A to B. Board games, watching TV? Check, check. The bad news is you’ll have no excuse not to do work when you’re going to and leaving work, so make sure you go to a hourly rate rather than a salary before the switch to driverless vehicles happens.
Nobody is sure exactly when it’ll happen, all we know is that it will happen. One day, artificial intelligence will be upon us. While researchers are doing pretty exciting things in the field of AI at the moment, it’s still at least several decades away before they’re being used in any widespread, meaningful way. At present, we’re all having a bit of a debate about AI, and with good reason – it might be the greatest thing mankind does, or it could spell the end of us all. No pressure to get it right, then! In one scenario, AI makes mankind more efficient, better people, and allows us to achieve our goals much quicker than if we were solely relying on humans. Productivity would go through the roof, and it’s exciting to think of where it will take us. On the other hand, we might soon find out that we’re no longer the most intelligent beings on the planet and, as history has shown us, this usually doesn’t end well for the displaced people. Tigers are tough and strong and reasonably intelligent; we’re very intelligent, and that’s why we can control tigers.
End of the World as We Know It
Everything that we thought we knew will be subject to change in the next 100 years. One of the biggest, most sweeping day to day changes will involve traditional media companies: they will be obsolete. Instead, we’ll get our news from thousands of individual citizen reporters, our entertainment from standalone channels, and so on. There’s also a strong chance that by 2040, 45% of American jobs may be lost through automation. Around the same time, Elon Musk’s SpaceX company will be gearing up to visit Mars, on their way to establishing a proper colony on the red planet in around 40-50 years time. A change in banking institutions, renewable energy, climate change, and economic shifts will all occur in the next few decades. Which is all a way of saying: this is an important time for mankind.https://www.pexels.com/photo/nasa-space-satellite-orbit-23870/
The above isn’t an image of what will be, it’s an image of what may be. Remember, the future is only ever written by the people who assume the responsibility to write it. Nothing is set in stone. We have electricity all over the planet because Thomas Edison wanted it to be so, and we may have a presence on Mars soon because Elon Musk also wants there to be. Everything you see happening in the world is because somebody made it happen. What do you want the future to look like? Dream big, and never forget that the only people to change the world are the people who are crazy enough to think they’re able to!